'My Life as a Honolulu Prostitute' - by Jean O'Hara - Signed
'My Life as a Honolulu Prostitute' - by Jean O'Hara - Signed This extremely RARE, hard-to-find account by Jean O'Hara, a famous prostitute in Honolulu's "vice district" during World War II, gives a factual and shocking insider's account of the world of prostitution, drugs and the related activities of Honolulu's darker side in the 1940s. First Edition Original, manually typewritten (mimeographed). Pub. 1944, 98 pages. Materials: Paper. Measurements: 9" x 11" Condition: Very Good: Paper on cover has significant edgewear, spine damage. First three pages are missing: The dedication and title page are intact but the account starts on Page 4. Jean O'Hara (1913-1973) was born Betty Jean O'Hara in Chicago, Illinois. She was the only child of strict Catholic parents. Police records show that between 1934 and 1938, just prior to her arrival in Hawaii, O'Hara had been arrested for prostitution three times. In mid-1938, Jean O’Hara, alias Jean Norager, arrived in Honolulu from San Francisco. After a few months work in a Hotel Street brothel, she had amassed a sizable bankroll. She leased a house near Waikiki Beach with a friend, in violation of a Honolulu Police Department rule that specified prostitutes were not to live outside the red-light district. When a vice squad officer reminded her of the violation, O’Hara moved into the Pacific Heights neighborhood. Following her removal a second time, O’Hara briefly moved to Kaua‘i, then Maui, to ply her trade. In late 1939, she returned to Honolulu, where she was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, when in fact it was she that had been beaten by the same cop. Miss O'Hara also violated the so-called "10 commandments" (for prostitutes) by working outside of Chinatown, which landed her in jail for a period. She helped force an issue with the Honolulu Police Department that resulted in the Chinatown Vice district being turned over to the military, who fixed the price of tricks at $3 and did not otherwise interfere. O'Hara is credited with inventing the "bull pen" system where a single prostitute would work three rooms in rotation: In one room a man would be undressing, in a second room the prostitute would be having sex, and in the third room the man would be dressing. With price controls circumventing the laws of supply and demand, O'Hara's system sped up the process and allowed each prostitute to see many more 'johns' every day. After martial law ended in 1944, O'Hara's book "My Life as a Honolulu Prostitute" was influential in causing a complete shutdown of the brothels. Her book was later re-published under the title "Honolulu Harlot." In 1944, O’Hara attained further celebrity status in Honolulu when she went on trial for attempting to kill the husband of one of her coworkers, for which she was found not guilty. Afterwards she vanished from the public eye.