Pretty Waiter Girl

Pretty Waiter Girl

Susie Knight or, the True History of the Pretty Waiter Girl: a Fancy Poem in Three Cantos. New York: C. Mackey & Co., 1863.

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“A woman’s shoulder is the loveliest thing,” declared this fancy (i.e. racy) poem of erotic verse which sends up pretty waiter girl saloons (i.e. thinly-veiled underground prostitution establishments). In these saloons, girls like Susie Knight, wearing numbers on their shoulders, purveyed outrageously expensive drinks – order enough of them and the pretty waiter girl would become quite friendly and often asked to be escorted home when the saloon closed at 1 a.m. The poem was copyrighted (and perhaps written) by Frank Queen. It had first been published serially in cantos in the summer of 1863 in the New York Clipper, a sporting press newspaper of which Queen was the editor and proprietor.  This second edition of the full poem was issued in illustrated wrappers with a cover price of 20 cents.

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