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The Belle Brezing Photographic Collection, 1868-1983

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Author

Processed by: Jason Flahardy; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jason Flahardy

Title

The Belle Brezing Photographic Collection

Date

1868-1983

Repository

University of Kentucky Special Collections

Lexington, Kentucky 40506

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], The Belle Brezing Photographic Collection, 2003AV1, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.

Extent

1 cu. ft. (2 boxes): 277 items

Biography/History

Belle Brezing (aka: Belle Breezing, Belle Breazing)

Mary Belle Cox was born on June 16, 1860, in Lexington, Kentucky. She was the second illegitimate daughter of Sarah Ann Cox, dressmaker and occasional prostitute. A year later, Sarah Ann Cox married George Brezing, local saloon owner, and Mary Belle and her sister Hester's last name were changed to Brezing. The Brezing marriage was frequently abusive, with drunken rages and infidelity eventually leading to their divorce in 1866. George Brezing left Lexington a year later. After a short affair with a man named William McMeekin, Sarah Ann changed her and the children's names to McMeekin and began to refer to her self as a widow.

In 1872, a year after her sister Hester had married and moved out of the family home, Brezing was seduced by a 36-year-old man named Dionesio Mucci. Twelve-years-old was the age of consent at the time in Kentucky, and there were no legal ramifications for Mucci. The relationship lasted at least until 1874, when Brezing was given a scrapbook by Mucci for Valentine's Day. By age 15, Brezing was pregnant, and having sexual relations with at least three men: Dionesio Mucci, James Kenney, and John Andrew Cook. Brezing married Kenney, September 14, 1875. So notorious was Brezing's reputation at the time, the Lexington Daily Press ran a mocking wedding announcement. Just nine days later, Cook was found dead outside Brezing's back gate, shot in the head with Sarah Ann's derringer, and with love notes from Brezing and a photograph of her in his pockets. Shortly after Cook's death, a memorial poem written by Brezing appeared in the Lexington Daily Press.

James Kenney left town a few days later; there is no record of she and Kenney ever getting divorced, but there is no evidence they ever contacted each other again. Brezing's only child, Daisy May Kenney was born March 14, 1876. Two months later, Brezing's mother died, and she and Daisy May were evicted. Daisy May was placed with a neighbor, Mrs. Barnett. At some point during the next two years, Brezing became a prostitute.

On December 24, 1879, Brezing began to work for Jennie Hill, a madam who ran a brothel out of the Mary Todd Lincoln house at 578 West Main St. Brezing worked there for two years until she had saved enough money to start her own house and assume the position of madam. During this time, Daisy May continued to live with Mrs. Barnett, with Brezing supplying a stipend for her support.

Brezing opened her first brothel in a row house at what is now 314-318 North Upper St. Around this time, Brezing was indicted on the charge of "keeping a bawdy house." Kentucky Governor Luke P. Blackburn (1879-1883) pardoned Brezing and the indictment was dismissed. This was the closest Brezing ever got to serving jail time. Brezing miscarried a child during her first year at the house. It was also discovered that Daisy May was developmentally challenged and would have to be institutionalized for the remainder of her life. Daisy May Kenney entered a Catholic run institution under the name Daisy Barnett.

Brezing opened her second brothel in 1883. She purchased a free-standing house at 194 North Upper St., not too far from the row house. In the late 1880s, mounting public pressure began closing the brothels along North Upper St. With a loan from William M. Singerly, Brezing bought what would become her most famous brothel.

Brezing opened her third brothel at 59 Megowan St. (currently the southern corner of Wilson St. and Eastern Ave.). It was lavishly appointed and decorated in almost a parody of the cluttered Victorian style. The area around the house was referred to as "the hill," and Brezing wasn't the only brothel in the area, but certainly the most expensive and popular. Brezing attracted clientele from all over the nation who visited Lexington for its horse breeding and racing industries. During this time, William "Billy" Mabon entered Brezing's life. He became her male companion until his death in 1917. He worked for the Water Company in Lexington, and was the brother-in-law to Colonel Richard C. Morgan.

In 1895, 59 Megowan's attic space caught fire, and Brezing took the opportunity to expand the house to three stories and added a side entrance. The house was painted white to cover the fact that different colors of brick were used in construction. It was also around this time that Brezing became addicted to morphine.

During the Spanish-American War in 1898, soldiers billeted in Lexington visited Brezing's house and spread her reputation even further around the country. She eventually even appeared as the character Belle Watling in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. Margaret Mitchell's husband, John, attended Transylvania University and worked as a writer for the Lexington Leader. Although it was always denied, once even in writing, research after Mitchell's death proves that the stories she heard from John about Brezing were the models for Watling. Anne Edwards' 1983 work, The Road to Tara, discusses the link between Watling and Brezing. (1)

During World War I, U.S. Army again billeted and trained soldiers in the Lexington area. But this time, the temperance movement was in full swing and public opinion was focused on "vice." Under orders from the Army, the brothels on "the hill" were closed in 1915. In 1918, they slowly began to reopen, but Brezing never did. Classified an "incurable" and receiving morphine under a doctor's prescription, Brezing lived quietly in 59 Megowan St. She died August 11, 1940 of advanced uterine cancer, at the age of 80. Her fame was still wide-spread; her obituary appeared in Time magazine. Belle Brezing is buried in Lexington's Calvary Cemetery, beside her mother.

After Brezing's death, an estate auction was arranged for the benefit of Daisy May. Huge crowds attended the sale and it required three days to auction the contents of 59 Megowan St. (now 153 North Eastern Ave.) The house was sold some months later. In 1973, a fire gutted the third floor of the building. It was decided to demolish the house rather than rebuild. Another auction was held, to sell architectural details. Even the bricks were sold as souvenirs.

Note: The correct spelling of Belle's last name is "Brezing." During her lifetime, "Breezing" became an accepted spelling, and Belle used it herself from time to time. "Breazing" also slipped into usage. Some bank accounts also had her legal name as "Mrs. James C. Kenney," which was occasionally spelled "Kinney." When Brezing traveled, she often registered at hotels under the Kenney name. Her name and date of birth are both incorrect on her gravestone.

Note: The information for this biographical sketch was derived from E. I. "Buddy" Thompson's Madam Belle Brezing, the only full length work on Brezing.

1. Edwards, Anne. The Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell. New Haven, CT: Ticknor & Fields, 1983.

Elmer Ira "Buddy" Thompson

"Buddy" Thompson was born in Maysville, Kentucky in 1920 and moved to Lexington as a child. Thompson was an aerial photographer during World War II, and recounts his experiences in his book, A Soldier Boy's Adventure. Thompson and Jim Riley opened the auctioneering company, Thompson & Riley. Through the auction house, Thompson became interested in local history, and formed his own publishing company, Buggy Whip Press, to print his work. Thompson produced work on the Mulligan Family of Lexington, and Pony Lady, a look at the life of Olivia Israel. Madam Belle Brezing, Thompson's most famous work, was published in 1983. He was a founding member of the Lexington-Fayette Historic Commission, the president of the Civil War Round Table, and a member of both the Kentucky Historical Society and The Filson Club. He was also very active in the community, serving as president for Big Brothers of Lexington, the Civitan Club, and the Sertoma Club. He died in 1996.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of two hundred and seventy-seven photographic prints collected or created by E. I. "Buddy" Thompson in connection with the writing of his 1983 book, Madam Belle Brezing. One hundred and fifty items were in the personal collection of Belle Brezing. They include albumen, tintypes, and chloride or bromide DOP/POP prints, all popular studio processes of the time. Nineteen black and white silver prints cover Brezing's estate auction in 1940. Sixty-one black and white and color snapshots document the 1974 architectural details auction that preceded the demolition of the house after a fire. The remaining forty-seven photographs consists of copy prints and original photographic materials collected and generated by E. I. "Buddy" Thompson for inclusion in Madam Belle Brezing.

Subjects

  • Brezing, Belle, 1860-1940
  • Thompson, Elmer Ira "Buddy", 1920-1996
  • Prostitutes--Kentucky-Biography

Related Material

Coleman, J. Winston. . Lexington, KY: Winburn Press, 1980.

Edwards, Anne. . New Haven, CT: Ticknor & Fields, 1983.

Pack, Jamie Hawks. . Lexington, KY.: University of Kentucky Thesis, 1992.

Thompson, Buddy. . Lexington, KY: Buggy Whip Press, 1983.

Townsend, William H. . Lexington, KY: s.n., 1966.

Collection Inventory

Belle Brezing Personal Collection
Scope and Content Note:

The series consists of one hundred and fifty items from the personal collection of Belle Brezing. They include albumen, tintypes, and chloride/bromide DOP/POP prints, popular studio processes of the time.

Arrangement: Belle Brezing Portraits; Jennie Hill Portrait; 194 N. Upper St.; 59 Megowan St.; 59 Megowan St., 1890; 59 Megowan St., 1895; 1874 Scrapbook; Tintypes; Women (Undamaged); Women (Damaged, Reassembled); Women (Damaged, Partially Reassembled); Women (Damaged, Fragmentary); Men (Damaged); Children (Damaged); Buildings (Damaged)

Belle Brezing Portraits
Belle Brezing in a black gown, 1880s
13 x 7, mounted albumen [box: 1, item: 1] browse
Belle Brezing, about eight years old, 1868
4 x 2, hand-tinted tintype [box: 1, item: 2] browse
Jennie Hill Portrait
Jennie Hill, Belle Brezing's first and only madam (1879-1881), ran a bordello out of the Mary Todd Lincoln home on Main St, [n.d.]
7.5 x 4, chloride DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 3] browse
194 N. Upper St
194 N. Upper St., Belle Brezing's second bordello, 1883-1889, [n.d.]
8 x 10, mounted albumen [box: 1, item: 4] browse
59 Megowan St
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, exterior, pre-1895
3.25 x 3.25, mounted chloride DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 5] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, exterior; the third floor was added after the 1895 fire and the entire house was painted white to hide the different colors of brick, post-1895
5 x 7, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 6] browse
59 Megowan St., 1890
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; Brezing in her private parlor, 1890
8 x 10, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 7] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; one of the downstairs parlors, 1890
8 x 10, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 8] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; one of the downstairs parlors, 1890
8 x 10, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 9] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; one of the "girl's rooms", 1890
8 x 10, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 10] browse
59 Megowan St., 1895
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; Brezing's private parlor, 1895
4 x 5, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 11] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; Brezing's private parlor, 1895
4 x 5, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 12] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; Brezing's private parlor; the seated man is Billy Mabon, Brezing's lover until his death in 1917, 1895
4 x 5, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 13] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; Brezing's private sitting room, 1895
4 x 5, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 14] browse
59 Megowan St., Belle Brezing's third and most famous bordello, 1889-1917; Brezing occupied the house until her death in 1940, interior; Brezing's bedroom, 1895
4 x 5, mounted bromide DOP/POP [box: 1, item: 15] browse
1874 Scrapbook
Horse carriage, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 16] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2 x 3, albumen [box: 1, item: 17] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 18] browse
Two African-American boys, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, albumen [box: 1, item: 19] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 20] browse
Unidentified infant, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 21] browse
General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton) and wife, Lavinia Warren; wedding picture, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 22] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 23] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 4, albumen [box: 1, item: 24] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
1.5 x 2, albumen [box: 1, item: 25] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
1.5 x 2, albumen [box: 1, item: 26] browse
Tintypes
Two unidentified women, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 27] browse
Two unidentified women, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 28] browse
Two unidentified women, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 29] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 30] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 31] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 32] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 33] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 34] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 35] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 36] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 37] browse
Six unidentified men, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 38] browse
Three unidentified men, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 39] browse
Two unidentified men, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 40] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 41] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 42] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 43] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 44] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 45] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 46] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 47] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 48] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 49] browse
Unidentified infant, [n.d.]
2.5 x 3.5, tintype [box: 1, item: 50] browse
Women, Undamaged
"Lottie Brown"; handwritten in pencil on the back of the photo, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide cabinet card [box: 1, item: 51] browse
Lottie Brown, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 52] browse
Fannie Davis (Fannie Parshall), [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 53] browse
"Georgia Lee"; handwritten in pencil on the back of the photo, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 54] browse
Zula Zelnick; The Circassian Queen, [n.d.]
3.5 x 2.5 albumen carte-de-visite [box: 1, item: 55] browse
Women, Damaged, Reassembled
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 56] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, albumen cabinet card [box: 1, item: 57] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 58] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 59] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 60] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, chloride DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 61] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 62] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, albumen cabinet card [box: 1, item: 63] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, chloride DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 64] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, albumen cabinet card [box: 1, item: 65] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
8.5 x 6, hand painted plain paper print [box: 1, item: 66] browse
Women, Damaged, Partially Reassembled
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 67] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 68] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 69] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 70] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 71] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 72] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 73] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
6 x 4, bromide DOP/POP cabinet card [box: 1, item: 74] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
11.5 x 5.5, albumen cabinet card [box: 1, item: 75] browse
Women, Damaged, Fragmentary
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 76] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 77] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 78] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 79] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 80] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 81] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 82] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 83] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 84] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 85] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 86] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 87] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 88] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 89] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 90] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 91] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 92] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 93] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 94] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 95] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 96] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 97] browse
Unidentified woman; handwritten in pencil on back of photo: "[FIVE OBSCURED WORDS] blue gray eyes. brown hair white drapery pearl beads", [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 98] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 99] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 100] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 101] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 102] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 103] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 104] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 105] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 106] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 107] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 108] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 109] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 110] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 111] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 112] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 113] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 114] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 115] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 116] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 117] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 118] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 119] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 120] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 121] browse
Unidentified woman, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 1, item: 122] browse
Men, Damaged
Unidentified man, military uniform, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 123] browse
Unidentified man, same individual as #125, [n.d.]
Albumen [box: 2, item: 124] browse
Unidentified man, same individual as #124; handwritten in ink on the back of the photo: "you looked out the other side of this---", [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 125] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 126] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 127] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 128] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 129] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 130] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 131] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 132] browse
Unidentified man; printed on reverse of card stock sheet as #134, [n.d.]
Albumen [box: 2, item: 133] browse
Unidentified man; printed on reverse of card stock sheet as #134, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 134] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 135] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 136] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 137] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 138] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 139] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 140] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 141] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Chloride DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 142] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 143] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 144] browse
Unidentified man, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 145] browse
Children, Damaged
Two unidentified children, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 146] browse
Unidentified child, [n.d.]
Albumen [box: 2, item: 147] browse
Unidentified child, [n.d.]
Albumen [box: 2, item: 148] browse
Unidentified child, [n.d.]
Albumen [box: 2, item: 149] browse
Buildings, Damaged
Unknown house, [n.d.]
Bromide DOP/DOP [box: 2, item: 150] browse
1940
Scope and Content Note:

The series consists of nineteen black and white silver prints that document Brezing's estate auction in 1940.

Arrangement: House Tour; Estate Auction

House Tour
59 Megowan St.; cabinet with vases and statues, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 151] browse
59 Megowan St.; parlor, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 152] browse
59 Megowan St.; looking down the stair well, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 153] browse
59 Megowan St.; wine room, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 154] browse
59 Megowan St.; dresser, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 155] browse
59 Megowan St.; foot of stairs, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 156] browse
59 Megowan St.; bed in which Brezing died; variant of #158, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 157] browse
59 Megowan St.; bed in which Brezing died; variant of #157, 1940
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 158] browse
59 Megowan St.; parlor, 1940
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 159] browse
59 Megowan St.; foot of stairs, 1940
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 160] browse
59 Megowan St.; bookcase, 1940
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 161] browse
59 Megowan St.; side entrance to house, 1940
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 162] browse
Estate Auction
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 163] browse
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 164] browse
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 165] browse
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 166] browse
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 167] browse
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 168] browse
Crowd gathered for auction of Brezing furniture and personal memorabilia, 1940
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 169] browse
1973-1974
Scope and Content Note:

The series consists of sixty-one black and white and color snapshots document the 1974 architectural details auction that preceded the demolition of the house after a fire.

59 Megowan before 1973 Fire; Architectural details of 59 Megowan St.; Architectural details of 59 Megowan St., 2nd set; Architectural details Auction

59 Megowan before 1973 Fire
59 Megowan St., exterior from opposite street corner, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 170] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior from opposite street corner, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 171] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior from opposite street corner, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 172] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, left corner, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 173] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, rear of house, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 174] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, rear of house, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 175] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, rear of house, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 176] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, right corner, includes store across street, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 177] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, detail of wall, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 178] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, detail of wall, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 179] browse
59 Megowan St., exterior, house adjacent to rear of building, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 180] browse
59 Megowan St., row of houses near building, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 181] browse
59 Megowan St., row of houses near building, pre-1973
3.5 x 3.5, Black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 182] browse
Architectural details of 59 Megowan St
59 Megowan St., side entrance, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 183] browse
59 Megowan St., mantle, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 184] browse
59 Megowan St., mantle and mirror, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 185] browse
59 Megowan St., mirror over mantle, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 186] browse
59 Megowan St., mirror, mantle and window, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 187] browse
59 Megowan St., mantle, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 188] browse
59 Megowan St., mantle, removed from wall, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 189] browse
59 Megowan St., floor tiles, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 190] browse
59 Megowan St., window, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 191] browse
59 Megowan St., window and wall, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 192] browse
59 Megowan St., wall, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 193] browse
59 Megowan St., wall and door, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 194] browse
59 Megowan St., ceiling, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 195] browse
59 Megowan St., ceiling, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 196] browse
59 Megowan St., staircase, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 197] browse
59 Megowan St., staircase, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 198] browse
59 Megowan St., staircase, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 199] browse
59 Megowan St., window with colored glass, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 200] browse
59 Megowan St., stained glass, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 201] browse
59 Megowan St., wall, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 202] browse
59 Megowan St., wall, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 203] browse
59 Megowan St., wall and alcove, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 204] browse
59 Megowan St., ceiling and mirror, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 205] browse
59 Megowan St., windows and wall, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 206] browse
59 Megowan St., parquet floor, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 207] browse
59 Megowan St., front door, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 208] browse
59 Megowan St., side entrance, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 209] browse
59 Megowan St., side entrance, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 210] browse
59 Megowan St., side entrance with adjacent window removed, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 211] browse
59 Megowan St., side entrance with adjacent window removed, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 212] browse
59 Megowan St., side entrance with adjacent window removed, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 213] browse
59 Megowan St., side entrance with adjacent window and door removed, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 214] browse
Landscape, Hotel Lafayette in the distance, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 215] browse
Architectural details auction
59 Megowan St., outside front entrance, people gathered, 1974
4.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 216] browse
59 Megowan St., outside front entrance, people gathered, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 217] browse
59 Megowan St., outside front entrance, people gathered, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 218] browse
59 Megowan St., outside front entrance, people gathered, African-American children, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 219] browse
59 Megowan St., outside front entrance, people gathered, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 220] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, Buddy Thompson, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 221] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 222] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 223] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 224] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 225] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 226] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 227] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 228] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 229] browse
59 Megowan St., interior, people touring house before auction, 1974
3.5 x 3.5, color print [box: 2, item: 230] browse
Materials for "Madam Belle Brezing"
Scope and Content Note:

The series consists of forty-seven photographs consists of copy prints and original photographic materials collected and generated by E. I. "Buddy" Thompson for inclusion in Madam Belle Brezing.

Arrangement: Belle Brezing Portraits; Houses; Belle Brezing's Schools; Belle Brezing Personal Effects; Gravestones; Reproductions from 1874 Scrapbook; Reproductions from Period Newspapers; Misc.

Belle Brezing Portraits
Brezing in a coat with an umbrella, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white copy print [box: 2, item: 231] browse
Brezing in a feathered hat; original photograph can be seen on Brezing's bedroom wall in image #15, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white copy print [box: 2, item: 232] browse
Brezing in a black waistcoat, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white copy print [box: 2, item: 233] browse
Houses
Mary Todd Lincoln House; the first and only bordello that Brezing worked in as an employee, 1879-1881, 1926-1934
3.5 x 5.5, black and white [box: 2, item: 234] browse
Mary Todd Lincoln House; the first and only bordello that Brezing worked in as an employee, 1879-1881, 1942
3.5 x 5.5, black and white commercially produced postcard [box: 2, item: 235] browse
314-318 North Upper Street; location of Brezing's first bordello, 1882-1883, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 236] browse
59 Megowan St., the house covered in vines, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 237] browse
59 Megowan St., now on Eastern Ave. and Wilson St., 1973 fire that prompted the architectural details auction and the demolition of the property, [n.d.]
4 x 5, black and white copy print [box: 2, item: 238] browse
Belle Brezing's Schools
Dudley School, Maxwell and Mill Streets, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 239] browse
No. 2 School (Harrison), West Main Street, 1974
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 240] browse
Belle Brezing Personal Effects
Account book, scrapbook, tintypes, silver cups and other various Brezing items, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 241] browse
Account book, open pages, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 242] browse
Silver sup and saucer set inscribed with "B. B." along with silver spoon inscribed to "Kitten June 16, 1892", [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 243] browse
Closed account book set across two open pages from scrapbook, [n.d.]
7 x 9, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 244] browse
Pardon from Kentucky Governor Luke P. Blackburn (1879-1883) for Belle Brezing from the charge of "Keeping a Bawdy House", [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 245] browse
Gravestones
"Belle Breezing 1859-1940"; Brezing's last name is misspelled and her year of birth is incorrect, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 246] browse
Brezing headstone in the foreground with mother Sarah McMeekin's in the background, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 247] browse
"Sarah McMeekin Born May 5, 1836 Died May 19, 1876"; "Blessed are the pure in heart." is engraved along the side facing the back of Brezing's stone, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 248] browse
Sarah McMeekin, detail of engraving: "Blessed are the pure in heart.", [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 249] browse
Headstone of John Andrew Cook, a boyfriend of Brezing when they were teenagers and who died under mysterious circumstances; "Farewell John Andrew, son of P & Barbra Cook Born in Nashville, Tenn. Aug. 24, 1859; Died Sept. 22, 1875 Aged 15 Yrs. and 1 Mo.", [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 250] browse
"Mary Mabon Born Mar. 28, 1821 Died Dec. 22, 1886 at rest William Mabon Son of Wm & Mary Mabon 1855-1917"; headstone of William "Billy" Mabon, longtime lover of Brezing (1883?-1917), [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 251] browse
William "Billy" Mabon headstone with Hunt family plot in the background, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 252] browse
Hunt family plot, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 253] browse
John Wesley and Catherine Hunt headstone, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 254] browse
Reproductions from 1874 Scrapbook
Set of open pages, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 255] browse
Set of open pages, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 256] browse
Illustration of two well-dress women, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 257] browse
Illustration of two well-dress women; a printed poem, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 258] browse
Various cards and illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 259] browse
Various cards and illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 260] browse
Two cards with religious poems, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 261] browse
Various cards and illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 262] browse
Five illustrated cards, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 263] browse
Five illustrated cards, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 264] browse
Various cards and illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 265] browse
Various cards and illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 266] browse
Various cards and illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 267] browse
Two illustrations, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 268] browse
Sketch of a bulldog, with Brezing's signature, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 269] browse
Reproductions from Period Newspapers
Lexington Daily Press article, September 24th, 1875; concerns the death of John Andrew Cook, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 270] browse
Lexington Daily Press article, September 25th, 1875; concerns the death of John Andrew Cook, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 271] browse
Lexington Daily Press article, September 28th, 1875; concerns the death of John Andrew Cook, [n.d.]
8 x 10, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 272] browse
Misc
Joe Jordan in a military uniform, [n.d.]
3.5 x 6, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 273] browse
Joe Jordan in a suit, coat, and hat, [n.d.]
5 x 7, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 274] browse
27" Regina Automatic Changer Music Box, originally located at 59 Megowan St.; seen here restored and in the house of its new owner, 1976
3.5 x 5, color print [box: 2, item: 275] browse
Small bird in a gold-colored cage, [n.d.]
8 x 10, color print [box: 2, item: 276] browse
I. E. "Buddy" Thompson; author photograph on back flap of "Madam Belle Brezing", [n.d.]
3.5 x 6, black and white silver print [box: 2, item: 277] browse