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Sally Stanford

Poor Beginnings, Vices Or Crimes, Or Both, San Francisco Madam, Heidi Fleiss, A Move To Legitimacy

Born May 5, 1903 (Baker City, Oregon)

Died February 1, 1982 (Greenbrae, California)

San Francisco madam

Sally Stanford was a bootlegger of illegal liquor during Prohibition in the 1930s before becoming a famous San Francisco madam during the 1930s and 1940s. A madam is a woman who manages a house of prostitution, also known as a brothel. Stanford supplied prostitutes to male customers and collected a percentage of the prostitute's fee. Experiencing financial success, Stanford opened brothels in the elite sections of San Francisco, catering to wealthy and influential men from around the world. Stanford eventually left prostitution to avoid prosecution and went into legitimate business. She was eventually elected mayor of Sausalito, California, and was the subject of a movie.

"Personally, I never met a white slave in my life. . . . If captive females were sold, drugged, and slugged into prostitution, I never knew [of] a case."

For More Information


Brock, Deborah R. Making Work, Making Trouble: Prostitution as a Social Problem. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press, 1998.

Flowers, R. Barri. The Prostitution of Women and Girls. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998.

Stanford, Sally. The Lady of the House. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1966.

Web Site

"Infamous Inmates: Sally Stanford, 1949." San Francisco Sheriff's Department. http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/site/sheriff_index.asp?id=25456 (accessed on August 15, 2004).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law