The reader will perceive from the body of this work that the “History of Prostitution” was commenced in the year 1856. It was completed and ready for the press at the close of 1857. On the morning of February 13th, 1858, the Island Hospital on Blackwell's Island was entirely consumed by fire, which spread so rapidly as to render it impossible to save any thing from the flames. Among the property destroyed, my library and manuscripts were included. Fortunately, the first draught of this work had been previously removed from my office, and was preserved, and from that the present volume has been prepared.
Advantage has been taken of the opportunity thus afforded carefully to revise the work and introduce some additional facts, bringing the history, of New York especially, to the present time.
The chapters describing foreign prostitution are not claimed to be entirely original. They are compilations and condensations from every available source. It is believed that the authorities have been named in most cases where the ideas of others have been used; but, owing to the loss of all the original works, it is highly probable that in some instances this has been overlooked. Should the reader discover any omissions of this nature, he will be kind enough to understand that accident alone prevents the usual acknowledgements.
W. W. S.