Talk:Lou Graham (Seattle madame)

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Former good article nominee Lou Graham (Seattle madame) was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
August 7, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
Did You Know

Bill Speidel[edit]

I know that Bill Speidel wrote extensively about Graham in Sons of the Profits. I haven't yet had a chance to ransack that. - Jmabel | Talk 04:50, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Got it. Man, other than HistoryLink, the other two sources I found on line clearly derived from Speidel without acknowledging him. - Jmabel | Talk 02:25, 9 July 2006 (UTC)


Although this is a new article, it is extremely informative and of very high quality. The addition of the location on a street map would be useful, however. I'll try to draw one if I can find the lattitude and longitude, or if I can find the address. Even without one though, I think this is outstanding and deserves a nomination for Featured Article. --CommKing 11:42, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Preparatory to a map, using Google maps, this is the neighborhood. The building is on the southwest corner of 3rd Ave. S. and S. Washington St.
Thank you very much for the praise, but I think this is short of a featured article. For a featured article, one would probably want to research into the Seattle newspapers of the time, etc., rather than just rely on secondary sources like Speidel. He's fun, and generally accurate, but he's pretty casual, especially in Sons of the Profits (Doc Maynard was a slightly more careful piece of research). At the very least, I'd like to get material in here from other secondary sources confirming Speidel.
On the other hand, I'd welcome a good article nomination. - Jmabel | Talk 05:48, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

GA failed[edit]

These reasons are given :

  • The lead should be cut down to give a little less history information and a new section should include that historical background.
  • Who is this Bill Speidel guy? Maybe a wikilink should be added or a bit more information on him should be given.
  • The text is tough to follow ... maybe less quotes and more background information should be given.
  • The Graham in Seattle section should be split into 2 sections or more, one about the lady and another one about her brothels (her establishment purchase).
  • The last quote should say who it is from and have end quotes.
  • Not enough background information is given about the person.

Further questions[edit]

  • If the date of death is known why isn't there information about her death available.
  • Did she work in a brothel all her life? Was she convicted of having a brothel?
  • Did her business flourish? Did she have success?
  • Did she have a lover, associate, accomplice, friends?

Lincher 14:12, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Speidel is mostly known as a Seattle historian, something of a popularizer, but he did some good archival research, especially for his book Doc Maynard. I don't think he really merits a Wikipedia article in his own right as an author of two books on local history, any more than a newspaper reporter merits an article. What do others think? - Jmabel | Talk 05:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't necessarily think this is up to GA status but the review remarks above leave me wondering: did you actually read the article?
  • It says she died of syphilis in San Francisco; what more about her death should it say?
  • It says that she "[became] a wealthy landowner, one of the largest landholders in the Pacific Northwest. She owned one of the Seattle's great mansions…and "contributed liberally" to projects sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce"; how then can you ask if she was a success in business?
  • As for whether she was "convicted", her one and only run-in with the law is described: "On February 14, 1891, a rookie policeman involved in a general crackdown on prostitution… arrested Graham, unaware of who she was. The result was acquittal in a jury trial, and (according to Speidel) the subsequent resignation of reform mayor Henry White". What else can we say? It seems to me that there is no more reason to talk about the lack of other run-ins with the law than with any other prominent business person.
  • I placed in the missing closing quotation mark (pretty trivial, wouldn't it have been simpler to fix it than to write about it?). And the quote is cited to its source.
- Jmabel | Talk 06:08, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Sources apparently differ on who recieved the proceeds of Grahams estate[edit]

I came across this today: Essay 2762

Madame Lou Graham arrives in Seattle in February 1888.
In February 1888, Madame Lou Graham (1861-1903) steps off the steamer Pacific Pride and begins her project of founding a sumptuous, lucrative, and expensive house of prostitution. She establishes the house in downtown Seattle at 3rd Avenue and Washington Street, and it is frequented by Seattle's most elite business leaders and visitors.
Madame Lou Graham was German-born and her real name was Dorothea Georgine Emile Ohben. She made a fortune in Seattle and became a large landowner. She died of syphilis at about age 42, and left her entire estate to relatives in Germany (not to the King County public schools as some sources allege). (my emphasis)

So, which is it? Did it transpire that she "died intestate, and her supposed relatives from Hamburg turned out to be frauds. Her estate went to support the common schools in King County, the county in which Seattle is located" as is stated in this article or did she will her estate to German relatives?

The King County as benificiary assertion is attributed to Bill Spiedels 1989 book, which I believe is the book about Doc Maynard (I am now reading this book). I read "Sons of the Profits" (the 1969 book?) and do not remember a description of what happened to her estate. The books by Bill Spiedel seem to be founded in primary sources, and it would seem that a donation to a county would be a matter of public record. I will dig in the Maynard book to see if he has notes on this. -Johnfravolda (talk) 22:02, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi, I found this court document showing that Lou Graham died intestate (i.e. she did not leave a will) and at least some of her real estate went to her German heirs, after a protracted legal battle: Ozymandias42 (talk) 18:39, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Lou Graham (Seattle madame)/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Thorough, well referenced history.Ghosts&empties 10:50, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 10:50, 7 August 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 22:27, 29 April 2016 (UTC)