Nebraska Authors

Josie Washburn

AKA: Helena Washburn

Born 1853 (USA)


Image of Josie Washburn

Image of Josie Washburn

Josie Washburn was a prostitute in Omaha, NE, who worked for Anna Wilson, known as "Queen of the Underworld" in early Omaha history. She worked for Anna Wilson from 1871-1879, then married, but was abandoned by her husband. Washburn returned to prostitution to support herself by opening her own brothel at 226 S. 9th Street in Lincoln, which operated from 1895-1907. Although Josie's real name will never be known, she published her memoirs under the name Josie Washburn with her own publishing company, Washburn Publishing Company.

Places Lived

Omaha, NE
Lincoln, NE
Minneapolis, MN
Spokane, WA

Author Of

  • Biography
  • Nonfiction


Memoir; Prostitution; Nebraska - History


Business Owner

Places Worked

Anna's Brothel, Omaha, NE
Washburn Brothel, Lincoln, NE
Washburn Publishing Company


The Under-World Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the Trade, 1871-1909. 1907 and 1997.

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Josie Washburn

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)