The Portal to Texas History 2018 Research Fellowship Awardee - Jessica Webb

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The University of North Texas Libraries invite applications for the 2017 The Portal to Texas History Research Fellowship. Research using the Portal is relevant to studies in a variety of disciplines including history, journalism, political science, geography, and American studies. We encourage applicants to think creatively about the opportunities that research with large digital library collections can enable. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate the greatest potential for publication and the best use of The Portal to Texas History.

The Portal to Texas History 2018 Research Fellowship Awardee

Jessica Webb

Project Title

Prostitution and Power in Progressive-Era Texas: Entrepreneurship and the Influence of Madams in Fort Worth and San Antonio, 1877-1920

Project Description

Prostitution and Power” examines the lives and careers of the women who owned and managed houses of prostitution, known as madams, in the red-light districts of Fort Worth and San Antonio. Moving from the latter decades of the nineteenth century up to the First World War, this project charts the expansion of prostitution, and the ability of these madams to obtain a substantial amount of social, political, and economic power, and the decline—of both the sex trade and its madams.


Born and raised in the state of Texas, Jessica Webb received her Bachelor’s degree in History from Austin College in 2012. In 2014, she obtained her Master’s Degree in American History from TCU in Fort Worth and is working towards her Ph.D. there as well. Her research interests focus on the intersections of gender and sexuality and entrepreneurship within the framework of prostitution. She has been the recipient of several awards including the Boller Dissertation Fellowship and the Erwin E. Smith Research Fellowship.