“I’ll roast the goose that pisses on your grave!”
Dirty Helen Cromwell takes you through her life and adventures-from her small-town dreams to how she earned her name. This long-lost autobiography of a woman who lived life with no regrets from the 1880s to the 1960s offers a rare look into the colorful criminal underworld from New York to San Francisco and every whorehouse, tavern, and mining camp in between.
Demure, sweet, yet wild teenage Helen flees from Indiana to Cincinnati with her first of six husbands. She soon realizes that the traditional role of wife and mother isn’t for her. She meets cunning millionaires, bank robbers, detectives, and gangsters as she hustles her way through life. Her friends were everyone else’s enemies ? Al Capone, Big Jim Colosimo and Johnny Torrio all spend time with Helen as she bounces from adventure to adventure.
It’s the true-life story of a woman who never said “No” and carved out an independent life that transgressed every societal boundary. Her life is a rarely seen look into the reality of a woman who chose sex-work as a path to the good life. This is the story of a mother, a sex-worker and entrepreneur who lived by her own rules.
Helen Worley Cromwell born in Cicero, Indiana in 1886 was known far and wide as “Dirty Helen” because of her poetic and prolific cursing. In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, her Milwaukee bar was a rendezvous for the famous and the infamous.
Assisted by Robert Dougherty, ‘Dirty Helen’ was first published in 1966. The updated Feral House edition contains private family photos and images from a raucous night at the Sun Flower Inn. Afterword about Helen’s end of life and legacy by Christina Ward.