I discovered Herr Dames by complete accident in April of 2011 while researching the microfilmed archives of the old Bellingham Herald. What had started out as a quest to develop a walking tour about the turn of the century red light district that had operated legally in my weird little northwest town, evolved into a general fascination with all minutiae of odd and obscure figures and facts about the place I had come to call home.
Pickford's stage debut coincides with a cultural shift in post-Victorian America. The idea of female purity in the Victorian Era (1830s-1900s) was inextricably connected with domesticity and the home; women who lived a public or nomadic life were by their very nature suspect. But after Queen Victoria's death in 1901 a gradual relaxation of rules about where women should be seen and heard took place.