William Goldman (photographer)

William I. Goldman
William I. Goldman.jpg
William I. Goldman[1]
BornMarch 27, 1856
Wernersville, Pennsylvania, US
DiedJanuary 25, 1922(1922-01-25) (aged 65)
Known forPhotographs of Reading's prostitutes

William I. Goldman (March 27, 1856 – January 25, 1922), also known as Billy Goldman, was an American commercial photographer based in Reading, Pennsylvania. A freemason and pillar of the community, Goldman photographed the respectable citizens of Reading but also secretly assembled a collection of photographs of the prostitutes of Sallie Shearer's brothel, which was near his studio.

His brothel photographs were apparently known only to Goldman and his subjects and, as far as is known, were not sold or published during his lifetime. They were mounted in albums where they remained until the early 21st century when they were acquired by Robert Flynn Johnson, a historian of photography, who published them in 2018. They have been described as offering insights into the costume and interior decoration of the period as well as the social conditions of working-class women for some of whom prostitution was seen as preferable to poorly-paid factory or shop work where they often faced demands for sex from their superiors.[2]

Early life and family

William Goldman was born in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, on March 27, 1856[1] to parents also from Pennsylvania.[3] He was educated in Reading.[1] He had at least three brothers who outlived him. He never married.[4]

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