Oral history interview with Dottie W., 1980

 

Name
W., Dottie (Interviewee)
Courtwright, David T., 1952- (Interviewer)
Joseph, Herman, 1931- (Interviewer)
Title
Oral history interview with Dottie W., 1980
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Dottie W., 1980; Oral history of Dottie W., 1980
Abstract
In this interview, Dottie W. discusses her life in New York, with a special focus on her drug use. She discusses her decision to quit school and move out of her parents house in her first year of high school. She describes some of the various jobs she held including a waitress, a telephone operator, and a dancer in the chorus line in the Earl Carroll Vanities broadway show. She discusses her marria ge to famous comedian Joe Frisco. She describes how she was introduced to heroin through show business. She explains how she used cocaine, barbiturates, opium, and morphine when the heroin became low quality or scarce. She describes how she approached doctors for morphine prescriptions. She explains how she became engaged in sex work in order to fund her drug addiction. She describes her various arrests on charges of drug possession and prostitution, and being incarcerated at the Women’s House of Detention. She discusses her children. Dottie discusses her attempts to detox from heroin both at Lexington Kentucky Hospital and independently. She also discusses joining Village Haven in Greenwich Village and, later, a methadone program. Dottie's longtime friend Alex is present in the interview
Collection Name
Addicts Who Survived oral history collection
Subjects
Imprisonment--United States; Drug traffic--History--20th century.--United States; Drug control--History--20th century.--United States; Heroin abuse--History--20th century.--United States; Drugs--Prescribing; Drug addicts--Rehabilitation--United States; W., Dottie
Format
oral histories
Genre
Interviews
Date
1980
Physical Description
89 pages
Note (Biographical)
Dottie W. was born on April 24, 1907 in Port Chester, New York. Her family moved to the Bronx shortly after she was born. She was the second oldest of three siblings. Dottie's formal education ended in her first year of high school at St. Augustine's School in the Bronx. After quitting school, she moved out of her family's house and began working as a waitress, a telephone operator, and eventually as a dancer in the chorus line in the Earl Carroll Vanities broadway show. When she was around eighteen years of age, she married famous comedian Joe Frisco. Dottie was introduced to drugs through show business. She first tried heroin as a teenager, and became addicted after a month of using. When heroin became scarce during World War II, Dottie used cocaine, barbiturates, opium, and morphine. Dottie was arrested several times for drug and prostitution charges, and was incarcerated at the Women's House of Detention, among other facilities. She tried detoxing from heroin both at Lexington Kentucky Hospital and independently. She joined Father Egan's Village Haven in Greenwich Village, and eventually joined a methadone program in 1974. Dottie W. was interviewed for the project that led to the book Addicts Who Survived. The name is likely a pseudonym for the project
Note
Interviewed David Courtwright and Herman Joseph on May 14, 1980
Note (Provenance)
David Courtwright, Herman Joseph, and Don Des Jarlais, Gift, 1988
Language
English
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
11663574
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
Persistent URL
https://dx.doi.org/10.7916/d8-v2my-g243
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.