Utah university solicits transcriptions of brothel interview

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Notes from a newspaper interview with a Utah brothel owner nearly 70 years ago have drawn widespread interest from people who want a shot at deciphering the cryptic shorthand.

Weber State University received hundreds of offers to decipher notes from an interview with Ogden madame Rossette Duccinni Davie, The Standard-Examiner reports.

Davie and her husband ran the Rose Rooms brothel in the 1940s and 1950s, which is now a nightclub called Alleged.

Standard-Examiner reporter Bert Strand conducted the interview in 1951. His notes were recently discovered in a box of photos from the 1970s.

Strand’s decades-old shorthand style presented a conundrum for Sarah Langsdon, head of special collections at Weber State in Ogden: no one could read them.

The university accepted seven transcriptions and is slowly piecing together the puzzle. It will likely be impossible to translate the shorthand verbatim, but a common theme has emerged, Langsdon said.

“It kind of reads like a deposition,” Langsdon said. explaining that Davie basically accuses the sheriff’s office of corruption.

A widely accepted theory is that Davie successfully operated her brothel by having a cozy relationship with the Ogden police and Weber County sheriff’s departments, Langsdon said.

The translated notes support the allegation, with Davie claiming the sheriff’s office accepted bribes and hid evidence, among other misdeeds, Langsdon said.

Langsdon used social media and other channels to solicit possible translators. The Standard-Examiner also published an article on the discovery in January and an Associated Press story followed.

Langsdon’s office subsequently received at least 700 inquires from people across the country willing to attempt a transcription.

“We’re still getting phone calls every day,” Langsdon said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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