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Civil War Siren

Adah Isaacs Menken was a 19th-century actress known for her audacity on and off the stage. A new biography uncovers the woman behind the scandals.

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Adah Isaacs Menken.(All images from Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University)

Adah Isaacs Menken was known for her beauty, her daring, and her ability to flout just about every convention of her day. Her most famous role was as the warrior prince Mazeppa in a play inspired by Lord Byron’s poem. As Mazeppa, Menken was strapped to the side of a galloping horse while wearing nothing but a body stocking, which earned her the nickname “The Naked Lady.”

Menken lived only 33 years, but in that time she had five husbands and a string of lovers, including the writer Alexandre Dumas and the poet Algernon Swinburne. She gambled, posed semi-nude, and made headlines across the country. And, as Michael and Barbara Foster reveal in their new biography, A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America’s Original Superstar, she was also a committed Jew and frequently published poems and essays defending her people.

The Fosters join Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to speak about Adah Isaacs Menken’s political allegiances, her public liaisons, and her ethnic pride. [Running time: 17:14.] 

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GREAT feature!
There was an episode of Bonanza that aired in 1959 focusing on Adam Isaacs Menkin. She was played by Ruth Roman and had a romance with Ben Cartwright.

Marty Janner says:

Obviously not a Hamisha Frau, but what a woman!

I’ve said that least 4774500 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

Gosh, Ive been looking about this specific topic for about an hour, glad i found it in your website! :)

Teens would be the the majority of concerned members of the society when it comes to weight and the body image.


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Civil War Siren

Adah Isaacs Menken was a 19th-century actress known for her audacity on and off the stage. A new biography uncovers the woman behind the scandals.

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