Friday, August 15, 2014

Smitten by Adah Isaacs Menken

June 15, 1835 – August 10, 1868

This week marked the anniversary of the death of Adah Isaacs Menken. There are few characters in American history I find more intriguing than Ms. Menken, a famous actress in her time, though some of the facts of her life are still a mystery. In part, her obscurity was self-created because Ms. Menken told many versions of her life story. She was also known by other names.

A great chameleon or maybe even a "Renaissance woman," she enjoyed acting, art, and poetry. Most authorities say she was of European and Creole descent, and for all of these she inspired my fortune-telling heroine, Philadelphia Samuels, in the first book of The River Rogues series, HER WICKED CAPTAIN. 

During Menken's infamous career as an actress, she traveled the world. Her most notorious role was when she rode a horse on the stage in the nude! She had many admirers, as you can probably imagine! I wish I could've known her, but her legend continues to flourish and grow.

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