Adah Isaacs Menken

1835–1868
Adah Isaacs Menken
Adah Isaacs Menken was a writer, lecturer, and actress whose infamous private life brought widespread attention to her acting career. Born near New Orleans, most likely of African American, white, and Creole heritage, Adah Isaacs married affluent businessman Alexander Isaac Menken when she was around 21 and adopted his faith, Judaism. In 1856, Menken began a successful and lucrative acting career in New Orleans. While she was well known for her dramatic roles, Menken longed for literary recognition. Her poetry condemns male domination and its effects on creative women, and celebrates Judaism and women’s lives. She died of tuberculosis in her early 30s in Paris.

Poems

What People are Saying

"I learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion