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Adah Isaacs Menken

(1835?-1868), Actress and poet

Sitter in 4 portraits
Menken made her acting debut in New Orleans in 1857, and first appeared on stage in New York two years later. It was not until she opened in a dramatic adaptation of Lord Byron's Mazeppa, in 1861, that she achieved lasting recognition. Appearing in the play's climactic scene apparently (though not actually) nude and strapped to a running horse, she created a sensation. Menken's fame preceded her to London, where she opened in Mazeppa in 1864. The production was a huge success, and her circle of admirers soon included Charles Dickens, Algernon Swinburne and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

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Adah Isaacs Menken as 'Mazeppa', by Charles Reutlinger - NPG x13339

Adah Isaacs Menken as 'Mazeppa'

by Charles Reutlinger
albumen carte-de-visite, circa 1864
NPG x13339

Adah Isaacs Menken, by Sarony & Co - NPG x13338

Adah Isaacs Menken

by Sarony & Co
albumen carte-de-visite, 1865
NPG x13338

Adah Isaacs Menken, by Napoleon Sarony - NPG x197134

Adah Isaacs Menken

by Napoleon Sarony
albumen print, 1866
NPG x197134


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