Famous for Riding a Horse Naked

Adah could never remember her lines but rode horses like a circus performer.

Adah could never remember her lines but rode horses like a circus performer.

Adah was a bright girl who told stories about herself. No one really knew where she’d come from in the late 1850’s but it didn’t matter. She’d arrived. She drank with Whitman, wrote semi-bad poetry and had a body . . .  she had some body!

Adah after leaving her husband (maybe her first) in Cincinnati came to New York to be an actress. No one said she had talent, but who cared? She embraced the burgeoning bohemian lifestyle with gusto, drinking at Pfaff’s and donning men’s clothing. But even her short cut hair didn’t take from her sex appeal

Adah’s big break came when she performed in a melodrama with a horse. The part called for her character to lay upon said horse in the nude and in a very awkward and exposed position. Having had some circus experience Adah was game. Attired in a nude colored body suit Adah treated her audiences to every curve of her full-figured self.

But she doesn’t know her lines, you say . . .Lines? What lines? Can we just see the horse-riding part again? Some turned away in disgust (like some turn from a nude Kardashian), but mostly people paid for the breath-taking sight.

menken23Adah went from poor to rich to poor; broke hearts and was broken and had children who died in childbirth before dying herself of either TB or cancer. She never found the acclaim she craved for her poetry–but let’s be honest–her poems were truly bad. Her acting no better, but damn, that body!

MORE about Adah: