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MS Thr 740

Cartes-de-visite photographs of Adah Issacs Menken, circa 1862-1866: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 740
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Cartes-de-visite photographs of Adah Issacs Menken,
Date(s): 1862-1866.
Quantity: 1 collection (.3 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Theatrical cartes-de-visite photographs of American actress Adah Isaacs Menken.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2010MT-11. Gift of Thomas Garrett; received: 2010 October 9.
Forms part of the Fredric Woodbridge Wilson Collection of Theater, Dance and Music (Harvard Theatre Collection).

Processing Information:

Processed by: Alison Harris

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Cartes-de-visite Photographs of Adah Isaacs Menken, circa 1862-1866 (MS Thr 740). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Adah Isaacs Menken (1835-1868), was a well known actress of the late 19th century. One of her most memorable roles was in an equestrian melodrama, Mazeppa. In Mazeppa she not only played the role of a man, but rode in on a horse wearing a flesh-colored body stocking to appear naked to the audience. Her lifestyle of outrageous behavior, multiple marriages, and rumored lovers was deemed very scandalous at the time. Menken desired to be a poet and was friendly with a number of literary greats including Charles Dickens, Algernon Swinburne, and George Sand. Only after her death was a collection of her poems, Infelicia, published to unfavorable reviews.


Arranged alphabetically by name of photographic studio.

Scope and Contents

Collection of theatrical cartes-de-visite photographs of Adah Isaacs Menken in costumes and scenes from various productions in the United States and France.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Container List