1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Menken, Adah Isaacs
MENKEN, ADAH ISAACS (1835-1868), American actress, was born in New Orleans, the daughter of a Spanish Jew, her name being Dolores Adios Fuertes. Left in poverty at the age of thirteen, she made her first appearance as a dancer in her native city. She had a great success there and in other southern cities, including Havana, and she afterwards aspired to act in serious parts. In 1856 she married John Isaacs Menken, translated Adios to Adah, and thus took the name she thereafter bore through various matrimonial ventures. In 1864 she appeared at Astley's in London as Mazeppa, a performance of an athletic dramatic type suited to her fine physique. In England and France she became intimate with many literary men — Swinburne, Charles Reade, Dickens (to whom she dedicated in 1868 a volume of verse, Infelicia), Gautier and Dumas the elder. Paris saw her for a hundred nights in Les Pirates de la Savane, and she also played in Vienna and again in London. She died in Paris on the 10th of August 1868.