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Long Island Women's Institute to Host Lecture on "A Dangerous Woman"

Women's History Month event focuses on Adah Isaacs Menken, the world's first sex symbol


Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
LIU Post,
Long Island University

Barbara FosterBrookville, N.Y. -- How would Angelina Jolie fare in the mid-19th century? Lindsay Lohan? Lady Gaga? One only has to look at Adah Isaacs Menken and wonder. Menken, an young ingénue who rose to fame around the time of the Civil War and was arguably the world's first sex symbol, will be the subject of a presentation sponsored by the Long Island Women's Institute and given by Barbara Foster, an associate professor at Hunter College and an a expert in women's studies.

"Adah Menken, aka, The Naked Lady: The Original Superstar," will be held on Wednesday, March 21 at 6 p.m. in the Great Hall at the LIU Post (formerly the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University) in Brookville. She will explore the short life of Menken (she died at age 33) and the impact she had on the artists and intellectuals of her time. Foster, and her husband Michael, have written an acclaimed biography about Menken, "A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken (1835 – 1868)," which was published last year by Lyons Press-Globe Pequot.

The lecture at LIU Post is being held in celebration of Women's History Month and is free and open to the public.

"Hear about this woman who was said to be beautiful, scandalous and well as provocative. Join us as we learn about Adah our real first superstar," said Professor Roslyn Muraskin, director of the LIU Post Long Island Women's Institute.

Menken, who was the basis for the character Irene Adler (the only woman to ever outwit fictional detective Sherlock Holmes), became known as The Naked Lady for a role in the play "Mazeppa" where she performed a scene dressed only in a nude pink body stocking.

Foster has published three trade books, numerous articles on international education, and over 200 poems in journals in every English speaking country. With her husband Michael, she was highly acclaimed for their book, "Forbidden Journey: The Life of Alexandra David-Neel" (Harper, 1989), a biography of the explorer of Tibet that has become a classic of adventure travel. Foster, also a traveler, is a referee for the Royal Geographical Society. She lectures frequently across the U.S. and in Canada and has often appeared on radio, television, and in print and Net interviews. Her latest TV appearance was this summer on Seattle's "Northwest Afternoon" (NBC), the leading TV talk show in the Northwest. Her latest personal appearances were on a highly successful lecture tour of Northern California in August.

The LIU Post Long Island Women's Institute (LIWI), now in its 21st year, sponsors lectures and forums on a range of topics affecting women, including pay equity, health and wellness, training and development and financial investment strategies. LIWI augments the academic programs of the LIU Post College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a well-established, widely acclaimed center for liberal arts education.

LIU Post is located at 720 Northern Boulevard in Brookville, N.Y. For more information, contact the Long Island Women's Institute at 516-299-3146 or send an email to

Posted 01/31/2012

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