Wikipedia: Polly Adler
Pearl "Polly" Adler (April 16, 1900 - 1962) was a Russian-born madam and author.
The oldest child of a large family, Polly Adler emigrated to America from Yanow, Russia, near the Polish border at the age of 14 just before World War 1. The war stopped her family from joining her. She worked in clothing factories and sporadically attended school and at the age of nineteen began to enjoy the company of theater people in Manhattan and moved into the apartment of an actress and showgirl on Riverside Drive, New York.
She opened her first bordello in 1920. She was under the protection of Dutch Schultz and a friend of Charles "Lucky" Luciano. In the early thirties, Polly was a star witness of the Seabury Commission investigations and spent a few months in hiding in Florida to avoid testifying. She refused to give up any mob names when apprehended by the police. She survived by providing half of her income to her underworld safety net. For over twenty years, Adler kept active by moving her brothel from apartment to apartment. She officially retired from prostitution in 1944.
She went to college at the age of fifty and wrote a bestselling book, ghosted by Virginia Faulkner, A House is Not a Home in 1953 and lived off the proceeds. She died in Los Angeles in 1962.
My home is in whatever town I'm booked.
Your heart often knows things before your mind does.
It's not the college degree that makes a writer. The great thing is to have a story to tell.
I am one of those people who just can't help getting a kick out of life -- even when it's a kick in the teeth.
The only difference between them and my girls is that my girls gave a man his money's worth.
21 May 1967, New York Times, "Prostitution," pg. E2:
Madam Polly Adler used to say that the only difference between her girls and the average housewife was that her girls gave a man his money's worth.
22 June 2006, New York Daily News, "Prostitutes in our fair city? Say it ain't so!" by Sidney Zion, pg. 41:
Polly Adler is turning in her grave. For at least 30 years, covering the Prohibition era through the Second World War, shewas the most famous and beloved madam in New York.
Just about every famous guy in America showed up at her joint, as she chronicled in her New York Times best seller, "A House Is Not a Home."
Nobody ever pinched Polly, the cops loved her, and she left the world with this proverb: "The difference between my girls and married women is that my girls give a man his money's worth."
New York City • Names/Phrases • (1) Comments • Thursday, June 22, 2006 • Permalink
Polly Adler was a Russian-born madam? For the first time I hear such news