Events Calendar

Loading Events

Amram Scholar Series Presents: Debby Applegate

Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age

Sunday November 20, 2022 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Hybrid – Temple

  • This event has passed.

WHC welcomes Debby Applegate to the Amram Scholar Series on Sunday, November 20 at Temple.

This lecture will also be available by livestream by visiting our streaming page.

RSVP is requested


Presented as the second annual Leslie Maitland Lecture in celebration of her decades-long commitment to the Amram Scholar Series program.

About the Book

Madam is the biog­ra­phy of Pol­ly Adler (19001962), the most infa­mous and influ­en­tial madam in Jazz Age New York. Her 1953 mem­oir, A House is Not A Home, sold 2 mil­lion books and became a 1963 movie star­ring Shel­ley Win­ters. More than a biog­ra­phy, this is a col­or­ful and unusu­al his­to­ry of Jew­ish life told through the per­spec­tive of a ​good Jew­ish girl” from a Russ­ian shtetl who immi­grat­ed to Brook­lyn, and rose to become ​the Female Al Capone” and one of the most renowned Jew­ish-Amer­i­can women in the 20th cen­tu­ry. Her broth­els were under­world salons that catered to every­one from the Van­der­bilts and the Rock­fellers to Wal­ter Winchell, Frank Sina­tra, Desi Arnaz, the Algo­nquin Round­table, Dutch Schultz and Mey­er Lan­sky, and, it was rumored, Franklin D. Roo­sevelt. The New York Times Book Review praised Madam as a ​fast-paced tale of rad­i­cal, will­ful trans­for­ma­tion,” and ​a breath­less tale told through extra­or­di­nary research.” Deb­by Applegate’s first book won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for biog­ra­phy and she spent the next 13 years work­ing on Madam.

Click here to purchase this book through WHC’s Mitzvah Mall

About the Author

Deb­by Apple­gate is a his­to­ri­an whose first book, The Most Famous Man in Amer­i­ca: The Biog­ra­phy of Hen­ry Ward Beech­er, won the Pulitzer Prize for Biog­ra­phy and was a final­ist for the Los Ange­les Book Prize and the Nation­al Book Crit­ics Cir­cle Award. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty and lives in Con­necti­cut with her hus­band Bruce Tulgan.

Presented in partnership with the Jewish Book Council.



Sunday, November 20


10:30 am - 12:00 pm


Hybrid – Temple


Adult Ed, Amram, Lecture


Marsha Humphries