In this interview by Gerald Howard for CUNY's Leon Levy Center for Biography, biographer Debby Applegate discusses her just-released book, Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age (Doubleday).
Polly Adler operated New York City brothels during the Prohibition Era, becoming associated with well known gangsters (Dutch Schultz, Capone, Luciano), politicians, entertainers and literary figures. The former madam became a best-selling author when she released her tell-some autobiography in the 1950s.
Applegate won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for her 2006 book, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday).
See book excerpt: "Polly Adler as Al Capone's guest at the 'Battle of the Long Count,' September 22, 1927" (Writers of Wrongs, Sept. 27, 2021).