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A house is not a home

Call Number

  • 921 A2378AD (CEN)

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Publication Information

Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, [2006]

Physical Description

xlviii, 374 pages, 6 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 21 cm


"Polly Adler's 'house'--the brothel that gave this best-selling 1953 autobiography its title - was a major site of New York City underworld activity from the 1920s through the 1940s. Adler's notorious Lexington Avenue house of prostitution functioned as a sort of social club for New York's gangsters and a variety of other celebrities, including Robert Benchley and his friend Dorothy Parker. According to one New York tabloid, it made Adler's name 'synonymous with sin.' This new edition of Adler's autobiography brings back into print a book that was a mass phenomenon, in both hardback and paperback, when it was first published. A self-consciously literary work, A House Is Not a Home provides an informal social history of immigrant mobility, prostitution, Jewish life in New York, police dishonesty, the 'white slavery' scare of the early twentieth century, and political corruption. Adler's story fills an important gap in the history of immigrant life, urban experience, and organized crime in New York City. While most other accounts of the New York underworld focus on the lives of men, from Herbert Asbury's Gangs of New York through more recent works on Jewish and Italian gangsters, this book brings women's lives and problems to the forefront."--Provided by publisher.


Originally published: New York, N.Y. : Rinehart, 1953.

Added Authors

Rachel Rubin

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