Resources For Readers and Book Clubs

Now In Paperback

New York Times Editors’ Choice for Best Books of 2021

Earphones Award for Best Audiobooks of 2021

1. Polly Adler’s Playlist

This is the soundtrack of Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age. Polly Adler was a great fan of ragtime, jazz, and swing music and this playlist includes songs that were meaningful to her, that were created by her friends, colleagues or customers, or inspired the action in Madam. Also included are scenes that capture the world of nightclubs, courtrooms, mobsters and comics, of wise-cracking reporters, corrupt cops, and Broadway butterflies of every variety.  Titles are listed in roughly chronological order. More information on Polly Adler’s Playlist is available in PDF or DOCX formats.

A WARNING: Please be aware that some of this material contains sexist, racist and bigoted language and imagery, that was common in the early 20th century, but may offend contemporary audiences.

Click the “1/68” icon in the upper-right-hand corner to open a sidebar showing the full playlist, for easier navigation between different items. You can also view the full playlist on YouTube here.

2. Sample Book Club Discussion Questions For Madam

Available in PDF and DOCX formats.

3. Selected Media

  • CBS News Sunday Morning, “Call her ‘Madam’: The Notorious Polly Adler,” Conversation with John Dickerson 
  • New York Times Book Review, “The Manhattan ‘Madam’ Who Hobnobbed With the City’s Elite” by Paulina Bren
  • New York Times Book Review, Podcast with New York Times Editor Pamela Paul 
  • C-SPAN, Debby Applegate speaking at the American Library Association nation conference, June 27, 2023
  • The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Online Exhibit, “Call Her Madam: Sex, Crime and Fun in Polly Adler’s New York,” curated by Debby Applegate

4. Map of Polly Adler’s Jazz Age New York

Click the “sliding sidebar” icon in the embed’s top-left-hand corner below to open a list of all the mapped locations.

5. Map of Polly Adler’s Brothels, Homes and Hotspots

Click the “sliding sidebar” icon in the embed’s top-left-hand corner below to open a list of all the mapped locations.

6. A House is Not a Home

1964 Film of Polly Adler’s Memoir starring Shelley Winters as Polly.