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Mercedes de Acosta
(March 1, 1893 - May 9, 1968) U.S.A.

Mercedes de Acosta

Scriptwriter, poet, and set and costume designer


The youngest daughter of a fashionable family who lived in New York City, as a child de Acosta believed that she was a boy. Her mother wanted a son, so she dressed Mercedes in boy's clothing and encouraged her to play with boys.

In 1920 she married painter Abram Poole in a small ceremony, apparently to pacify her mother. As a feminist writer and lesbian, de Acosta retained her surname, lived apart from her husband while working on productions, and had loving relations with famed women.

She met the acresses Eva La Gallienne, with whom she had a relationship until 1925 when Eva began an affair with another woman. She had a number of high-profile love affair with women, among them dancer Isadora Duncan, and actresses Eva Le Gallienne, Alla Nazimova, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. In 1935 Acosta divorced her husband. She made many trips to Europe and towards the end of World War II had an extended affair with Claire Charles Roux.

The last major love of her life was Poppy Kirk (Maria Annunziata Sartori) who had grown up in England and France, and whom she met apparently after seeing her in a dream. They had a flat in paris and a house in Normandy where they entertined a large circle of lesbian friends.



  • Jeanne d'Arc (1925)
  • Jacob Slovak (1928)
  • Here Lies the Heart (1960)
Excerpts from: Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002
and from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001
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