Few historical records survive which detail Elizabeth Polack's life. Although neither the year nor place of her birth have been noted, documentation of her activity as a playwright active in London between 1830 and 1838 remains for posterity. Contemporary records credit her with five plays, only two of which, Esther, the Royal Jewess; or The Death of Haman and St. Clair of the Isles; or The Outlaw of Barra, have survived. Esther, with a story taken from the Old Testament, and considered in its time to be a type of an "Exotic East" melodrama, was successfully produced in 1835 at London's Mile End Pavilion Theatre in the East End (the Pavilion was later a centre for Yiddish theatre in London). 1838's St. Clair, based on an 1803 novel by Elizabeth Helme, met, however, with a very modest reception.
Polack may have been a relation of Joel Samuel Polack, the first Jewish settler of New Zealand. Joel's biographer writes that he lived with his sister in Piccadilly when he first returned to England; that sister may have been Elizabeth.
No other details have emerged regarding Elizabeth Polack, including the year, place and circumstances of her death.
Plays by Elizabeth Polack
- Alberti; or The Mines of Idria (no copy known to exist)
- Angeline; or The Golden Chain (no copy known to exist)
- Woman's Revenge (1832; attributed by some sources to John Howard Payne)
- Esther, the Royal Jewess; or The Death of Haman (1835)
- St. Clair of the Isles; or The Outlaw of Barra (1838)
- Franceschina, John Charles (1997). Sisters of Gore: seven Gothic melodramas by British women, 1790-1843. Taylor & Francis. pp. 227–284. ISBN 9780815317814.
- Franceschina, John. "Introduction to Elizabeth Polack's Esther". British Women Playwrights Around 1800, 11 paragraphs. 15 October 2000.