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Brigid TenenbaumHQ.jpg
That Tenenbaum ain't what you think. Florence Nightingale, huh? That'll all come crashing down 'fore you can say 'canned tomatoes'. I've seen good bunco, and I've seen great bunco. But, when you waltz through Rapture and World War Two without even a scratch? You got more than leprechauns watching over you.
― Frank Fontaine[src]

Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum is a geneticist who discovered ADAM and helped develop it into products for commercial sale. She is also the "mother" of the Little Sisters. She created them, and eventually came to care a great deal about their safety, calling them her "little ones", acting as a mother to them, and regretting her part in helping create them. The player is able to win her allegiance by saving the Little Sisters instead of harvesting them for ADAM.


Early life[]

Tenenbaum grew up near the city of Minsk in USSR (in the territory of modern Belarus).[5] Her father was German,[7] and she was raised in the Jewish faith.[8]

When she was sixteen years old, she became a prisoner at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz,[9] where she observed German doctors, including Josef Mengele,[10] experimenting on prisoners. Occasionally, when the Germans made scientific errors, she would correct them, and discovered that she had a vocation for science.[11] Eventually, the Germans put her to work assisting in their infamous medical experiments. Tenenbaum considered the German experiments to be useless.[1] While the rest of her family was killed,[12] she survived the concentration camp, due to her aid to the doctors, which had earned her the nickname "Das Wunderkind[sic]."[1]

Tenenbaum was diagnosed with high-functioning autism,[13] but didn't let that define her and later gained a reputation as a scientific genius. In 1946, she mysteriously disappeared. Speculations said she had been taken to America or the Soviet Union, like many scientists after WWII, or possibly that she had been the victim of a retaliation for her collaboration with the Nazis. Her true destination, however, was Rapture.[6]


Life in Rapture[]

Brigid Tenenbaum with her fellow elite.

Discovery of ADAM[]

After her arrival in Rapture, while walking on the docks of Port Neptune she discovered a smuggler whose crippled hands had been restored to normal functionality after being bitten by a sea slug. She researched the slug and found a substance from it could heal damaged cells, even resurrect them,[14] and in further research explored uses for that substance. It was dubbed ADAM, and it allowed people to manipulate (splice) their DNA, opening up the possibility of giving them superpowers through the use of Plasmids and expanded abilities using Gene Tonics.

Tenenbaum had been turned away by all of the reputable research facilities,[15] but Frank Fontaine saw the value of her discovery and agreed to fund her research.[16] At Fontaine's urging, she engineered a way to mass-produce ADAM in the bodies of hosts. Tenenbaum and Fontaine discovered the only hosts capable of producing sufficient amounts of ADAM were young girls, originating the Little Sisters.[17] Tenenbaum developed her discovery and quickly became a major figure in Rapture's scientific community, the most well-known woman in Rapture, and ensuring financial success for herself and Fontaine Futuristics. She eventually discovered ADAM was addictive and had severe withdrawal side effects requiring it to be taken regularly. Over time, ADAM caused mental and physical deterioration. Tenenbaum initially had no qualms about this effect and Fontaine exploiting his customers, and continued to work for him.[18]

Tenenbaum along Suchong, working on Jack's development.

On Fontaine's behalf, Tenenbaum and Dr. Yi Suchong were tasked with the development of Fontaine's "ace in the hole"[19] back-up plan, Jack. As Fontaine wanted Jack to have some of Ryan's DNA to even his odds in Rapture,[20] he had Tenenbaum purchase the fertilized embryo from Jasmine Jolene, Ryan's mistress.[21] After extensive body modification[22] and mind-altering[23] with ADAM,[24] Fontaine accompanied by Tenenbaum, sent Jack to the surface at the age of two.[19]

Research on ADAM Sickness[]

As Tenenbaum continued work for Fontaine, she became increasingly distressed by what she was doing, specifically to the young girls. She noticed that despite the implantation of the slugs and their mental conditioning, they still acted, played, and sang like little girls. Eventually, Tenenbaum began to feel responsible for her part in their creation and hated herself for doing such things to children.[25][26] Tenenbaum's newly developed conscience caused Fontaine to fire her,[27] eventually breaking all contact with each other.[3]

After Fontaine died, Tenenbaum worked for Ryan Industries, which had taken over Fontaine Futuristics, and eventually left that employment. Ryan tried to cover up her strange behaviour, but after her renunciation of the Little Sister Program became public she was labeled a madwoman in the city's Newspapers.[28] Tenenbaum soon after disappeared from the public eye altogether, leaving her apartment in the Mercury Suites to take up residence in her sanctuary for Little Sisters. She then began working on a cure to reverse the 'ADAM Sickness', and produced a method of reverting Little Sisters. As the Rapture Civil War brewed, she continued rescuing Little Sisters to turn them human again. Much later, Tenenbaum believed that by using The Thinker she could calculate genetic bonding sites of ADAM-affected subjects to be able to undo the damage.[29]


Brigid Tenenbaum Portrait.png

"I'll not have him hurt my little ones!"

Main article: BioShock
ADAM improved every aspect of man, except his character. Perhaps there is a Plasmid that can grow the spirit.
― Brigid Tenenbaum[src]

Assisting Jack[]

By the time Jack arrives in Rapture, Tenenbaum has become fully devoted to caring for the young girls. En route through the city one day, she spots a Little Sister with a Splicer and Jack in the Medical Pavilion. She shoots and kills the Splicer before threatening to kill Jack if he tries to hurt the girl. Atlas tries to reason with her and advises Jack to harvest the Little Sister, mocking Tenenbaum for turning the girls into monsters. Tenenbaum in turn begs Jack to help the girls, throwing him a Plasmid that can turn a Little Sister back into a normal girl; she tells him that if he saves the Little Sisters, she will make it worth his while.

Jack's choice is left up to the player. At the time, it's not known what Jack gets if he does what she asks, rather than harvest the girl. After the first Little Sister is rescued, and he receives 80 ADAM, it is still not known that after every three rescues Tenenbaum would reward him with 200 ADAM and various other items, including rare Plasmids and Gene Tonics. Tenenbaum then interacts with Jack to thank him for his bravery, heart, and sympathy in rescuing many Little Sisters. Alternately, if Jack chooses to harvest a Little Sister, he receives 160 ADAM each, and Tenenbaum expresses her anger toward him. If Jack harvests most or all of the Little Sisters, he will hear very little else from Tenenbaum.

Much later in the game, Tenenbaum saves Jack from Fontaine after Andrew Ryan's death by sending Little Sisters to Rapture Central Control to lead Jack to her safe-house. However, Jack falls while moving through a vent and is knocked unconscious. When Jack awakens in Tenenbaum's safe-house, she informs him that she undid part of Fontaine's mental conditioning, and suggests that they work together to undo the rest of Fontaine's control on Jack. She tells Jack that to fully get rid of the mental conditioning, he needs to find Lot 192 in Apollo Square. Tenenbaum then stays in constant communication with Jack for the remainder of the game.

Tenenbaum in her safe-house.

When Jack finally encounters Fontaine at Point Prometheus, Tenenbaum demands Jack pursue the man, but Fontaine manages to escape to the Proving Grounds. Tenenbaum formulates a plan for Jack to trick the Little Sisters into thinking he is a Big Daddy so that he may use a Little Sister to lead him to Fontaine. Tenenbaum directs him to go through Failsafe Armored Escorts, Little Wonders Educational Facility, and Optimized Eugenics to find all the components and supplies to become a Big Daddy. After he is turned into a Big Daddy, Tenenbaum sends a Little Sister to help guide Jack through the Proving Grounds, and then to give him her harvesting tool. When Jack finally reaches Fontaine, Tenenbaum tells him to remove the ADAM from the heavily-spliced Fontaine. At the end of the battle, just as Fontaine is about to kill Jack, Tenenbaum sends five cured Little Sisters to save Jack and to kill Fontaine with their needles.

Departure from Rapture[]

An indeterminate amount of time later, Tenenbaum leaves Rapture. If the player chose to rescue the Little Sisters, Jack will adopt five girls as his own. It is not known if she interacted with Jack after leaving Rapture, though in the case of the good ending, further contact is implied by the game's final line: "And in the end, what was your reward? You never said, but I think I know: a family."

Return to Rapture[]

Years after the events of BioShock, Tenenbaum becomes aware of abductions of little girls all around the world by what turns out to be Big Sisters. Knowing they are being taken to Rapture, she returns to the underwater city hoping to put a stop to their abuse. However, Sofia Lamb detects her approach and sends Splicers to destroy her sub. Tenenbaum escapes, and when Delta meets her she is hiding in the ticket booth of the train station of the Atlantic Express Depot. She had been rescuing Little Sisters and protecting them as she had done years before. Though Tenenbaum knows that Sofia Lamb is using the new Little Sisters to gather ADAM for some purpose, she was unable to determine the nature of the woman's plans.

Protectortrials icon.png
The following is based on the The Protector Trials DLC and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

After Tenenbaum discovers Sofia's plot for the rebirth of Rapture, she brings an Alpha Series out of hibernation and uses him in an attempt to foil Sofia Lamb's plans. Tenenbaum has the Alpha Model assist Little Sisters in gathering ADAM to keep it away from Lamb, and eventually rescues them. The Alpha Model later became incapacitated, so Tenenbaum continued the work on her own.

Protectortrials icon.png
End of information based on the The Protector Trials DLC.

Tenenbaum is then contacted by Eleanor Lamb, who discovered her through her connection to the Little Sisters. Eleanor requests that Tenenbaum aid her in resurrecting Subject Delta and undo his Big Daddy conditioning so they can rescue the other Little Sisters and take them all to the surface.

BioShock 2[]

Brigid Tenenbaum.png

Back in Rapture and saving Little Sisters.

Main article: BioShock 2
Someone is making new Little Ones... continuing my work, my sins. Even if I am to die for it -- I must stop them.
― Brigid Tenenbaum[src]

After Subject Delta is revived, Tenenbaum contacts him via radio to awaken him. However, the radio signal is weak, and Delta must reinstate power to the Adonis Luxury Resort to remain in contact with her. Tenenbaum explains what has happened to Rapture in the past ten years, stating that remnants of the city are under Lamb's control, and that Splicers, Big Sisters, Little Sisters, Big Daddies and Security Devices are also under her rule. She encourages Delta to come find her, promising to give him information about his past. When Delta is near, she explains that he is an old Big Daddy model, and that his body is shutting down because of a separation from his long lost protection bonded Little Sister, who is Eleanor Lamb, daughter of Sofia.

Tenenbaum wants Delta to help her continue to save the little girls. Tenenbaum already saved several, but she does not know how they will get home. Finally, Delta arrives at the Ticket Booth and meets Tenenbaum. Explaining herself to Delta, she says that she fears the "Rapture nightmare" will repeat forever, and states that she will die to stop it if she must.

Before Tenenbaum can explain any more, Sofia Lamb makes an announcement to all the members of the Rapture Family, telling them Delta's location. A wave of Splicers descends on the station. Fearing the Splicers may break in the booth and injure the children and herself, Tenenbaum asks Delta to hold off the Splicers long enough for her and the girls to escape. Delta complies and Tenenbaum escapes with the little girls and goes into hiding, breaking off contact with Delta. She leaves him with her ally Augustus Sinclair, and is not seen again during Delta's journey.

Minerva's Den[]

Tenenbaum waiting for Sigma in Porter's Bathysphere.

Main article: Minerva's Den

After leaving Delta, Tenenbaum focuses on her goal of finding the ultimate cure for the 'ADAM Sickness.' She is close to a breakthrough but realizes that she cannot continue her research without use of a very powerful computer. To that end, she reconnects with Charles Milton Porter, who claims he can return Tenenbaum and himself on the surface. The only way to do so is to break Reed Wahl's stranglehold on Rapture Central Computing to retrieve The Thinker. She finds and gets assistance from another recently revived Alpha Series, Subject Sigma. Sigma is helped by Porter, but it is eventually revealed that Sigma himself is Charles Milton Porter and had been talking to The Thinker.

As Porter and Tenenbaum prepare to leave for the surface, among her luggage is a suitcase full of ADAM bottles, a revolver, and a wrench. Tenenbaum claims that she and Porter have much to do on the surface to find the cure for the "ADAM Sickness" and end the Rapture nightmare. The final cutscene reveals that Tenenbaum finally discovered a cure for ADAM addiction, allowing her to bring Porter back to normal.

BioShock 2 Multiplayer[]

Main article: BioShock 2 Multiplayer

Some of Tenenbaum's quotes appear in the loading screens of BioShock 2's multiplayer mode.

  • "Such big, stinking brutes… Why the little ones are drawn to that disgusting smell, I will never know…"
  • "Even with those things implanted in their bellies, they are still children. They play, and sing. Sometimes they look at me, and they don't stop. Sometimes they smile."
  • "I fear Rapture has not seen the last of my sins…"

Burial at Sea - Episode 1[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1

Brigid Tenenbaum is a well-known figure in Rapture and a topic of discussion among the citizens. She is the subject of the Need to Know Theater film: "The Greatness of Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum". In that short, she (or an actress playing her for the film) is seen from behind while working in her laboratory, as Ryan tries to hide her disappearance from the gossiping citizens of Rapture. A photo of Tenenbaum is briefly seen in another Need To Know Theater film "Taking the Taint Out of Fontaine", suggesting she was a member of the Rapture Central Council at some point. Outside The Watched Clock diner, a couple can be heard mentioning her by name while discussing the ADAM-producing Sea Slugs.

Burial at Sea - Episode 2[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2

A vandalized portrait of Tenenbaum can be found in Ryan the Lion Preparatory Academy with words "Traitors" and "Bitch" scrawled across it. In Fontaine's Department Store, messages from Atlas' informants in the city reveal that they attempted to track down Tenenbaum in the hopes of retrieving the Ace in the Hole, but they were unsuccessful.

The coded message reads:

Whereabouts of the foreign bitch scientist unknown. Ryan presumes she's dead, but our guess is, she's gone underground with the Little Sisters. Options on obtaining the Ace are dwindling.

In Dr. Suchong's Free Clinic, a letter can be found where Tenenbaum tells him of the regret she feels from the work they have done. She seems to have believed that he too could try to become a better person and do the right thing. After being mortally wounded by Atlas, Elizabeth hears Tenenbaum's voice in a vision of the future (the narration is a small part of some of her dialogue in BioShock). It is also revealed that Tenenbaum continued to send rescued Little Sisters up to Jack after the events of BioShock, including Sally.

Tenenbaum's plea to Suchong.

The letter reads:

Of all the things I know, I know this. It is in your power to be a different man. What can Ryan take from us that we have not already sacrificed at the altar of discovery? They are children, Little Sisters, and yes, they will forget. But you and I won't… The memories of what we have done fade only with the dimming of all lights.

Audio Diaries[]

For Radio Messages, see Radio Messages.


BioShock 2[]

Minerva's Den[]


Tenenbaum's Ticket Booth.
Tenenbaum's Face in BioShock.
Tenenbaum's Return.
How to kill Tenenbaum in BioShock.


Concept Art and Models[]

In-Game Images[]


Tenenbaum Glitch-04.png
  •  Icon xbox.png Icon pc.png Icon mac.png It is possible to exploit a glitch to kill Tenenbaum during her first appearance in BioShock. To do so, one must carry a grenade into the room where she is first seen. She will freeze, giving the player a chance to shoot her. Jack can then pull her corpse towards him with Telekinesis. Her body is revealed to be a Thuggish Splicer (and more specifically, a Lady Smith), despite the fact she has a gun and should be a Leadhead Splicer (similar to the Splicer that assaults a Little Sister in the Footlight Theater). Also, despite giving the player the Plasmid, one is still clenched in her hand along with her gun that she does not let go of.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Up until the development of BioShock 2, Tenenbaum's first name was spelled "Bridgette," and her name appears with that spelling in the area title for her apartment when the player first enters it in BioShock. However, in the course of the "There's Something in the Sea" viral marketing campaign, her name appeared as "Brigid," and Elizabeth Tobey, community manager for 2K Games, confirmed that Brigid was the official spelling in a post on the 2K Forums in January 2009.[30]
  • During development of BioShock, Tenenbaum had several unique character models: a young model, nicknamed "Emily," as her flashback appearance, and an aged model for her current appearance.[citation needed] Both models wore a similar outfit to the Rosebud model, as seen in the gallery above. During production, both models were scrapped, and replaced with a recycled Lady Smith model. The "Emily" model only appears in the online portfolio of Irrational Game's Character Artist, J.I. Styles[31] whereas the older Tenenbaum model appears in BradyGames Signature Series Guide for BioShock. However, it was planned for Brigid Tenenbaum to have her own model in the final game, but there was simply no budget to produce a new character model.[32]
    • In The Greatness of Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum Need to Know Theater in Burial at Sea - Episode 1, Tenenbaum uses a Rapture Citizen model. The model is made of Body 1 with the Audrey Hepburn look-alike head, though she is only seen briefly from behind.
  • Tenenbaum speaks snippets of German in her Audio Diaries and radio messages. The game renders them in Swiss German (using "ss" instead of "ß").
  • A "Tenenbaum, B. PhD." plaque is found in the game files for the Medical Pavilion level, which was not used in the final version of the game.[33] This indicates that Brigid Tenenbaum did have an office in the Medical Pavilion at one point during development.
  • Even though she was originally meant to be one of the most important characters in BioShock 2, Tenenbaum only appears in the first two levels, and her fate is left unknown. It seems the developers originally intended for her to play a larger role, including announcing Little Sister gifts to the player, as suggested by unused audio for Tenenbaum in the game files. Her responses to harvesting Little Sisters are very strong, stating, "I will teach the ones that I have already saved to forget you." There are four responses for each situation, even though the player only receives three gifts in the final game. There is also unused audio for Tenenbaum in the game files of Persephone, in which Tenenbaum gives a warning about opening the cells. Due to the changes in BioShock 2's plot during development, much of Tenenbaum's dialogue was cut from the game. Such audio includes lines like "The Splicers crave the ADAM more and more. It rewrites the DNA even as it destroys the mind."[source needed]
    • Tenebaum later returned, first in The Protector Trials as a guiding voice encouraging players during the challenge-based DLC, and then in Minerva's Den, where the story of her return to Rapture was concluded.
Brigid Tenenbaum's BioShock 2 Gift/Anger Radio Messages
Tenenbaum (When saved Little Sister) Tenenbaum (When harvested Little Sister)
1st LS
2nd LS
3rd LS
4th LS
  • As seen in the above gallery, Tenenbaum's photo was based on that of Hollywood actress Geraldine Fitzgerald.[34] The same photograph for Fitzgerald was also modified for the concept art for Baby Jane.
    • In the Would You Kindly flashback, when the room with the bulletin board appears, Tenenbaum is depicted with short hair in her photograph. The head appears to be the same as the photo of Geraldine Fitzgerald seen above, while the neck and chest is the same as in the game, her name is also misspelled as "Tennenbaum."
    • The unmodified image of Fitzgerald is also seen in Burial at Sea - Episode 2. The familiar photo of Tenenbaum, Suchong, and baby Jack is seen on a black board in front of the Cognitive Conversion room in Dr. Suchong's Free Clinic. Here again, Tenenbaum is depicted with Fitzgerald's short hairstyle.
  • Brigid Tenenbaum's voice actress Anne Bobby stated in an interview that she was occasionally filmed while she was recording, but she's not aware of the purpose for the filming.[35]
  • In the "Hunting the Big Sister" trailer, she refers to the tale of the Golem while mentioning the Big Sister: the Golem is a tale of Jewish folklore, in which a rabbi conjures a being out of inanimate objects to protect the Jewish community of Prague. The early Big Sister's story mirrors this in many ways: her armor is built out of a ramshackle assortment of objects, she is controlled by a person to "protect" the Little Sisters, and she is unaware of the morality of her actions (or, as Tenenbaum calls them, her sin).
  • Despite the fact that Sander Cohen blocks the radio messages for Jack in Fort Frolic, Tenenbaum can still send a thank you message for Jack with the Little Sister Gift.
  • In the propaganda song heard in Burial at Sea - Episode 1; We Are Free, the singer appears to have taken Tenenbaum's name, it should be noted that this is not Tenenbaum.
  • In BioShock: Rapture, it is shown that Tenenbaum had a sexual relationship with Fontaine while working for him. The only suggestion of this in the actual games is an audio diary from the Paparazzi.
  • Her character model in BioShock 2 shows that she has a set of numbers tattooed on her left forearm. This was given to prisoners in Nazi concentration camps as a form of identification. Her tattoo is most easily seen in the bathysphere in Minerva's Den. The numbers are indistinguishable as they are too small to identify.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Useless Experiments
  2. Radio Message in Olympus Heights
  3. 3.0 3.1 Paparazzi's Audio Diary: Fontaine's Breakup
  4. The Audio Diary "Love for Science" states that she was sixteen-years-old when imprisoned at Auschwitz. Prisoners were delivered into Auschwitz between 1942 and 1944, which narrows her birth year to be between 1925 to 1928.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Twitter message 1 by Ken Levine on August 4th, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Among the Missing:The Tenenbaum Mystery", article by Ulrich Broder
  7. Twitter message 2 by Ken Levine on August 4th, 2011
  8. Twitter message 3 by Ken Levine on August 4th, 2011
  9. Twitter message 4 by Ken Levine on August 4th, 2011
  10. Faith In Rapture – Ken Levine Shares Thoughts On Creating Authentic Diversity Page 2 on Game Informer
  11. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Love for Science
  12. Faith In Rapture – Ken Levine Shares Thoughts On Creating Authentic Diversity on Game Informer
  13. Conflict In Utopia - How Relationships Are At The Heart Of Ken Levine's New Game on Gameinformer
  14. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Finding the Sea Slug
  15. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Fontaine's Smugglers
  16. Frank Fontaine's Audio Diary: Kraut Scientist
  17. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Mass Producing ADAM
  18. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: ADAM Explained
  19. 19.0 19.1 Radio Message in Olympus Heights
  20. Radio Message in Olympus Heights
  21. Jasmine Jolene's Audio Diary: Pregnancy
  22. Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Baby Status
  23. Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Mind Control Test
  24. Yi Suchong's Audio Diary: Fontaine's Human Jukebox
  25. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Maternal Instinct
  26. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diary: Hatred
  27. Radio Message in Olympus Heights
  28. BioShock 2 Multiplayer Loading Screen Quote
  29. Brigid Tenenbaum's Audio Diaries: Reversing ADAM Sickness & A Possible Solution
  30. "Cult of Rapture Exclusive: Voices from BioShock 2" thread post by 2K Elizabeth on the 2K BioShock 2 Forums
  31. J.I. Styles' online porfolio
  32. BioShock: The Collection - Director's Commentary - Community Theatre
  33. Medical Pavilion Plagues on Imgur
  34. Geraldine Fitzgerald on IMDb
  35. Chattering with Anne Bobby on YouTube