Isadora Newman

Isadora Newman’s creativity defied categorization, spilling across the boundaries of poetry, fiction, painting, and playwriting, but always returned to the African American and Creole influences of her New Orleans heritage. Born Miriam Dorothy Newman, to philanthropist Isidore Newman, she studied under governesses and married at age twenty-three. She and her husband moved to New York, and after her children were grown, Newman took classes at Columbia. She began telling stories and folk tales at the University Settlement and local schools, and published her first collection, Fairy Flowers, in 1926, under the name Isadora. The book was praised both in the US and in translation abroad, and was followed by a poetry collection, Shades of Blue, in 1927, two books of folk tales in German in 1930, and a play, Granny’s Garden, first produced in 1931. She also began painting watercolors and trained as a sculptor in France, exhibiting her work in galleries in Europe as well as New York and New Orleans. Alongside her creative work, Newman focused significant energy on working with children—in 1926 the Serbian government honored her for her relief work with war orphans.

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Date of Birth

New Orleans, LA
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Isadora Newman." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <>.


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