Segal, Edith, 1902-

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New York dancer, teacher, and writer, b.1902-d.1997, whose work was closely allied to her political activism.

From the description of Edith Segal Papers, 1920-1997. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122487746

Edith Segal was an American dancer, teacher and writer. Born in 1902 on the lower east side of New York City, her father was a cigar maker and an active union member. Her mother ran a small business out of the house as a hairdresser and maker of wigs for observant Jewish women.

Her first recollection of dancing was in the streets to the music of organ grinders. Her formal training began at the Henry Street Settlement where she studied music and dance. At age 14 she auditioned to be a scholarship student at the Neighborhood Playhouse on Grand Street where she also performed in numerous productions. There, for the next twelve years, she immersed herself in all the theater arts including music, singing, costume and stagecraft as well as dance.

Her work in dance was always closely allied to her political activism. In the 1920s and 30s, she directed the Nature Friends Dance Group, the Red Dancers and the Dance Group of the Needle Trades Workers Industrial Union. She was also the Social Director at Unity House, the vacation resort of the ILGWU. For much of the 1930s through the 1970s Segal taught at Camp Kinderland.

In the 1950s Segal gave her support to many friends who were persecuted for their political beliefs during this period of anti-communist sentiment. She herself was asked to appear before a New York Commission holding hearing on communist influence in summer camps. During this time she also began to publish her poetry. Eventually she published more than ten books of poetry, three of them for children. Throughout her career, she also wrote and lectured on dance.

Segal remained active in the arts and political communities up until her death in 1997.

From the guide to the Edith Segal Papers, 1920-1997, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Edith Segal Papers, 1920-1997 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf Segal, Edith. PAD/D pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Segal, Edith, 1902-. Interview with Edith Segal. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
creatorOf Segal, Edith, 1902-. Edith Segal Papers, 1920-1997. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Camp Kinderland Records, 1923-2012 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn People's Song Library. People's Song Library records, 1940-1970. Wayne State University, Archives of Labor & Urban Affairs
referencedIn Camp Kinderland Records, 1923-2011 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Camp Kinderland (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Farlow, Lesley, person
associatedWith Federal Theatre Project (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Unity House. corporateBody
associatedWith Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. corporateBody
associatedWith New Dance League. corporateBody
associatedWith New York (City). Neighborhood Playhouse. corporateBody
associatedWith People's Song Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Unity House corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
Dance--Political aspects--New York (State)--New York
Dance--Political aspects
Jewish dance
Dance for children


Birth 1902-11-11

Death 1997





Ark ID: w6wm2k0w

SNAC ID: 40198498