Margaret Naumburg

By creating her own school and her own system of education based on principles of psychoanalysis, Margaret Naumburg laid the groundwork for the new discipline of art therapy. Naumburg studied at Barnard before traveling to Europe, where she attended the London School of Economics and trained in child education under Maria Montessori. Upon her return to New York in 1914, she opened the first Montessori school in the US, using space at the Henry Street Settlement. A year later, she left to create the Walden School, an experimental model based on “developing children’s capacities” rather than the “accumulation of knowledge.” The art program, created by her sister, Florence Cane, was heavily influenced by Jung. Naumburg resigned as the school’s director shortly after her divorce in 1924. She then began writing, beginning with 1928’s The Child and the World, about her experiences at Walden, followed by a number of books on her ongoing research into art therapy. In the late 1950s she created the first art therapy courses at the New School for Social Research and NYU, and taught at the New School until her retirement in 1969.

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Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Margaret Naumburg." (Viewed on January 24, 2020) <>.


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