Roberta Jacoby Biography

Roberta Jacoby



Roberta Jacoby was born in Allentown, PA on July 14, 1922. After graduating from Allentown High School in 1940 she attended Syracuse University, where she earned her bachelors degree in fine arts in 1944. She continued her studies in art at the Art Students League in New York City and then taught art in East Greenville, PA,

In 1946 Roberta traveled to Baghdad, Iraq, to begin a three year teaching assignment with the Presbyterian board of missions. In Baghdad she taught English, Shakespeare, and Bible studies at a girls school. She was impressed by the thirst for knowledge her students displayed. During this time she also traveled in Europe and the Middle East and led an active social life among the British society which still existed there. After completing her assignment in Iraq, Roberta returned to the U.S. and began studying religion at Hartford Seminary, where she earned her masters degree in 1953. She spent the next three years at the University of Michigan, where she studied Islamic art. It was during this period when she began working in ceramics.

In 1956 Roberta was awarded the first of two Fulbright scholarships and was once again headed for the Middle East, this time to Cairo, Egypt. At the American University in Cairo Roberta taught a popular class in ceramics and also continued to paint, especially palm trees, which she painted realistically as well as doing abstract interpretations. In 1967 Roberta and her four-year old son, being Americans, were forced to leave Egypt because of the Arab-Israeli war. Following their evacuation from Egypt they lived in Greece and England and traveled in Europe. In 1968 Roberta returned to her home-town, Allentown, PA, where she raised her son while continuing to do artwork. From 1975 to 1985 Roberta worked for the State of Pennsylvania in civil service. She lived in Gila, NM, from 1987 until her death in 2004.