Biographer Philip Jacobs characterized Doris Ulmann as “a short, dark-haired, dark-complexioned woman with a frail physical appearance, refined manners, elegant dress, and a New York accent.” Niles commented about this as well and he has his own characterization of Doris Ulmann. Niles met Ulmann in New York City while performing at the Grand Street Theatre. The few years that John Jacob Niles shared with Doris Ulmann completely transformed his life and career. Because of Ulmann, Niles was introduced to a wide circle of acquaintances, including presidents, leading literary and arts figures, mountain workers, and the social elite. At Ulmann's death, she continued her financial support to Niles.
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