Eugenie Nußbaum left home in 1895 and studied German and English literature, philosophy and pedagogy at the University of Zurich. She received her doctoral degree in 1900. At that time, women were not allowed to study at Austrian high schools and universities and Eugenie was one of the first academically educated women in Austria-Hungary. In 1900 she married Dr. Hermann Schwarzwald (1871–1939).
Back in Austria, in 1901 she became head of the Girls' Secondary School and in 1911 of the Girls' College. Her aim was to offer an adequate and motivating secondary education to girls, comparable to that which was accessible to boys. To reach that goal, she engaged many contemporary, prominent artists and scientists to teach the girls. For example, Oskar Kokoschka gave lessons in drawing, Arnold Schönberg taught music and composition and Adolf Loos lectured on architecture. This school became a prototype of so called Schwarzwald schools (Schwarzwaldschulen), modern schools for girls. She often spoke on gender equality to men at the Wiener Frauen Club. During World War I, she devoted herself to caring for ill and elderly people as well as deprived children. She wrote newspaper articles, feuilletons and short essays.
"Genia" Schwarzwald played an important part in Viennese cultural life and social events. Like many of her contemporaries, she organised a literary salon where she invited Kokoschka, Loos or Schönberg as well as the novelists Elias Canetti and Robert Musil. She was the inspiration behind the ancient Greek character of Ermelinda Tuzzi or Diotima in his novel The Man Without Qualities. The character of Eugenie was also modelled on the dancer Isadora Duncan.
In 1938, Eugenie Schwarzwald was forced to leave Austria due to her Jewish ancestry and emigrated to Switzerland; the Schwarzwald schools were closed. She died in Zurich in 1940.