Myrtle Edwards papers, 1955-1973

Overview of the Collection

Edwards, Myrtle
Myrtle Edwards papers
1955-1973 (inclusive)
circa 5.43 cubic ft
Collection Number
1391, 1717, 1766
Correspondence, scrapbooks, literature from trip to Israel, appointment books, photographs, awards and biographical data of a Jewish American
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Myrtle Edwards was born in 1894, and studied music as a young women. She studied music at the University of Illinois, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree, the American College of Music, and the Illinois College of Music. She became a voice teacher at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, where she met and married Harlan H. Edwards, a civil engineer and the son of the founding family of the American Conservation of Music, in 1918.

The couple moved to Seattle in the early 1940s after living in Illinois and California and had two children. In Seattle, Myrtle became involved in the Seattle and Washington State League of Women Voters, serving as president of both, and the Seattle Council of Churches, where she was a member of the executive board. She was also active in the Municipal League, the American Association of University Women, Business and Professional Women, the Boy Scouts, and the Camp Fire Girls. She and Harlan were also members of the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club. In 1964, Seattle Beautiful Inc. named her Citizen of the Year, for her tireless work with the organization, which promoted public parks, boulevard plantings, and programs that enhanced neighborhood beautification.

Once their youngest child was in college, Myrtle went back to school at the University of Washington to get her degree in political science, and entered politics. In 1955, she was appointed to the Seattle City Council and elected a year later. She later served as president of the City Council. In each of her elections, a time when the council was elected at large, she received the most votes, furthermore, in 1964, she received more votes than any other council candidate had ever received.

She was very committed to parks and green spaces and worked to make these spaces an integral part of the city. She was also a strong supporter of the arts, and was most proud of the remodeled Opera House and the various theaters on its campus. Myrtle Edwards died unexpectedly due to injuries sustained in a car accident in 1969. To honor her legacy, the former Elliot Bay Park was renamed Myrtle Edwards Park. The park, which had been a dumping ground for construction and industrial projects, was transformed into a waterfront park overlooking Puget Sound in honor of the kinds of project she supported throughout her career.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Consult the scope and content information for each of the accessions listed below.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Organized into 4 accessions.

  • Accession No. 1391-001, Myrtle Edwards papers, 1955-1969
  • Accession No. 1717-001, Myrtle Edwards papers, 1959-1965
  • Accession No. 1766-001, Myrtle Edwards papers, 1959-1969
  • Accession No. 1766-002, Myrtle Edwards papers, 1973

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Accession No. 1391-001: Myrtle Edwards papers, 1955-1969Return to Top

4.5' linear (3 boxes)

Scope and Content: Correspondence, scrapbooks, appointment books, photographs, awards, ephemera; 1955-1969.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Acquisition Info: Harlan H. Edwards, 1970-07-23

Accession No. 1717-001: Myrtle Edwards papers, 1959-1965Return to Top

5" linear.

Scope and Content: Ephemera, photographs; ca. 1959-1965.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Acquisition Info: Mr. Harlan H. Edwards. Transferred from Engineering Library by Harold Wiren, 1971-09-13

Accession No. 1766-001: Myrtle Edwards papers, 1959-1969Return to Top

1.2 cu. ft. (3 boxes)

Scope and Content: Convention literature, 1964, Jerusalem, Israel; literature from trip to Israel; scrapbook of clippings; charter of the City of Seattle.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Acquisition Info: Harlan Edwards, 1971-11-16

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder Accession
1 1766-001
League of Women Voters
Scope and Content: Newsletters, current discussions and issues
1 1766-001
Seattle Worlds Fair
Scope and Content: Pamphlets, maps, invitations, photographs, publications, ephemera
1 1766-001
Conference Programs and Records
1 1766-001
1 1766-001
Publications and Reports
1 1766-001
2 1766-001
Convention Literature, Jerusalem, Israel
2 1766-001
Literature from Trip to Israel
2 1766-001
Washington State Urban Study Tour of Europe
2 1766-001
27th World Congress, Jerusalem (list of delegates)
2 1766-001
Israel Notes and Gazette
1964, undated
2 1766-001
Travel Brochures
3 1766-001
Original Account of Funds for Election Campaign
3 1766-001
Campaign Contributions (cards)
3 1766-001
Oversize 1766-001
Scope and Content: Clippings and correspondence regarding Myrtle Edwards' accident and death

Accession No. 1766-002: Myrtle Edwards papers, 1973Return to Top

1 folder

Scope and Content: Biographical data, Dec 1973.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Acquisition Info: Addition - BIographical data, Acc # 1766-002, Box 1 donor, Harlan Edwards via Mrs. Norris, former Dean of Engineering, 1973-12-01

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Municipal government--Washington (State)
  • Voting--Societies, etc
  • Voting--Washington (State)
  • Women--Political activity--Societies, etc
  • Women--Political activity--Washington (State)
  • Women--Washington (State)--Societies and clubs

Personal Names

  • Edwards, Myrtle--Archives
  • Pelly, Thomas M. (Thomas Minor), 1902-1973

Corporate Names

  • League of Women Voters of Seattle
  • Seattle (Wash.). City Council

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)--Politics and government
  • Washington (State)--Politics and government--1951-

Form or Genre Terms

  • Charters
  • Scrapbooks


  • City council members--Washington (State)
  • Civic leaders--Washington (State)
  • Women city council members--Washington (State)
  • Women civic leaders--Washington (State)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)