Edith Robbins was the eldest daughter of Robbinsdale’s founder Andrew B. Robbins. She attended prep school at Macalester and Carleton Colleges, and then went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in 1894, and a Master of Arts in 1896. For several years, Edith Robbins taught in the various grades of the public school of Robbinsdale. Her experience teaching in Robbinsdale helped her secure the position of Principal of the Madelia High School. That experience lead her back to Minneapolis where she accepted a position at East Minneapolis High School. From there, she was transferred to Central High School where she worked until her marriage to Thomas Lester Daniel in 1907. In 1920, she was elected as the School Director in Independent School District 24 in Robbinsdale. She served two, three-year terms in this position. Edith Robbins Daniel served on the Robbinsdale School Board for twenty-four years.
In addition to her work in education, Edith Robbins Daniel did extraordinary work on the home front during World War I. Under her personal supervision, several thousand garments were made from dozens of bolts of new fabric donated for the cause. Edith’s workrooms included the T. B. Walker offices at 807 Hennepin Avenue on “heatless Mondays” and the Charles Pillsbury residence, where she kept scores of sewing machines supplied with material and volunteer workers. All these garments were sent to people in need in France and Belgium.
In 1920, school book publishers Ginn and Company of Boston, with the assistance of the director of the Department of Public School Music in Minneapolis, discovered verses written by Edith during her time as a teacher. They hired her as a contributor and adviser on the publication of a series of school music readers used throughout the country. Edith and her daughter, Helen Mary, spent an entire summer in Boston writing and conferring on the publication. Hundreds of songs with words by Edith (under her name and four family nom de plumes) appeared in the series.
Edith and her sister, Amy Robbins Ware, also owned and operated the Robbinsdale Hy-Way Tea House in addition to their real estate, insurance, and loan business — the Andrew B. Robbins’ Estate, and the Robbinsdale Insurance and Loan Agency.
Edith Robbins Daniel died on August 4, 1944.
Gold Stars by Edith Robbins Daniels
A story of sacrifice daily is told
By the stars of deep blue that are turning to gold
The stars in Old Glory are shining more bright
Because of gold stars that reflect a new light
Thee stars of bright gold that now shine through our tears
Shall shine in new glory, all down through the years.
Photos courtesy of the Robbinsdale Historical Society.
Shutter, Marion Daniel, ed. History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest.
Vol. II. Chicago: S J Clarke, 1923. Print.