Edna M. Twamley was born October 31, 1879 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was the daughter of James and Mary Elizabeth (Hawkins) Twamley. James Twamley was one of the founders of the University of North Dakota and a member of its first board of regents.
Edna Twamley graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in 1898 and entered UND the following fall. According to the 1964-65 edition of Who’s Who in America, “since her father lived nearby, she was prohibited by University rule from living on campus in the single dormitory available.” Therefore, she transferred to the University of Minnesota following the 1899-1900 school year and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1902.
Following graduation, she returned to Grand Forks to teach at Grand Forks Central. She taught English and American Literature, and was involved with the girls basketball team. She also began taking summer courses at Columbia University in New York City, eventually graduating with a Master of Arts degree. Her thesis, "The Western Sketches of Caroline Mathilda (Stansbury) Kirkland" appeared in the 1915 edition of the Bulletin, a publication of the Michigan Historical Commission. In 1914, she took a position at UND, teaching in the School of Education and the University High School. Following the death of her father on December 2, 1916, Edna moved to New York to teach at Morris High School in New York City.
Although she lived in New York, Twamley was a frequent visitor to UND, even enrolling in Summer Classes in 1951. On June 8, 1958, she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University, although she remained a member of the class of 1902. In 1960, the University announced it was planning to build a new administration building to be named in honor of James Twamley. Edna Twamley presented an additional $200,000 to the University, from the estate of her deceased brother, James Frederick Twamley. This allowed for the construction of the fourth floor. Edna Twamley provided additional personal funds to build a carillon. When Twamley Hall was formally dedicated on May 31, 1963, Edna Twamley delivered an address in honor of her father.
Edna Twamley died on December 20, 1966 in Newburgh, New York.
Donation; (Acc.#88-1588) and November 1990 (Acc.#91-1764)
Photograph 1: Edna Twamley, undated
Photograph 2: Edna Twamley, undated
Photograph 3: Edna Twamley with Mabel, Mary Margaret and Townsley French, August 1935
Photograph 4: Edna Twamley and Mabel French, August 1935
Photograph 5: Edna Twamley’s house, Coldenham, New York, August 1935
Photograph 6: Edna Twamley, November 1959
Photograph 7: Edna Twamley’s dog, “Big Joe”, December 1961
Photograph 8: Edna Twamley at the Dedication of Twamley Hall, May 31, 1963
Cassette Tape 2043: Recording of Edna Twamley’s address at the Dedication of Twamley Hall, May 31, 1963