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Atkinson, Edith Reed, 1919-2000



  • Existence: 1919 - 2000


Edith Reed Atkinson, a classically trained singer and former editor of instruction books, bids, proposals, and production scheduler, was born May 24, 1919, in Davenport, Iowa. She was the youngest of eight children. Her family settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when she was a toddler. As a child, she studied voice for fourteen years and from 1935 to 1944 performed in the Gold Flashes dance trio with her brothers, Wallace and Cecil Reed. In 1939, Edith Reed enrolled in Coe College to study foreign languages to further develop her operatic phrasing. She left college in 1940 to marry Robert Atkinson, with whom she later had two children. For thirty years, she served as the choir director at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cedar Rapids.

Beginning in 1943, Edith Atkinson had a radio show on local station WMT for a time, during which she sang requests. She also performed for such celebrities as Nat King Cole during the dinner hour. In 1952, Atkinson began working as a typist of Spanish instruction books in the editing department of Collins Radio (now part of Rockwell International). She retired as a production scheduler in 1981. Since her retirement, Atkinson has continued to teach people about African-American history through her music. In 1997, she received a Woman of the Year Award in celebration of Linn County Women's Equality Day.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Edith Reed Atkinson papers

Identifier: IWA0251

Singer and radio-script editor from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Atkinson performed in a song-and-dance act with her brothers Wallace and Cecil Reed from 1935 to 1944.

Dates: 1935-1997