Energetic Edith

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Edith Robbins

“The will of Andrew B. Robbins made his wife and his daughter, Edith Robbins,
Joint executrices of his estate. This action was in recognition of the long-time
coopera­tion of his life partner, and the active participation for many years in
his real estate and allied interests, of his eldest daughter, Edith Robbins,
whose work in carrying forward plans for developing the beautiful suburb which
bears her father’s name, along lines he approved, has fully justified his faith.
She is helping the children of her father’s customers of the early ’90s to build
substantial homes in the shade of his trees, which she has cared for and guarded
through all the intervening years.
Edith Robbins’ preparatory schooling was received at Macalester and Carleton
Colleges, while her academic and graduate work was carried on at the University
of Minnesota, where she took her Bachelor of Science degree in 1894, completing
the work for Master of Arts in 1895-6. She also became a pianist of marked
ability under the tutelage of Carl V. Lachmond, subsequently director of the
Scharwenka Conserva­tory of Music in New York city. She has been an active
worker in the Tourist Club of Minneapolis, of which she has been secretary and
chairman of various committees and a prominent member of the Thursday Musical.
After her graduation she spent some time traveling in the British isles and on
the Continent with her mother. For several years Edith Robbins taught in the
various grades of the public school of Robbinsdale. It was here that the writing
of those incomparable little verses for children, now recognized from coast to
coast, began as “nature studies” and “memory gems” for her pupils. Verses for
which critics from Boston to California acclaim her “The foremost writer of
children’s verses in America today.” For the little boy’s point of view Edith
Robbins declares herself indebted to her beloved nephew, Louis Robbins Gillette,
son of her sister, Adelaide, Mrs. Ralph P. Gillette. And later for her little
girl’s thoughts to her small daughter, Helen Mary Robbins.
Her teaching field soon broadened and she became principal of the Madelia high
school, from which she returned to take a position in the East Minneapolis high
school, from which she was transferred to Central high school, holding positions
in these schools until her marriage in 1907. This teaching experience, together
with a practical business career, have preeminently fitted her for the position
of school director, where she has served as clerk of Independent School District
24 in Robbinsdale for a three year term, having been reelected July 21, 1923,
for another three years, by the largest vote ever polled in Robbinsdale for
school director.
One of Edith Robbins’ most notable achievements was the extraordinary work she
did during the war, when under her personal supervision several thousand
garments were made from dozens of bolts of new materials donated for the
purpose, for all of which Edith Robbins either cut or directed the cutting and
making. Her workrooms included the T. B. Walker offices, No. 807 Hennepin avenue
on “heatless Mondays,” the Charles Pillsbury residence and other places, where
she kept scores of sewing machines supplied with material and volunteer workers.
All these garments were sent parcel post direct to the scenes of need in France
and Belgium. Letters are still coming from the children whose way was made less
hard by these timely gifts.
In 1920 Ginn and Company of Boston, publishers of school books, with the
assist­ance of Thaddeus Giddings, director of the Department of Public School
Music in Minneapolis, “discovered” Edith Robbins, through some of her published
verses and se­cured her cooperation as contributor and adviser on the
publication of a series of school music readers, of which four volumes are
already in use in Minneapolis and other cities. Pursuant to this work Edith
Robbins and her little daughter, Helen Mary, spent last summer in Boston,
writing and conferring on the publication. Several hun­dred songs with words by
Edith Robbins under her own and four family nom de plumes appear in the series.
Edith Robbins and her sister, Amy Robbins Ware, own and operate the Robbinsdale
Hy-Way Tea House, in addition to their regular real estate, insurance and loan
business, as The Andrew B. Robbins’ Estate, and The Robbinsdale Insurance and
Loan Agency, at No. 4223 Crystal Lake avenue. Over this shining pavement known
as the Jefferson Highway, more than ten thousand cars have passed in a single
day-a pave­ment which Mrs. Robbins declares must be underlaid with a firm
foundation of the rubbers her children left stuck in the mud of the ofttimes
impassable Crystal Lake road of their school days.
So the many interests and activities fill the days to overflowing with new civic
and personal problems, yet in the midst of the busiest day Edith Robbins, with
the delighted cooperation of her little daughter, Helen Mary, still finds time
to set down those sympathetic, humorous and inspirational little gems for child
thought, which will bring joy to generations of children in future years.”

from ” A History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest”, S J Clarke Publishing Co, 1923

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Edith Robbins Daniel looks on as a time capsule in placed in the wall of the new high school on Regent Avenue in 1936.

Edith Robbins Daniel served on the school board  for nearly 25 years. She was hit by a car in September of 1944 and  died a month later at the age of 73. Her last poem, “Gold Stars” was inspired by the Honor Roll board on West Broadway. Stars on the Honor Roll billboard was erected on West Broadway to honor American Armed Forces overseas. The names of Robbinsdale’s own were place under blue and gold stars. A gold star indicated the soldier was deceased.

” 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.”