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William G. Edens papers

 Collection — Folder: S401
Identifier: S0401

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a letter from William G. Edens in Chicago, Illinois to Howard H. Peckham in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 27, 1950 regarding his life. and includes a copy of his two-page speech in acceptance of a commemorative plaque at the Edens Superhighway Ceremony on October 8, 1949 concering the endeavor and the Illinois statewide highway system.


  • 1949-1950


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

William Grant Edens was born to Hervey D. Washington and Elsie Jane (Fought) Edens on November 27, 1863 in Richmond, Indiana, the youngest of 8 children. He grew up in Lebanon, Indiana, where his mother moved the family after his father died in 1865. His formal education ended with the sixth grade. Edens started work as a Western Union messenger boy, then worked a multitude of other jobs, mostly in transportation, He was active in the Republican Party in Illinois, canvassing and campaigning for state and national candidates.

Edens married Lillian Maud Brunner, December 9, 1896 and they had one son, William McKinley Edens. He became a banker in 1905, retiring in 1931. He served as chairman of the Good Roads Committee of the Illinois Bankers Association in 1910 and conducted a campaign resulting in a $60,000,0000 good roads bond issue in Illinois. The William G. Edens Expressway (formerly know as the Edens Superhighway or Edens Parkway), which runs from Chicago to Northbrook, Illinois, is named for him. Edens served as a member of the 17th Engineers Regiment of the American Expeditionary Forces and the 108th Engineers, Illinois Division, during World War I and he was awarded the honorary title of "Colonel." He belonged to many clubs and was active in a number of midwestern historical societies.

Edens died November 14, 1957 and was buried at the Memorial Park, Skokie, Illinois.


Information found within the collection. "Edens, Hervey D. Washington." 1850 United States Federal Census. Accessed November 24, 2014. "Edens, William G." 1870 United States Federal Census. Accessed November 24, 2014.

Craig, Jim. "He Pulled Illinois Out of the Mud." Under Every Stone blog, July 26, 2013. Accessed November 24, 2014.

"Edens, William Grant." Who Was Who in America, vol. 3, 250. Chicago, IL: Marquis, 1960.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014/12/01 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2014/12/01 by Edythe Huffman.
William G. Edens papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.