Margaret A. Edwards

1902 - 1988

Librarian, Educator, & Teacher


Margaret Edwards
Margaret Alexander Edwards was born October 23, 1902, in Childress, Texas.  She is considered one of the pioneers in library service to young adults.  In 1922, she received her B.A. from Trinity University in Waxahachie, Texas. She went on to receive two more degrees: a M.A. in 1928 and a B.S. in library science in 1937 both from Columbia University.   She taught for five years before entering the training program at Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library.  Originally, she worked three hours a day doing "Y work" and was responsible for maintaining the young adult collection housed in a small alcove of the library.  In 1937 the position became full-time and by 1940 she had established young adult collections and staffs at each of the branches.  She established an outreach program that used a horse drawn wagon to take books into the segregated African-American and Caucasian neighborhoods of Baltimore.  She was also a visiting professor at a number of library schools: Catholic University, McGill University, Rutgers University, University of Montana, and University of Texas. 

Photograph from Voices of Youth Advocates (Edwards, 1987, p. 113).

Selected Works
  • The Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts: The Library and the Young Adult, Hawthorn Books, 1969/1974
  • Atkinson, J. (1986, Fall). Pioneers in public library service to young adults. Top of the News, 43 (1), 27-44.
  • Carter, B. (1992, Spring). Who is Margaret Edwards and what is this award being given in her honor? The ALAN Review, 19 (3), 45-48. Retrieved May 5, 2002, from
  • Carter, B. (1998, Winter). Margaret Alexander Edwards: Reaching out to young adult librarians. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, 11 (2), 175-180.
  • Edwards, M. (1987, August/September). Margaret Edwards: An interview. Voices of Youth Advocates, 10 (3), 112-113.
  • Hannigan, J.A. (1996, Spring). A feminist analysis of the voices for advocacy in young adult services. Library Trends, 44 (4), 851-874.
  • 100 of the most important leaders we had in the 20th century. (1999, December). American Libraries, 30 (11), 38-48.
  • Steinfirst, S. (1994). Young Adult Services. In W. A. Wiegand & D. G. Davis, Jr. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Library History (pp. 663-665).

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Last Modified: May 5, 2002