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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Fred W. Edwards

Dates:  1911, 11 June - 1978, 26 March
Born:  US, TN, Chattanooga (?)
Died:  US, ?, Park Ridge

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Fred W. Edwards
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Edwards was active with his wife, Jane, in Chicago camera clubs during the 1940s. He was an electrical engineer, working in radar, radio, and television.
Frederick William Edwards was born on June 11, 1911, probably in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he grew up. He obtained his engineering degree from Purdue University and went on to secure patents for devices used in radio and TV. Around World War II, his work on early radar was so secretive that he could not even discuss it with his wife. He was employed for many years by Kolsman Industries, of Chicago, serving as its vice president for both engineering and foreign marketing. In the latter position, he traveled internationally, teaching licensees how to make television tuners.
Shortly after marrying Mildred Jane Bell in 1937, Edwards and his wife became interested in photography, taking classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with Don Loving. They soon were members of the Evanston Camera Club and the Chicago chapter of the Photographic Society of America, for which Fred served as president. During World War II, the Edwards assisted the United Service Organization, by helping it build a darkroom for servicemen, teaching them photography, and making portraits of them to send to loved ones.
Edwards served on the organizing committee of the Chicago salon of photography from 1944 to 1948, the last year as the chairman of the slidefilm group. This committee produced a filmstrip picturing every piece in the show, for presentation to other photographic organizations. Edwards exhibited his own work modestly at salons from about 1943 to 1949, in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Memphis. However, his photographs were presented at numerous camera clubs around the country, including ones in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York State, and Washington State.
Edwards produced a number of abstract images, which was unusual for pictorialists. His Ave Signor!, for instance, is a photogram made by striking a match over a sheet of photographic paper in the darkroom. Charles F. Cochran, a fellow Chicago photographer, illustrated this image in an article in the October 1951 issue of thePSA Journal, in which he stated, "Here is a range of subtle gradations which would be difficult to achieve by the straight, negative-positive method of photography. And the resulting picture is presented as something completely unworldly; something which did not exist before the making of this print." The institute’s print of it features a hand-drawn bar of musical notes on the mount. Fred W. Edwards died on March 26, 1978, in a Park Ridge hospital. 
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.

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