Edwin Thomas Reed was born in River Falls, Wisconsin on September 15, 1872. He attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1895 with a B.S. He then studied composition and literature at Harvard, earning a B.A. Reed spent a number of years at newspaper and teaching jobs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, followed by ten years as the English Department chair at Moorhead (Minnesota) State Teachers College. At Moorhead, Reed also supervised the library, directed the college's publications program, and had published two volumes of his poetry. He married Katharine May Hartwell, a Moorhead graduate, in 1909. The Reeds had two daughters and a son.
Reed moved to Corvallis in 1911, drawn by the accounts of the Willamette Valley read to him as a child by his father. He purchased a 40-acre farm, "Knollbrook," adjacent to OAC's South Farm. After meeting the College's president, William Jasper Kerr, Reed was asked by Kerr in the spring of 1912 to become the College's Editor of Publications. Reed served in this position until his retirement in 1943, editing hundreds of college bulletins and circulars and writing some of them himself. He also served as Editor of Publications for the Oregon State System of Higher Education from 1932-1943.
Reed was credited with writing the OSC creed, was involved with the founding of OAC's alumni publication, and was a popular speaker at high school commencements and other gatherings. From 1927-1930, Reed was a contributing editor to School Executives Magazine and associate editor of Oregon, The State Magazine. He had three additional volumes of poetry published, one of which, Into The Promised Land, was published for the centennial of the Oregon Trail. Many of his poems were also published in magazines. Reed died at his home in Corvallis on August 25, 1948.
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