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Papers of Edwin A. Menninger

Creator: Menninger, Edwin Arnold, 1896-

Date: 1908 - 1995

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Unavailable

Unit ID: 225898

Abstract: Edwin Menninger's collection of papers is relatively small but inclusive regarding his childhood, early adulthood, and mature years as a newspaper editor and horticultural expert while living in Florida and North Carolina. The papers include personal correspondence, some diaries from summers spent at Lake Winona, Indiana as a youth, manuscripts for the autobiographical "Midwestern Magnificence" and the reference book "Fantastic Trees," and other materials related to Edwin's personal and professional life.

Space Required/Quantity: circa 4.5 cubic feet (8 boxes) + loose items 1 partial 35mm microfilm reel

Title (Main title): Papers of Edwin A. Menninger

Part of: Menninger Foundation Archives. Papers of the Menninger Family.


Biog. Sketch (Full): Edwin Arnold Menninger was born on 18 March, 1896 in Topeka, Kan., the second son of Charles Frederick and Flo Vesta Menninger. The middle child, Edwin's brothers were Karl and William, both noted psychiatrists of the 20th century.

Edwin did not follow in his father's and brothers' medical footsteps. In a chemistry lab at Washburn College (later Washburn University, of Topeka) in 1915, Edwin and a friend conducting an experiment had an accident with the chemicals they were using, leading to an explosion that severely injured Edwin. He lost vision in his right eye, a finger, and had some facial disfigurement. Edwin later in life totally lost all vision.

Because of this accident, Edwin changed majors from premed to journalism, and his parents agreed to send him to Columbia University to further his training. While in New York, Edwin married Ella Waldron, with whom he had two children, and served as cable editor for the Herald Tribune. By 1922 the family moved to Florida, where Edwin bought a newspaper, the South Florida Developer. In 1928 he bought another newspaper, the Stuart Daily News, and merged the two to form the Stuart News. By 1934 this daily went to a weekly newspaper, and in 1957 Menninger sold it.

Edwin's personal life did not remain stable. His wife left him, taking the children with her, only a few years after moving to Florida. In 1928, Edwin married Patricia "Patsy" Underhill and became stepfather to her children. He and Patsy began wintering in Florida and spending their summers in North Carolina.

Edwin Menninger's interest in botany led to him becoming an expert on flowering trees, and he began writing reference books on the topic as well as becoming a seed distributor.

Edwin A. Menninger died on 17 February 1995.

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


No Locators Identified

Index Terms


    Menninger, Edwin Arnold, 1896- -- Archives
    Menninger, Edwin Arnold, 1896- -- Family
    Menninger, Edwin Arnold, 1896- -- Knowledge -- Horticulture
    Menninger, Edwin Arnold, 1896- -- Manuscripts
    Newspaper editors -- United States

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Family. Edwin A. Menninger.

Additional Information for Researchers

Ownership/Custodial Hist.: A handful of Edwin Menninger's papers were donated or loaned for microfilming to the Kansas Historical Society by the Menninger Foundation during the 1990s. When the Kansas Historical Society took over the Menninger Foundation Archives in 2003, Edwin's papers came as part of the collection, and those previous donations and microfilmed materials have been integrated into this larger grouping of materials.