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Accession number A2003.136
Collection Edith Atkinson
Title The Edith Atkinson Collection
Catalog Number A2003.136
Object Name Papers, Personal
Credit line Collection of the AAMI - Gift of Connie HIllsman
Dates of Creation 1940-1997
Access Conditions Open for research
Copyrights no known restrictions/ All published music copyrights are retained by the publishers
Scope & Content Collection consists mainly of gospel and spiritual music. There are also compositions written by Ms. Atkinson. Miscellanious items include poetry, an essay, and the catechism of the AME church

Edith Atkinson was born during World War I in Davenport, Iowa as the daughter of W. G. Reed and Julia Jones Reed. The Reed family moved to the Cedar Rapids when Edith was just two years old. She went to Adams Elementary School, and graduated from McKinley High School in 1937. She later attended Coe College from 1939-1940.

Atkinson studied voice for fourteen years, hoping to one day become a concert singer. She learned to sing in many different languages including: German, French, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Hebrew, and Swahili. Edith enjoyed singing spirituals, as it gave her a way to share her African heritage with others. She continued singing throughout her life, and for thirty years acted as a choir director for Bethel AME Church.

Atkinson was always interested in music and the entertainment business, so she and her siblings formed a dance team. Edith and her brothers Wallace and Cecil performed with the name the Three Gold Flashes. She and her brothers traveled all over Iowa and Minnesota, singing and dancing; performing for many people who had never seen African Americans before.

During her years in school she became close to a fellow classmate, Robert (Bob) Atkinson, whom she married in 1940, at the age of 21. She and her husband had two children: Bob II and Mary.

In the 1940s Atkinson worked for a radio program on WMT radio, doing broadcasts every Thursday evening.

In 1952 Atkinson got a job with Rockwell Collins, typing Spanish books. She was the second African American to be hired by the Rockwell company. Later she became an editor of engineering reports and proposals. She worked at Rockwell until she retired in 1981.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s Atkinson and her husband remained dedicated to the Civil Rights movement.

Finding Aids Box #____________Description:

Box 1
Essay: "Tribute to Three Special People"

Box 2
Gospel, "Gospel Hits of the 80's"
Gospel, "Gems of Lov," undated
Gospel & Spirituals, undated
Gospel & Spirituals, misc., undated
Lets sing together, undated
"The One Hundred and One Best Songs," undated
The Golden Book of Favorites Songs, undated
Song Parade, The World of Music, undated
Easy Wedding Music, 1958
The Joy of Fold Songs, 1997

Box 3
Folk Lullabies of the World, 1993
Scott Joplin, Ragtime, undated
Hymns, Heavenly Highway hymns, undated
Youth Hymnal, undated
Tunetime for teentime, undated
Spiritual Singles 1 of 3, undated
Spiritual Singles 2 of 3, undated
Spiritual Singles 3 of 3, undated
Christmas Carols, undated

Box 4
world's's Greatest Hits of the Forties, 1971
Old Slave Songs, undated
Programs 1996-1997 and undated
Handwritten compositions 1 of 3, undated
Handwritten compositions 2 of 3, undated
Handwritten compositions 3 of 3, undated
Foreign compositions 1 of 2, 1940-1992 and undated
Foreign compositions 2 of 2, 1940-1992 and undated
Doris Aker's favorite gospel songs, 1963
The Catechism of AME Church
Verses and Poems by LuLu Walker, 1907-1984
Subjects Musicians
Music ensembles
Search Terms Cedar Rapids
Bethel A.M.E.
A.M.E. - Bethel of Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids - Bethel A.M.E.
Music - Gospel
Music - Spirituals
Sheet music
People Atkinson, Edith Reed
Reed, Cecil
Atkinson, Robert
Reed, Edith
Classification Entertainment
Churches & Temples