Historian, Author, Geologist &
Edith was born in Scranton, Pa., and received a geology degree from Wellesley College in 1945. She went to work for the Army Map Service in Washington, creating maps from photos, but left the job to marry James M Sprouse and raise her three children, Peter, Betsy and Susan McConnell. She is the daughter of Herbert D and Madelene Taws Kynor, and the sister of Herbert Dailey Kynor, Jr.
She resumed her career in 1960, after her youngest child started school and wrote her first book, "Potomac Sampler," in 1961, followed by many others. She was instrumental in the decision to move the Dranesville Tavern, on the Fairfax-Loudoun county line, out of the path of the widened Route 7 in the late 1960s.
She wrote down and organized more historical information on Firfax Co and Alexandria, Va as a volunteer than most paid professionals will ever do in their entire career. For many years, every Monday morning, Edith would volunteer her experise at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum in Alexandria. She'd find and clean paper, bottles, labels - and other things that hadn't been touched in decades. She'd search out crates and drawers that most people would take one look at, and run. She'd tackle them all with her duster and patiently find them a proper home for future research.
There was nothing that did not interest her and she always had an instinct of where to look for historic puzzle pieces. The thrill of discovering new clues was infectuous to her many admirers. She was always finding these interesting bits of formation and she was always willing to share what she found...nothing belonged to her and she was never too busy to answer any question anyone had. If it was a fact she couldn't immediately call to mind, you could be sure she'd find it by the next time you met. She had an incredible depth of understanding of history and George Washington was a personal hero of hers.
She served on the boards of the Franconia Museum and the Fairfax County Historical Society and was an adviser to the Friends of Historic Huntley. She was a member of the Northern Virginia Association for History, the Alexandria Historical Society, a charter member of the Northern Va chaper of the Archaeological Society of Va and the Fairfax Historic Commission, and many more historical organizations. She also knitted hundreds of hats and mittens for the needy through the Community Partners for Children. The Rare Book Room in the Barrett Branch of the Alexandria Library is named for her.
An abbreviated list of Edith's books & publications:
Along the Potomac River: Extracts from the MD Gazette 1728-1799; The Bicentennial Indexing Project of Fairfax Co, Va 1973-86; Colchester: Colonial Port on the Potomac 1975; Fairfax Co. in 1860: a collective biography 1996; Historical Notes 1962; Mount Air, Fairfax, Va 1970; 19th Century Fairfax Co., Va, Va newspapers 1998; Officials of Fairfax Co., 1749-1801; Potomac Sampler: a Historical Index to the Mount Vernon Area 1961.
DO NOT STAND AT MY GRAVE & WEEP
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am in a thousand winds that blow
I am the softly fallen snow
I am the gentle showers of rain
I am the fields of ripening grain
I am in the morning hush
I am in the graceful rush
of beautiful birds in circling flight
I am the starshine of the night
I am in the flowers that bloom
I am in a quiet room
I am the birds that sing
I am in each lovely thing
Do not stand at my gave and cry
I am not there, I do not die
James Marvin Sprouse
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