Edwin McKee was born in Washington, D.C. in 1906. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated from Cornell University. After Glen Sturdevant, the first Grand Canyon park naturalist, tragically drowned in February of 1929, McKee was offered the job. McKee had previously worked at the Grand Canyon for the U.S. Geological Survey and was keenly interested in both geology and natural history. His introduction to Barbara Hastings had a rather rocky beginning when he took her to a dance at the community hall--but refused to go in and dance. Apparently he redeemed himself over the next few days during a trip with Miss Hastings and the Baileys to Phantom Ranch. In July of 1929 he proposed to Miss Hastings, and they were married in December of that year.
The McKees lived primarily at the Grand Canyon for the next eleven years. They both wrote for the park's bulletin, Grand Canyon Nature Notes, and Mr. McKee authored Ancient Landscapes of the Grand Canyon Region. The McKees also became acquainted with the Havasupai, an interest which ultimately led to the writing, with anthropologist Joyce Herold, of Havasupai Baskets and their Makers: 1930-1940. They traveled extensively to various regions in the Colorado Plateau, as well as elsewhere in the United States and to Mexico. Mr. McKee worked on his graduate degree at the University of Arizona, University of California-Berkeley, and Yale. The couple had three children, William (Bill), Barbara (Bobsy), and Edwin (Ted), born in 1931, 1932, and 1935.
In 1941, Edwin McKee took a position as Director of Science for the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. The following year he also began serving on the faculty of the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he became Chairman of the Department of Geology in 1951. In 1953, the McKees moved to Denver, Colorado when Mr. McKee began working for the U.S. Geological Survey, first as the chief of the Paleotectonic Map Section, and later as a research geologist, an affiliation he retained for the rest of his life. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree by Northern Arizona University (then Arizona State College) in 1957. Edwin McKee died in 1984. Barbara McKee, who donated this collection, died in Denver, Colorado in 1998.
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Northern Arizona University
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