Edgar Irving Williams was born October 5, 1884 in Rutherford, NJ. Although a year younger than his brother, William Carlos Williams, the two were placed in the same grade level. They attended Rutherford schools and received religious education from The Church of Our Father, Unitarian, in Rutherford. In 1898, the brothers attended classes at the Chateau de Lancy, near Geneva Switzerland, returning in the Spring of 1899 to briefly attended classes at Park School in Rutherford. They completed their secondary education at New York City’s Horace Mann School.
Edgar went on to study architecture at MIT and, as a recipient of the Prix de Rome in 1909, traveled to Rome for graduate architectural studies at the American Academy. When he returned to America, he taught design at MIT and practiced as an architect with firms in Boston and New York. He is believed to have worked in association with Guy Lowell in Boston and then New York. At the time, Lowell was designing the magnificent New York County Courthouse in lower Manhattan. From 1917-1919, he served as director of the Red Cross WWI aid operations in Genoa, Italy. On returning to the United States, he practiced with the New York architectural firms of William Welles Bosworth, and Warren and Wetmore, and in the mid-1920s was a partner in Barrett and Williams. He formed an independent practice in New York in 1928.
Edgar Williams’ first significant design was the WWI monument in Rutherford, dedicated in 1920. Included among his more notable architectural accomplishments are: "The Chimneys," a Tudor style design also known as the G.R. Holmes residence in Sands Point, NY; Manton Metcalf Memorial in Orange, NJ; the gymnasium of Rutgers University at the New Brunswick NJ Campus; and Rutherford’s U.S. Post Office and Public Library. He was also responsible for the Donnell Library restoration as a consultant for the New York City Public Library. Late in his career, he was a consultant to the United States Department of State for the design and construction of American embassies abroad.
Edgar was active in the affairs of Rutherford, serving on the Board of Education’s building committee for the design and planning of Rutherford High School, as well as chairman of Rutherford’s Planning Board. He designed the West End Fire House and was an unpaid consultant in the building program of the Congregational Church. The Chamber of Commerce awarded him its Citizen of the Year in 1946.
In 1913 Edgar married Hulda Gustafva Olsson in New York and they had four daughters: Ingrid, Palamona, Edith, and Christina. He died in New Milford, Connecticut on January 1, 1974.
Rutherford Borough Historian