Everett Eugene Edwards was born on February 12, 1900, near Waltham, Minnesota. He attended Carleton College from 1917 to 1921 and received a bachelor of arts degree. After graduating, he taught high school. In 1922 he attended Harvard University, completing a master of arts degree there in 1924. Beginning in 1923, Edwards was an instructor of history at Northwestern University. He taught there for two years and then returned to Harvard University in 1925 to take additional graduate courses. His coursework at Harvard included classes taught by Frederick Jackson Turner and Frederick Merck, two important influences on Edwards' intellectual development.
In July 1927, Edwards began work for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. His initial position was associate agricultural economist in the Division of Statistical and Historical Research in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. He worked at the USDA until 1952, the year that he died. During that time, he contributed to the field of agricultural history by writing articles, preparing bibliographies and speeches, and conducting research. He also served on committees and answered questions relating to agricultural history from government officials, scholars, students, and others. Edwards was promoted to senior agricultural historian in 1941 and was awarded a Superior Service Award posthumously in 1952.
One of Edwards' most important accomplishments was his work on Agricultural History, a publication of the Agricultural History Society. The journal, first published in January 1927, was edited by O.C. Stine, who was also the head of the Division of Statistical and Historical Research at the USDA. Edwards helped Stine in editing Agricultural History beginning in 1927 and took over the editorship in 1931. Though the journal was not published by the USDA, Stine advised Edwards to spend as much time as he needed in editing it, and he did so until 1951. Although Edwards' illness prevented him from doing much work on the 1952 issues, he still held the title of editor. Edwards' contribution to this journal is still recognized by the Agricultural History Society in the Everett E. Edwards Memorial Award. The award is granted annually to the graduate student who submits the best manuscript on agricultural history.
In addition to the activities listed above, Edwards taught courses on agricultural history at the USDA Graduate School, American University, the Catholic University of America, the University of Missouri, and the University of Minnesota.
Edwards married Helen Evelyn Hackler in 1938. They had two children, Thomas F. Edwards and Terence E. Edwards. Edwards died of a heart attack on May 1, 1952.