Edith Marion Patch was born on July 27, 1876 in Worcester, MA and lived there for the first eight years of her life. She was the youngest of six children of William Whipple Patch and Salome Jenks Patch. The Patch family were of English descent. Her ancestors had arrived from England in 1636 and were founders of Salem, MA. The ancestral home in southern England was at Tiverton, Devon, Somerset County.
In June of 1884 the Patch family moved to Minneapolis. Two years after their move, her father purchased 10 acres of prairie land near Minneapolis and about a mile away from the Mississippi River.
In 1896, while she was a senior at South High School in Minneapolis, Edith entered an essay into a contest about Monarch Butterflies and won the $25 prize. With that prize she purchased the book, Manual for the Study of Insects, by John Henry Comstock of Cornell University and Anna Botsford Comstock, member of the American Wood-Engravers.
In the fall of 1897, Edith entered the University of Minnesota and attended there for four years. She received her B.S. in 1901 and then taught high school for two years in Minnesota. She taught English and Zoology at Hastings High School from 1901-02 and taught English at Crookston High School from 1902-03. It was in 1903 that her efforts to enter her chosen field of work paid off when Dr. Charles Dayton Woods, Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Maine, Orono, wrote to Edith and asked if she would be willing to work for one year as an unsalaried, volunteer assistant charged with organizing a Department of Entomology with the possibility of becoming its head the following year. When she accepted and he saw she was serious he also arranged for her to teach a course in Agricultural English with a regular salary so she would at least have some financial stability.
In 1906 Edith Patch became a Charter member of the Entomological Society of America when it was established.
In 1907, Edith began taking leaves of absence from her position at the University of Maine in order to work under Professor Comstock at Cornell on graduate work.
In 1910, Edith received her Master’s Degree from the University of Maine.
In 1911, Edith received her Ph.D. from Cornell University.
In 1913 she bought Braeside, her home near the University of Maine. She lived there until her death in 1954. She used this land as her own personal laboratory.
In 1914, Dr. Patch was voted as an Entomological Society of America fellow and remained a Fellow and Life Member until her death in 1954.
In 1927 Dr. Patch was invited to spend six months conducting research at the Rothamsted Experimental Station at Harpenden, England. She took the opportunity and traveled and collected in Wales, Scotland, and England.
In 1928 she was voted in as First Vice President of the Entomological Society of America. In 1930 she was voted in as the first woman president of this society.
On June 30, 1937, Dr. Edith Marion Patch retired from the University of Maine as “Entomologist Emeritus.” She also earned an honorary degree of Doctor of Science on this day. She had spent 34 years at the University of Maine.