Edna M. Heilbronn was born on July 27, 1892, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heilbronn. She graduated from Saginaw High School and Saginaw Normal School in Saginaw, Michigan. Edna received her life certificate from Central Normal School, later Central Michigan University (CMU), in 1916, and her B.A., also from CMU, in 1921. She earned her master's degree at Columbia University, and did advanced work at the universities of Harvard, Chicago, Southern California, and Northwestern.
Before coming to Central to teach in 1924, Professor Heilbronn taught in six different elementary and grade schools in Saginaw. In 1924 she joined CMU's Training School, later called the College Elementary School. Professor Heilbronn taught sixth grade and many courses for the Education Department. During her years at CMU, she trained over 200 student teachers and taught over a thousand children.
Professionally, Professor Heilbronn was active in many organizations and societies. She was a member of the Michigan Education Association, the National Education Association, the Association for Childhood Education, and the Association for Student Teaching. Professor Heilbronn helped organize the Michigan Chapter of the Association for Student Teaching, and served as its first president, 1946-1947. She also served for many years as a member of the Executive Board of the National Association for Student Teaching, and served as president in 1952. Also, Professor Heilbronn was appointed by the Department of Public Instruction as a member of the State Curriculum Committee, a position in which she served for several years.
From 1958 through January 1966 she served as CMU's Coordinator for the InterInstitutional Affiliation Project. Constance Stenenga assisted Professor Heilbronn with her Project work. The Project was sponsored by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, a department of the National Education Association. The Project was funded by the U.S. Information Agency and, beginning in 1962, the U.S. State Department. The goals of the Project were to encourage people-to-people diplomacy and increased communication and friendship among American and international teachers and student teachers. CMU worked in conjunction with the College of Education, Prasarn Mitr (now Burapha University), Bangkok, Thailand. By 1960, twelve American colleges and various universities in Asia, Europe and Latin America were involved in the Project. The colleges exchanged publications, student papers, documentaries, tapes of musical and cultural events, instructional materials, including children's art, learning materials, and books, and encouraged American and international student teachers to become penpals. Exchange students between the colleges were also encouraged. One Thai student, Mr. Kitti Chanyanada, completed his M.A. at CMU during the 1964-1965 academic year. Arrangements were being made for a second student to come to CMU when funding for CMU's Project work was discontinued in 1966. Professor Heilbronn continued to lead CMU continued Projects efforts for some time after 1966.
In June of 1953, Professor Heilbronn retired from CMU with the status of professor emeritus. She resided at 1315 Ridge Road in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
A member of the Presbyterian Church, she was a devoted worker, first at Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church, Saginaw, and later at First Presbyterian Church, Mount Pleasant.
After a long illness, Professor Heilbronn died at Saginaw General Hospital on March 5, 1968. She was survived by a sister, Miss Bessie Heilbronn, a brother, Marvin Heilbronn, both of Saginaw, six nieces and nephews, and 19 great-nieces and nephews. A memorial fund was established in her honor at CMU. (This information is from her obituary, a copy of which is in the collection, and other collection materials.)