In Memoriam

Edith Moore Sprouse
February 15, 1923 January 30, 2004

Having an honored Northern Virginia historian like Edith Sprouse on its inaugural Board of Directors was a stamp of approval for the Franconia Museum in 2001. She brought instant recognition and respect for a local historic effort that otherwise would have been dwarfed by more acclaimed area groups and museums. As a contributor, organizer and supporter of many such organizations, Edith realized the importance of home-town history. She had written many books about Northern Virginia history, chaired the Fairfax County History Commission, organized efforts to preserve important documents and led the fight to preserve numerous historic sites. In addition, she was a member of the Northern Virginia Association for History and the Alexandria Historical Society. The Rare Book Room at the Kate Waller Barrett branch of the Alexandria Library is named in her honor.  An avid knitter who produced hundreds of hats and mittens for the needy, Sprouse also stitched together catalogues of artifacts and information at Gunston Hall, the Stabler-Leadbeater Aprthecary museum in Alexandria and an index of 1860 Fairfax County that resulted in a map that shows the owner of each piece of property in the County during that time. Her speciality was eastern Fairfax County, so her interest in the origins of the Franconia Museum was no surprise. Edith lived in Hollin Hills section of Mount Vernon. She already had published books about nearby Mount Air, Colchester and Life along the Potomac River. Her first book, entitled “Potomac Sampler,” was published in 1961. One of her early accomplishments was to convince local and state leaders to move the Dranesville Tavern out of harm’s way when Route 7 was widened in the late 1960s. The restored tavern is now a Fairfax County park adjacent to the road near the Fairfax-Loudoun line. Born in Scranton, PA, she earned a geology degree from Wellesley College in 1945 and later worked for the Army Map Service, creating maps from photos. James M. Sprouse, Edith’s husband of 47 years, died in 1995. They had three children.