Edward Kidder Graham Jr., son of Edward Kidder and Susan Moses Graham, was born in Chapel Hill on January 31, 1911. He was a member of a prominent educational family, as his father served as president of the University of North Carolina during World War I and his uncle, Frank Porter Graham, was president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina for a number of years.
Both of Graham's parents died while he was a boy, and he was raised by his aunt and uncle, Mildred Moses and Louis Graves, founder and publisher of the Chapel Hill Weekly. Graham attended public schools in Chapel Hill and secondary school at the Asheville School for Boys and Woodberry Forest School in Orange, Virginia. Graham earned a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina in 1933 and a master's degree in medieval history in l934. He received a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University in l938.
Graham began his professional career at Cornell as assistant to the president. In 1940 he was appointed acting secretary and then from 1941 to 1947 served as secretary of the university. He then served as assistant dean and dean of faculties at Washington University until l950, when he was unanimously selected as chancellor of The Woman's College of The University of North Carolina (now The University of North Carolina at Greensboro).
Upon leaving Woman's College in l956, Graham became dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Boston University. In l962 he was appointed vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Denver. The following year he became president of the College Association of the Finger Lakes in New York, resigning in July l964 to become dean of the faculty at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. In l965 he became consultant to the president at Hampton Institute in Virginia, where he remained until 1971. He served as consultant in international studies at State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany from 1971-1972. He died in Elsmere, New York, on March 13, 1976.