Edna Yost was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and graduated from
Allegheny College in 1913. She taught mathematics and English at Johnstown High School for a few years, and then moved to New York City. There she became an editor for the American Public Health Association and for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She also contributed short stories, articles, and poetry to more than 40 magazines. She wrote for the Dictionary of American Biography as well as several encyclopedias. She published her first collected set of biographical works in 1941 in a volume entitled Modern Americans in Science and Invention, aimed primarily at a younger audience. In 1943, she published the second of her biography collections, American Women of Science. In the 1940s, she teamed up with Lillian M. Gilbreth to write works aimed at helping disabled veterans of World War II. These included Normal Lives for the Disabled (1944), and Straight Talk for Disabled Veterans. Edna later wrote a biography of Lillian and her husband Frank, entitled Frank and Lillian Gilbreth: Partners for Life -- a more balanced view than that contained in the 1948 book written by two of their children, Cheaper by the Dozen.
In 1964, Edna published Women of Modern Science.