Edwin was brought up and educated in the Metropolitan Church Association, a Christian community founded by his uncle, which had emerged from the Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1890's. After teaching in the high school for some years, Edwin was sent in 1935 to Great Britain to oversee the Scottish branch of the MCA. A few years later he returned to the US to marry Lillian Johnson whom he brought to Scotland. They remained through the Second World War ministering to people suffering the ravages of war. As principal of a Bible School in Glasgow and editor of a Christian magazine entitled, The Message of Victory, Edwin soon found himself invited to speak in various denominations throughout Britain. This eventually caused a rift between himself and his home church in the States. Influenced by his circumstances and a thorough study of Scripture, he found himself looking beyond many denominational beliefs which he had formerly considered indispensable. His loyalty to a denomination was exchanged for a deeper loyalty to Christ and all believers of whatever background who had experienced the same divine touch from God. This change of viewpoint, however, never altered the deep gratitude which he felt for the early training given him by his denomination and the genuine revival in which he had experienced a profound work of grace. In 1956, Edwin and his family launched out on interdenominational lines and were soon engaged in leading an evangelistic team all over the British Isles. Concurrently, the editing of the Message of Victory led him and his wife to see the importance of deeper-life literature and they were soon collating articles and quotations from a wide range of authors which eventually formed the many compilations which bear their name. Reading Edwin's books, one will encounter many references to British and American authors and lifestyles. This is due to the fact that he was an American who spent many years in Great Britain: over twenty years in Scotland, and over twenty years in England. In 1982, after forty seven years of ministry in Britain, Edwin returned with his family to his native USA and Passed into Life shortly thereafter. Edwin F. Harvey was a man of the Word and of prayer. Above his bed were the words, We will give ourselves to prayer and the ministry. This sense of devotion is apparent in all his writings.
When Edwin and Lillian Harvey were sent to the UK in 1938 as missionaries from their church in America, they doubtless had no idea that posterity would remember them, not so much for their role as directors of a Bible College in Glasgow, or the leaders of an evangelical mission known in England as the M.O.V.E. (Message of Victory Evangelism), but rather as authors of thirty devotional books and the founders of Harvey Christian Publishers, USA. Without extensive topical, textual, and biographical files, however, this small family publishing would never have come into existence. Confined to bed with bronchitis for weeks on end due to the long, damp British winters, Lillian read every Christian magazine and book which came into her possession. Already co-editor with her husband of the bimonthly magazine, The Message of Victory, and always on the lookout for fresh material, she avidly culled any quotations or articles which blessed her heart and filed them methodically away under various topics. Then, one day, Edwin and Lillian were impressed by the following verses from the fortieth Psalm: Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. (Psalms 48:12,13). They visualized Zion's towers as her prophets and watchmen, Zion's bulwarks-her reformers and defenders of the faith, and Zion's palaces-those human dwellings made beautiful and majestic by the presence of the King of kings. This vision materialized into a commission to make these prophets, reformers, and saints known to future generations through the books they would jointly write and compile. Although Edwin and Lillian were originally from a Wesleyan-holiness background, their books are unique in that they span generations, denominations, and nationalities. Take for example their first publication-The Christians' Daily Challenge-which contains gems from their extensive files, arranged by topics such as prayer, the importance of God's Word, the use of suffering in a Christian's life, revival, and many others. Although their compilations differ widely in topic, they were all published with the same goal-to see God's children built up in their faith through the example and writings of past saints. The publishing venture the Harveys began in 1954 became known as MOVE Press with headquarters in Staffordshire, England. They returned to the States in 1981 taking with them over twenty thousand of their books. After many difficulties, they established a small, publishing in the States which eventually became known as Harvey Christian Publishers. In 1983, Edwin passed away leaving Lillian with a dilemma. Already 72 years of age, she asked herself whether she should take her well-earned retirement, or complete the half-finished manuscripts she and her husband had prepared together. Having already begun the Call Back Series, Lillian decided to take the latter course. Desperately missing her husband of forty-five years, tears would course down her cheeks and plop onto the keyboard as she wrote about the loneliness and frustration of God's servants and how He used their suffering to bless multitudes. Lillian compiled and wrote a further seventeen books after becoming a widow. She continued her writing and publishing until the age of ninety.