Born in Oakland, California, Edith Hamlin grew up there and in Santa Cruz, and became a painter of Western landscape, murals, and occasionally portraits.
As a child, she accompanied her father, Charles Hamlin, on sketching trips in the Santa Cruz region. She later attended the California School of Fine Arts from 1922 to 1924 on a scholarship. She established a career in San Francisco, but that was interrupted by illness and living in San Diego until 1928. From 1929 to 1932, she attended Columbia University Teacher's College in New York City and did free lance decorating and taught art classes.
On a return visit to California in 1930 she stopped in Taos, New Mexico, which give her new perspectives into western landscape and had much influence on her subsequent work.
In San Francisco, she established a studio, married artist Albert Barrows, and became one of twenty-six artists selected by the Public Works Art Project to decorate Coit Tower and also did murals for Mission High School. She divorced Barrows in 1936 and in 1937, married Maynard Dixon, who had given her much valuable advice on mural painting when she served as his assistant.
In 1939, they moved to Tucson, Arizona where, until his death in 1946, they painted western scenes from locations in Arizona and Utah, where they maintained a summer home at Mt. Carmel. She did murals of the Grand Canyon and Taos Pueblo for the Santa Fe Railroad. After her husband's death, she continued to live in both Arizona and Utah, but returned to San Francisco in 1953, having married Frank Dale in 1951. However, he died shortly after the marriage. In California as a widow, she worked from a hilltop home studio and completed numerous murals and landscapes and restored murals by Maynard Dixon. She died on February 18, 1992.
Her subject matter of her easel and mural paintings was wide ranging, reflecting her many travels in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California and Mexico.