Jonathan was the fifth in a direct line bearing the name of the distinguished theologian. He was graduated from Yale in 1863 and then attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons (now a part of Columbia University) from which institution he received his degree of M.D. in 1867. His graduation coincided almost with the death of his mother and the serious illness of his father, whose companion he became until the latter's death in 1875. Consequently, he did not actively engage in the practice of medicine. As a boy he became interested in coins and soon assembled a large and valuable collection. After his father's death he became curator of the Yale College Numismatic Collection, and in 1880 published a catalogue of the coins there, with critical analysis and description. For their honeymoon, Mr. Edwards and his wife took a European trip and while in Italy he contracted Roman fever which so undermined his constitution that he never regained his normal health and the last few years of his life were spent in a sanitarium at New Haven (New York Genealogical & Biographical Record, vol. xcii, no. 2, April 1961, pg. 84).