Edith Ann Proctor was born in Eccleshill, Bradford, and was raised by her aunts.
She married blind musician Frederic Charles Key in 1891. The couple had two sons:
Edith was the first secretary of the Huddersfield branch of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and her minute books for the period May 1907 to February 1909 are held by West Yorkshire Archive Service.
During 1913 and 1914, the Key's home was used to hide suffragettes who were evading the authorities under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913 — better known as the Cat and Mouse Act — including Adela Pankhurst.