Edwin Jordan entered the civil service of the Cape Colony on 25 September 1890 as assistant clerk and issuer at the Port Alfred Asylum. He was promoted to clerk and storekeeper at the asylum in January 1894, received a fixed appointment on 1 December 1898, and was re-appointed as clerk and storekeeper at the asylum on 10 July 1903. He still held this post in 1910, but was no longer listed as a civil servant in the Union of South Africa in 1914.
He was probably the same person as E. Knowles Jordan, a retired civil servant of Port Alfred, who supplemented his pension by making up collections of local shells for sale to museums (Kilburn & Rippey, 1982, p. 20a). He was a collector of note, and the species Pholas jordani and Diala jordani (both since renamed) were named after him. Barnard (1965) describes him as E. Jordan, civil servant and shell collector, who retired to Port Alfred.
Mr E. Knowles Jordan of Port Alfred also collected birds' eggs, for in 1911 he presented a series of 121 eggs collected in the Eastern Cape to the Albany Museum, Grahamstown.