Before coming to New York, Edelmann had worked as a draughtsman for the Chicago architects William LeBaron Jenney and Dankmar Adler. It was Edelmann who introduced the young Louis Sullivan to Adler, with whom he formed a partnership. The late Prof. Donald Egbert of Princeton indicates that Edelmann came to New York in 1886 to work in the mayoral campaign of Henry George, the most influential proponent of the "Single Tax" on land, also known as the land value tax. Edelmann worked in the offices of Alfred Zucker from 1891 to 1893. The Socialist Labor Party expelled him for his outspoken anarchist ideas, and so he and a group of anarchists founded a Socialist League in 1892. He was on hand to welcome the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin on his first lecture tour in America; Kropotkin stayed in the Edelmann apartment on East 96th Street during his stay. Edelmann had married Rachelle Krimont, an Eastern European immigrant whose family were radicals. In 1893 he and other radicals published an anarchist journal Solidarity, and after it folded his contributed articles to The Rebel, published in Boston. These activities brought him into the circle of the eminent American anarchist and writer Emma Goldman.
Edelmann died during the deadly heat wave of July 1900. After his death his widow took their children to England, and brought them up at Whiteway Colony.