Edward Godwin was the only son of Beatrix and E. W. Godwin; he was thus JW's step-son. He never married.
Beatrix and Edward (then aged eleven) were left in straightened circumstances when E. W. Godwin died in 1886. JW circulated a petition to raise money for the family and joined a group led by the Duke of Argyll and the poet Lord Tennyson who campaigned successfully for Beatrix to receive a pension from the civil list. Edward Godwin seems to have been an occasional messenger and assistant to JW. JW took him and his own son Charles Hanson to the Wild West Show in London in 1887 (see Ship (M.1146), r.: and v.: Eagle (M.1147.)).
JW later asked the sculptor Alfred Stevens to supervise Edward Godwin's studies. Edward became a sculptor; his works include the bronze angels on the Whistlers' tomb in Chiswick churchyard, and a portrait of Ronald Murray Philip (his uncle) that is in the family collection.
MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; MacDonald, Margaret F., Beatrice Whistler Artist and Designer, Glasgow, 1997.