Edwin J. Neumann, a former State Department cultural attache who retired from the federal Education Department, where he was involved in competitive teaching grants, died Sept. 5 at his home in Bethesda. He was 90.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Mary Neumann.

Dr. Neumann was English department chairman at the American University of Beirut before joining the State Department as a cultural attache in 1956. His assignments included Bombay (now Mumbai); Linz and Vienna, Austria; Kano, Nigeria; and West Berlin.

He left the Foreign Service in 1972 and worked for the Office of Higher Education at what became the Department of Education. He helped decide on funding for grants affecting innovative programs for higher education. He retired in 1990.

Edwin Julius Neumann was a native of Clinton, Iowa, and a 1944 graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He received a master’s degree in 1947 and doctorate in 1951, both in American literature from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

He volunteered for the past 15 years with Learning Ally, a nonprofit group that supports students with disabilities.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Mary Mackey Neumann of Bethesda; two sons, Paul Neumann of Denver and Chris Neumann of Richmond, Ky.; and five grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein