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Special Collections Series -- Charles Batchelor Collection:

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The Charles Batchelor Collection, which covers the years 1871-1912, contains the personal, laboratory, and business records of Edison's principal assistant, Charles Batchelor (1845-1910). Batchelor's papers were donated to the Edison National Historical Park over the period 1957-1961 by his daughter, Emma Batchelor. Also included in the donation were letters and other documents relating to various members of Batchelor's family, including his wife, Rosanna, and his daughter, Emma. Most of the material relating directly to Batchelor's association with Edison has been selected. The documents appear in the following order: (1) Journals; (2) Notebooks; (3) Patents; (4) Unbound Documents; (5) Letterbooks; (6) Accounts; (7) Scrapbooks.

Journals. The eight books in this set contain a daily record of Batchelor's personal and professional activities during much of the period between 1877 and 1908. The entries in the first four books cover the years 1877-1878, 1883, and 1886-1892 and deal extensively with Edison, his inventions, and his businesses. These books have been reproduced in their entirety. The remaining books date from the period 1898-1908, after Batchelor left Edison's employ. Included in one of these books are reminiscences by Batchelor about several of Edison's principal inventions. The last book contains notes by Batchelor about his childhood—the first part of an unfinished autobiography. Except for the reminiscences about Edison, the material in these books has not been selected.

Notebooks. The eighteen books in this set contain notes and drawings relating to experiments conducted by Batchelor, Edison, and others during the years 1874-1909. Fifteen books relate directly to work performed for Edison. All of these books have been selected, with the exception of one book from the 1890s recording routine ore assays for Edison's mining operations. Three other notebooks have not been selected: two books from the early 1880s (not by Batchelor) containing tests of French storage batteries and comparisons of Edison's electric lighting system with other systems; and one personal notebook containing notes and experiments by Batchelor from 1889 through 1905.

Patents. Included in this series is one volume of Edison's British patents (1872-1880) and one volume of Edison's U.S. patents (1869-1879). Also included are numerous unbound patents issued to Edison, Batchelor, and other inventors. Only the volume of Edison's British patents has been selected.

Unbound Documents. These documents cover the years 1871-1910 and consist of correspondence, technical notes, agreements, accounts, and other items relating primarily to Batchelor's work with Edison. Most of the material concerns Batchelor's activities during the 1880s as manager of the Edison electric light interests in France (1881-1884) and as manager of the Edison Machine Works (1884-1888). A few documents pertain to Batchelor's work as Edison's principal laboratory assistant and to the operations of the Edison Phonograph Works. Batchelor's family correspondence, along with documents relating to the period after he left Edison's employ, have not been selected.

Letterbooks. The six books in this set cover the years 1875-1890 and contain copies of Batchelor's personal and business correspondence. Many of the letters discuss Edison, his inventions, and his businesses.

Accounts. The three books in this set cover the years 1878-1893 and contain Batchelor's personal accounts. Only one book, which includes Batchelor's accounts with Edison, has been selected.

Scrapbooks. The fourteen books in this set cover the years 1876-1912. The clippings in six of the scrapbooks relate primarily to Edison and his inventions during the years 1876-1893. Another scrapbook contains correspondence from the years 1881-1882. Four books have not been selected: a scrapbook of engravings and three scrapbooks containing prices and specifications for Edison's dynamos. Three additional scrapbooks with clippings dating from the 1890s and 1900s can be found in Thomas A. Edison Papers: A Selective Microfilm Edition, Part IV (1899-1910), reel 227.

In addition, the Batchelor Collection contains a number of miscellaneous manuscripts, printed documents, photographs, and artifacts. Included among this miscellaneous material are photograph albums, portraits of Batchelor and Edison, an autograph collection, and a stamp collection. The artifact collection includes several light bulbs, numerous medals, and a bronze bust of Edison. The printed material consists primarily of trade catalogs, litigation records (reproduced elsewhere in this edition), and a few newspaper and journal articles.

Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.

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