[Two documents were added in September 2009: (1) a typewritten copy of Edison's last will and testament, dated February 1, 1926; (2) a codicil to the last will and testament, dated July 30, 1931. Among the documents not selected is a letter from Adolfo de la Pena Gil to Madeleine Edison Sloane, dated February 27, 1957, enclosing a typewritten copy of his article in "The Theosophist" regarding Thomas Edison's supposed Mexican birth.]
These documents consist of dated items covering the years 1885-1931, along with undated material primarily from 1894-1898. Most of the letters are by Edison and are addressed to his wife, Mina Miller Edison. There is also correspondence by Mina, her children Charles and Madeleine, and non-family members. At the beginning of the folder is a communication from Edison to Lewis Miller asking his daughter's hand in marriage, along with the engraved wedding invitation. There are numerous references to Edison's work schedule and daily activities, including production difficulties and working conditions at the iron ore separation plant in Ogden, New Jersey, along with occasional references to x-rays, lamp filaments, kinetoscopes, and phonographs. Also included are comments pertaining to Edison's paternal and spousal roles and to events relating to the Miller family such as the death of Mina's brother, Theodore W Miller, in July 1898 and the death of her sister, Jane Miller Marvin, in November 1898.
In addition, there are items pertaining to the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; Mina Edison's activities at Fort Myers, Florida, and the U.S. Naval Station in Key West in 1918; the financial situation of Madeleine Sloane; and Charles Edison's involvement with the radio business. A December 1929 letter to Edison from Charles Sumner Williams, vice president of Edison Industries and former classmate of Charles Edison at MIT, urges the inventor to "trust" and "have confidence" in his son. "If you force him to obey you, he is through. He is in a condition of such despair that I am actually afraid of suicide."
Note: The letter from Madeleine Sloane requesting financial assistance from her father is dated April 4, 1923, although it was probably mailed after that date. Photocopies of pages 1 and 5, along with the 2-page response that Edison wrote on the back of Madeleine's letter, can be found in the Swann Galleries, Inc. Collection. Pages 2-4 can be found in the Charles Edison Fund Collection. For the sake of completeness, the full letter has been published in both collections. Courtesy of Swann Galleries