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This collection contains printed documents issued by both Edison and non-Edison companies. Although the bulk of the material consists of promotional brochures, there are also official reports, instruction manuals, catalogs, lists of equipment and devices, and reprints of scholarly papers. The items selected indicate specifications for, or improvements in, various Edison products; provide instructions for their sale or use; describe unusual promotions; exemplify strategies for marketing; or document the commercial activities of Edison's employees, business partners, and subsidiaries. Other printed promotional material can be found in the National Phonograph Company Records, Edison Storage Battery Company Records, and other record groups in the Company Records Series.
In addition to publishing occasional brochures, most of Edison's companies issued serial publications. These included a succession of phonograph-related serials published by the National Phonograph Co. and the Edison Business Phonograph Co.The Phonogram, The New Phonogram, Edison Phonograph Monthly, and Tipsas well as The Kinetogram, issued by the Edison Manufacturing Co., and The Edison Aggregate, published by the Edison Portland Cement Co. Sample issues of each publication have been selected with the exception of Tips and the Edison Phonograph Monthly, for which longer runs have been selected in order to include news, feature stories, and promotional material about Edison and his products.
Approximately 10 percent of the documents have been selected. The selected items are listed in the accompanying bibliography. The unselected material consists mainly of promotional brochures that provide routine information about the Edison product being advertised; most publications by non-Edison companies; and duplicate copies of selected items. In addition, film catalogs and phonograph record catalogs have generally not been selected. The film catalogs can be found in Thomas A. Edison Papers Microfilm Edition: Motion Picture Catalogs by American Producers and Distributors, 1894-1908. The information contained in the record catalogs is available in Allen Koenigsberg, Edison Cylinder Records, 1889-1912, 2nd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: APM Press, 1987) and similar publications.
The documents are arranged in three groups: (1) Printed Material -- Edison Companies; (2) Printed Material -- Non-Edison Companies; and (3) Serial Publications. Within each group, the items are organized alphabetically by company and then chronologically.