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The EGF (1911-1931) is a direct continuation of the Document File that covered the years through 1910. Like the Document File, the EGF is derived from the correspondence records as they were originally maintained by Edison's secretaries. However, there are significant differences in the nomenclature and contents of the folders in the two record groups.
The Document File, selections from which appear in Parts I-IV (1850-1910) of Thomas A. Edison Papers: A Selective Microfilm Edition, was processed by the editors of the Edison Papers according to a set of guidelines for consistent subject classification. Unsolicited correspondence and other unsolicited items outside the mainstream of Edison's business and inventive activities were arranged in a series of "unsolicited" folders. The EGF, by contrast, was processed by archivists at the Edison National Historical Park beginning in the 1990s, who followed much more closely the occasionally idiosyncratic subject classification that existed in the records as arranged by previous archivists. As a result, the names and contents of the folders are not entirely consistent from one year to the next, and some folders that contain a low proportion of selected documents in one year may have a substantially greater proportion in other years.
Furthermore, correspondence on a particular topic may sometimes be spread out over more than one folder in a particular year or arranged in different folders from one year to the next. An example of the latter is the correspondence from 1911-1913 about a law suit arising from Edison's work on automatic telegraphy during the 1870s. The letters for 1911 and 1913 are filed in the "Legal -- Litigation" folder, while those for 1912 can be found in "Telegraph." Similarly, letters to, from, and about Edison's friend Henry Ford can be found not only in the folder called "Ford, Henry" but also in the "Personal" folder and, quite frequently, in several other folders as well. Documents about the annual camping trips in which Edison, Ford, industrialist Harvey Firestone, and naturalist John Burroughs participated during the middle and late 1910s can be found in a folder called "Camping Trip" for 1918, whereas similar items for other years are filed in the "Ford" and "Personal" folders. General folders such as "Edison, T. A.," "Personal," and "West Orange Laboratory" contain a variety of miscellaneous documents which can vary considerably from year to year.
Prior to the 1980s considerable quantities of business records, which were not directly related to Edison nor part of the original files maintained by his secretaries, were processed into the EGF. Many of these extraneous items were removed by archivists during the 1980s and 1990s and reorganized into new record groups such as the Edison Portland Cement Company Records, Edison Storage Battery Company Records, and the records of various divisions of TAE Inc. New record groups were also created for the personal papers of company executives such as Frank L. Dyer and Carl H. Wilson, for Edison's second wife Mina Miller Edison (Edison Family Papers), and for the documents relating to Edison's wartime research and his role as chairman of the Naval Consulting Board.
It should be noted, however, that, along with the routine business documents, there are numerous items authored by Edison or bearing his marginalia in most of the company and divisional record groups, as well as in the Naval Consulting Board Records. Finding aids for these record groups are available from the Edison National Historical Park.
With a few exceptions, the nomenclature used in the EGF archival record group has been retained for the Edison General File Series in the Thomas A. Edison Papers. However, "Edison Portland Cement Company," which appears as a subdivision of "Cement" in the early years of the archival record group and as a main entry in subsequent years, consistently appears in this edition as a main entry. Three closely related folders"Mining," "Metals and Minerals," and "Ore Milling"that are separated by the "Motion Pictures" folder in the archival record group have been brought together in this edition as "Mining -- General," "Mining -- Metals and Other Minerals," and "Mining -- Ore Milling." In addition, subdivisions have been created for the 1911 and 1912 "West Orange Laboratory" folders, which are much larger and more variegated than for subsequent years. For example, the letters and reports that were written to keep Edison informed about laboratory and company operations while he was vacationing in Florida in March-April 1912 appear in this edition in a separate folder entitled "West Orange Laboratory and Associated Companies -- Letters and Reports to Edison."