This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to the technical and commercial development of motion pictures. Included are items pertaining to copyright, distribution, royalties, color photography, talking pictures, film pricing, and theatrical and home markets for motion pictures. There are also letters regarding the use of motion pictures for educational purposes, medical and astronomical research, and political campaigns. One letter mentions a conversation between Edison and President Taft about the use of motion pictures in the upcoming presidential election. A note by Edison explains how and when the words kinetoscope, kinetograph, and cinematograph were introduced into America and Europe. Two telegrams refer to gunshot injuries sustained by motion picture pioneer William N. Selig. A letter by William K. L. Dickson concerns his availability as a witness in patent litigation.
Also included are an agreement with the S. S. McClure Co. relating to motion picture rights for stories from McClure's Magazine; an agreement regarding the production of lithographic posters to advertise motion pictures; and a signed statement concerning the involvement of the Eastman Kodak Co. in the commercial development of Edison's Home Projecting Kinetoscope and its ability to supply nonflammable film stock. Some of the documents contain instructions by Edison or questions for his employees, including an exchange with chief engineer Miller Reese Hutchison about the audio and visual recording of ordnance tests for research purposes. Among the correspondents for 1911 are Edison company employees Carl H. Wilson and James W. Farrell; laboratory employees William Walter Dinwiddie and Selden G. Warner, who were hired in 1911 to make educational and scientific films; J. Stuart Blackton of the Vitagraph Co.; author Robert Grau; and Charles R. Miller of the New York Times.
Approximately 80 percent of the documents have been selected. The following categories of documents have not been selected: unsolicited correspondence requesting Edison's advice and assistance on technical and charitable matters or asking for his assistance in improving and promoting inventions; letters of transmittal with attached newspaper clippings; interoffice memoranda that duplicate the information in selected documents; duplicates and variants of selected documents. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.