[This note covers all of the "Motion Pictures" folders for 1913.]
This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to the technical and commercial development of motion pictures in the United States and other countries. Included are numerous items pertaining to the kinetophone, Edison's system for talking motion pictures, as well as his home kinetoscope. Also included is discussion of the manufacture of motion pictures for theatrical exhibition, educational purposes, and advertising. In addition, there are interoffice communications, minutes from committee meetings, and other administrative documents by executives, managers, experimenters, and employees of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Some of the letters relate to the American Talking Picture Co., Ltd., which lost the American and Canadian rights to Edison’s talking motion pictures during 1913. There is also correspondence regarding negotiations with the Melville Clark Piano Co., which sought the synchronization of motion pictures with player pianos. Several items discuss administrative and personnel changes, including Edison’s decision to allow chief engineer Miller Reese Hutchison to run the kinetophone business. Also included are documents pertaining to procedures for developing, drying, and storing film, along with items concerning the use motion pictures and phonographs in schools.
Among the correspondents for 1913 are Hutchison; Frank L. Dyer, former president of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.; and Charles Schlatter, Edison’s kinetophone installer in Japan. Additional correspondents include Mary Ware Dennett, corresponding secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association; Michael B. Leavitt, author of Fifty Years in Theatrical Management; philanthropist Anne Morgan; Charles A. Munn of the Scientific American; and historian Frederick J. Teggart.
Approximately 50 percent of the documents have been selected. The material not selected includes duplicates, letters of transmittal and acknowledgment, and unsolicited correspondence that received no substantive reply from Edison. Also not selected are weekly reports from the Edison Kinetophone Co. concerning exhibition receipts. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.