This folder contains correspondence and other items relating to Edison's well-known interest in submarines and antisubmarine warfare during World War I. The documents consist primarily of unsolicited suggestions from the general public about how to defeat submarines. The selected items for 1917 include a report on submarine detection by Willis R. Whitney, research director for General Electric and member of the Naval Consulting Board. Also included is a letter from Texas cotton buyer Nathan S. Sodekson enclosing a receipt for a bushel of peaches along with his suggestion about how "to destroy the submarines, the kaiser's pet, and thus . . . set the masses of the German people free the same as we freed the negroes in this country." In addition, there are interoffice communications from personal business secretary Richard W. Kellow regarding Edison's use of a clippings bureau to obtain newspaper articles about submarines.
Approximately 30 percent of the documents have been selected. None of the unselected letters received a substantive response from Edison; some are marked "nut" or "squirrel."
Most of Edison's correspondence concerning submarines can be found in the Naval Consulting Board and Wartime Research Papers, Special Collections Series. Similar documents also exist in other folders of the 1917 Edison General File. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.