This folder contains correspondence and other documents concerning Edison's charitable contributions, financial assistance, and donations of equipment. Some of the letters relate to the Liberty Loan drive and to war relief efforts. Also included are letters pertaining to social, educational, and health-related causes; industrial organizations; orphans; and relatives of former employees. In addition to requests for financial support, there are also solicitations for ticket or literature purchases and for phonograph donations. Among the items for 1918 is a letter from New York Edison Co. president John W. Lieb informing Edison that an Italian war ambulance had been purchased in his name by an American poets' organization. Also included are letters from Edison associate Schuyler S. Wheeler regarding the Double Duty Finger Guild, an organization of blind workers at the Crocker-Wheeler Co. in Ampere, New Jersey.
In addition, there is letter from Emil Pierne, an inmate at the state prison in Dannemora, New York, interested in the study of electricity, along with a marginal notation by Edison instructing his staff to send Pierne his personal copy of Henry M. Noad's Manual of Electricity (1855). A letter from the son of the late Dr. Henry Morton bears Edison's characterization of the former president of the Stevens Institute for Technology as "my worst enemy" who "did every thing possible he could for the gas Cos to make it hard for me to introduce the Electric Light." A comment by Charles Edison, in response to a solicitation from the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, opines that organized charity "brings on more wretchedness than it releaves."
Approximately 10 percent of the documents have been selected. The unselected items include letters marked no answer, as well as those receiving routine replies stating that Edison could not attend to the request. Also not selected are items relating to Charles Edison's role as chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee for West Orange. Some of the unselected letters bear marginalia by William H. Meadowcroft or Richard W. Kellow regarding Edison's history of contributions to the organization. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.