This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to employees in Edison's laboratory and factories, as well as prospective employees and individuals who had worked for Edison in the past. Among the items for 1918 are letters requesting Edison to write recommendations for employees, former employees, and others wishing to join the armed forces or seeking a civilian position with the U.S. government. Also included are documents pertaining to labor unrest at the Edison Storage Battery Co. (ESBCo) plant, which resulted in the resignation or termination of Vice President and General Manager Robert A. Bachman, and to the resignation of Carl H. Wilson, longtime vice president and general manager of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., for health reasons.
In addition, there are items relating to a sexual harassment complaint against employee William Sniffens, which resulted in his termination, and to Edison's refusal to hire female chemists. Among the several letters from former employees in the armed forces is one from chemist Edwin Smith, Jr., describing his service with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. There is also a reference to the disappearance and presumed death of Lt. Charles Wallace ("Happy") Drew, whose plane was shot down in France a few weeks before the end of the war. Other employees and former employees mentioned in the documents include the late William G. Bee, E. Rowland Dawson, William Deans, Absalom M. Kennedy, William H. Knierim, William J. Lockhart, Paul D. Payne, John J. Riley, George F. Scull, R. H. Simpson, B. H. Stahle, and Henry G. Wolfe. At the end of the folder is an undated set of instructions prepared by Edison for his son Charles regarding reductions in the battery production work force.
Approximately 20 percent of the documents have been selected. The unselected items consist primarily of requests for positions as singers, motion picture actors, experimenters, inventors, and chemists, along with requests for letters of reference for placement with a government agency or business. Almost all of these received a form-letter reply. Also not selected are job applications bearing routine Edison marginalia stating that there were no openings; routine internal administrative correspondence; inquiries about a false news story that Edison was hiring large numbers of returned soldiers; and personal correspondence by Edison's secretaries. In addition, there are numerous typed and handwritten lists of ESBCo workers with comments about their ages, addresses, and eligibility for the military draft. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.