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The selected documents in this series consist primarily of letters to and from Edisonâ€™s second wife, Mina Miller Edison. There are also some items by Thomas Edison, including draft telegrams and marginalia on incoming correspondence and interoffice communications. In addition, there are numerous letters authored by or sent to Mina Edison's secretaries and their counterparts at the West Orange laboratory, including Alice Brooks, Helen Dixon, Charles Haas, Richard W. Kellow, William H. Meadowcroft, Harry F. Miller, and Katharine Righter.
Much of the early correspondence relates to the affairs of the Miller family, particularly in regard to the estate of Mary Valinda Miller, who died in October 1912. The correspondents include Mina's sisters Grace Miller Hitchcock and Mary Miller Nichols, her brothers Edward, Ira, John, and Lewis Miller, and her sister-in-law Louise Igoe Miller, as well as attorneys and investment counselors. There are also numerous items pertaining to the Miller family's longstanding interest in the Chautauqua Institution, which was co-founded by Mina's father, Lewis Miller. Some of the letters concern the maintenance of Glenmont, the Edison home in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey, and Seminole Lodge, the family's winter home in Fort Myers, Florida. A 7-page essay written in 1929 expresses Mina's "mixed feelings" about the movement of the Menlo Park laboratory to Henry Ford's Greenfield Village.
In addition to the correspondence by family members, there is a series of fourteen letters covering the period 1910-1917 from naturalist and family friend John Burroughs. Also included are letters from clubs, societies, and other organizations in which Mina was involved; requests for financial assistance; appeals to influence her husband; and thank-you notes.
Approximately 40 per cent of the correspondence for the years 1911-1931 has been selected. All of the letters containing information directly related to Thomas and Mina Edison and their children have been selected, as have numerous other letters documenting significant events in the Edison and Miller families or shedding light on the personalities of family members. Among the documents not selected are routine letters pertaining to the purchase of household items, clothing, and domestic services; solicitations and acknowledgments of annual dues and charitable donations; requests for loans; and letters that duplicate the information in selected items.
In addition to the correspondence, the Edison Family record group at the Edison National Historical Park contains diaries, appointment books, address books, scrapbooks, financial documents, genealogical records, newspaper and magazine articles, and other printed material. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.