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The documents in this file cover the years 1870-1929, but most of the items were generated in the nineteenth century. The material for 1899-1910 consists primarily of contracts and agreements, assignments and licenses, powers of attorney, deeds, bonds, and other legal documents. There is also a letterbook covering the years 1908-1916, along with unbound memoranda, correspondence, and financial documents such as bank notes, stock certificates, bills, and receipts. The documents relate primarily to phonographs, ore milling, and batteries, as well as to Edison's personal and corporate finances. Included are agreements and other items pertaining to the Edison Manufacturing Co., Edison Phonograph Works, Edison Portland Cement Co., National Phonograph Co., and other Edison companies. Also included are agreements and other documents concerning the commercial use of Edison's name by Thomas A. Edison, Jr., and others.
Among the documents for 1899 are an agreement with Charles E. Stevens regarding foreign phonograph sales; a contract with William L. Saunders of the Ingersoll-Sargeant Drill Co.; and financial agreements between Edison and investors in the Edison Portland Cement Co. The items for 1900 include statements of Edison's account with the Galisteo Co. for expenses involved in gold ore experiments; an agreement with the American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; and documents pertaining to bond transactions and stock options involving the Edison Phonograph Works and Edison Portland Cement Co.
Also included are profit and loss statements for the Foreign Department of the National Phonograph Co. (1901); documents dealing with the resignation of Charles E. Stevens as Foreign Department manager (1902); statements by Cloyd M. Chapman and Robert A. Bachman regarding an accident at the briquetting oven at the West Orange laboratory (1903); an agreement between Thomas A. Edison, Jr., and his future wife, Beatrice Willard (1905); agreements pertaining to the manufacture of the patent medicine, Edison Polyform (1906-1907); a memorandum by Edison concerning the payment of a $3,000 loan from William E. Gilmore to Frank L. Dyer (1908); documents relating to the ownership and disposition of the stock of the Edison Phonograph Works and International Graphophone Co. (1909-1910); and a 16-page set of "Instructions for Keeping Various Solutions Under Control For the Production of Nickel Flake" for storage batteries (ca. 1910).
The unbound documents in the Miller File were originally filed in envelopes. These envelopes and their contents lacked consistent chronological or topical organization. The folders in the archival record group correspond to the original filing system. A detailed finding aid is available at the Edison National Historical Park. The material selected for publication has been rearranged chronologically.
Approximately 70 percent of the documents for the period 1899-1910 have been selected. The unselected material includes numerous duplicates and variant versions of other documents in the Miller File and elsewhere. Also not selected are agreements and correspondence with users of the Edison Phonoplex System of Telegraphy; routine items pertaining to stock holdings, note transfers, journal entries, and other financial matters; leases and routine property documents; receipts, correspondence, and other items relating to insurance policies; powers of attorney; letters of transmittal and acknowledgment and other non-substantive correspondence; and the envelopes and accompanying summary sheets.