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The fourteen books in this set cover the years 1876-1912. The clippings in six of the scrapbooks relate primarily to Edison and his inventions during the years 1876-1893. These clippings are part of a numbered set. The numbers run from 1 through 2508. Most of the clippings in the first book deal with Edison's telephone and phonograph. Beginning with the second book, almost all of the clippings relate to Edison's work on electric lighting. The sixth book also contains a few clippings pertaining to other topics such as the opening of Edison's West Orange laboratory, his work on ore milling, and the development of his improved phonograph. There also a scrapbook with letters and cables from 1881-1882 relating to the Paris Electrical Exhibition of 1881 and to electric lighting in Europe. Four books have not been selected: a scrapbook of engravings relating to the Paris Electrical Exhibition of 1881 (Cat. 1313); and three scrapbooks from 1886-1889 containing prices and specifications for Edison's dynamos (Cat. 1312, 1314, 1349). Three additional scrapbooks with clippings dating from the 1890s and 1900s (Cat. 1346, Cat. 1246, and Cat. 1328) can be found in Thomas A. Edison Papers: A Selective Microfilm Edition, Part IV (1899-1910), reel 227.
The contents of the selected scrapbooks have not been presented in their entirety. Many scrapbooks contain oversize clippings that cannot be completely unfolded without obscuring other clippings. Moreover, it is not uncommon for many successive pages in a technical journal to be pasted onto a single scrapbook page. Each scrapbook page has been reproduced at least once, in such a manner as to convey the greatest amount of bibliographic and substantive information about the clippings on the page. Substantive clippings that are directly concerned with Edison and his inventive or business activities have been reproduced in their entirety. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.