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The nine scrapbooks in this series primarily cover the years 1880-1886. Four scrapbooks contain clippings from newspapers and technical journals relating to the business and technical aspects of electric lighting and the electric railroad. Another contains typewritten transcriptions of local newspaper reports, editorials, and advertisements concerning the exhibition of Edison's inventions at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, on May 1-2, 1884. Also included is a scrapbook of correspondence and other documents pertaining to Edison's work on electric railroads, particularly the experimental railroad built at Menlo Park. Another scrapbook consists of canvassing reports from Alfred O. Tate to Charles Batchelor regarding central stations in Michigan and Canada. Finally, there are two scrapbooks containing messages transmitted at the Paris Electrical Exhibition of 1881 by an autographic telegraph invented by Edison and Patrick Kenny. All of the books have been selected except for the two books of telegraph messages.
The contents of the seven selected scrapbooks have not been reproduced in their entirety. Some of the 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 selected in their entirety.