[This note covers the entire Vouchers & Attached Correspondence Series.]
The archives of the Edison National Historical Park contain an extensive series of vouchers recording the payment of bills and other expenditures by Edison. In addition to the bills themselves, supplementary documents were often attached to the vouchers. Incoming correspondence, notes by Edison, and other material similar to that found in the Document File frequently appear in this series. The documents relate to the technical and commercial development of the electric light, the phonograph, motion pictures, and most of the other technologies in which Edison was involved during the period 1887-1898. There are also items pertaining to the construction and equipping of the West Orange laboratory and to Edison's personal affairs, including his charitable contributions and his memberships in clubs and societies. Some of the material concerns legal matters such as the settlement of the case of Welch v. Edison and a bet between Edison and Richard N. Dyer regarding the outcome of the "filament case." There is also a lengthy memorandum regarding services rendered by the firm of Dyer & Eaton in the case of Edison v. Gilliland and Tomlinson. In addition, there are letters and other documents pertaining to the estate of Mary Stilwell Edison; debts owed by Samuel Edison; payments made to Samuel's companion, James Symington; a loan to Simeon O. Edison; and other family matters.
The vouchers are organized according to a sequential "record number." The numbers begin anew at the start of each year. Most of the vouchers are signed or initialed by Edison's bookkeeper, John F. Randolph, indicating that the invoice was approved for payment. The page of the journal into which the account was posted is also frequently noted.
The documents appear in the edition in two subseries: (1) vouchers containing substantive correspondence and other significant attachments; and (2) vouchers pertaining to Edison's early work on motion pictures (1888-1894). Included in the first group are letters by architects Henry Hudson Holly and Joseph F. Taft, along with bills, receipts, promissory notes, and other documents relating to the establishment of the West Orange laboratory. Within each subseries, the vouchers appear in record-number order. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.