These items cover the years 1856-1924 and consist of a variety of document types. Documents pertaining to the early part of Edison's life include an 1862 membership certificate for the library of the Detroit Young Men's Society; agreements with James N. Ashley, Joel H. Hills, William E. Plummer, and Samuel W. Ropes, Jr., for the use of his telegraph patents; and a cost estimate by Edison for the construction of a telegraph line.
The documents from the 1880s relate primarily to the development of local Edison illuminating companies. Included is an 1882 drawing of the Pearl Street central station in New York City. Also included are annotated legal agreements pertaining to Wilson S. Howell's establishment in 1885 of a local illuminating company in New Brunswick, New Jersey; financial reports for 1886 from twenty-two illuminating companies in nine states; an 1887 list of central station illuminating companies; and an 1888 estimate, prepared by George H. Moseman, for an electric lighting system. In addition, there are minutes from an 1889 meeting of the Standardizing Bureau of the Edison Electric Light Co. discussing Howell's experience in grounding the neutral wire in his New Brunswick station.
Documents relating to Edison's later career include a 1911 letter to the Anderson Electric Car Co. and a 1914 report by A.W. Almquist on testing an electric lighting system for use in Ford cars. Also included are letters from 1918-1924 exchanged between Stephen B. Mambert, financial executive of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., and Ernest G. Liebold, secretary to Henry Ford. They refer to money lent by Ford to Edison and to the overall financial health of the Edison companies. Consolidated balance sheets and other financial data appear as attachments to these letters. (Similar balance sheets can be found in Series I: Thomas A. Edison-Henry Ford Office Correspondence (1921-1923).)
In addition, there are several deeds involving Edison and his father, Samuel Edison, that relate to property owned in Michigan; a circular from 1921advertising the Edison Electric Safety Mine Lamp; and an undated plan of a workshop, which may represent Edison's laboratory in Fort Myers, Florida, during the later 1920s. Courtesy of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village Research Center.