[Approximately 475 letters were added to this collection in January 2010; two letters were added in 2012.]
These documents consist primarily of letters, telegrams, and postcards from Theodore Miller Edison (1898-1992) to his mother, Mina Miller Edison. Also included are a few letters addressed to Thomas Edison or addressed jointly to Mina and Thomas, some letters from Mina to Theodore, and a small number of letters to and from other relatives and non-family members. The dated items cover the years 1907-1932, but there are also undated and partially dated letters. Some of the letters are written jointly by Theodore Edison and Ann Osterhout Edison (1901-1993), whom he married in April 1925. Additional letters by Ann Edison can be found elsewhere in the Charles Edison Fund Collection.
Among the earliest items are a series of letters and postcards written during the summer of 1909 while Theodore was attending Camp Pasquaney in Bridgewater, New Hampshire. Also included are report cards from Dearborn-Morgan School and Montclair Academy, along with letters from John George MacVicar, headmaster of Montclair Academy, and other items relating to Theodore's early education. There are 43 letters, written during the period February-May 1918, which pertain to wartime research conducted by Theodore and others at Man Key, an island in the Florida Keys near the U.S. Naval Station in Key West, where Thomas Edison and his assistants were conducting their own experiments for the U.S. Navy. Another 27 letters relate to an automobile trip through the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, which Theodore took in September 1919 shortly before enrolling in the Massachusetts Institution of Technology.
Theodore's four undergraduate years at MIT are documented in 222 letters that provide a detailed account of his academic and social life at the university. Another 27 letters pertain to his trip to Alaska and Canada during the summer of 1923. One letter describes a visit to the Miles and Childs glaciers with President Warren G. Harding and his entourage just two weeks before the president's sudden death. There are 55 letters documenting Theodore's year of graduate work at MIT (1923-1924); his introduction to Ann Osterhout, a Vassar student who was the daughter of a Harvard University professor; and their brief courtship, which culminated in a formal engagement announcement in July 1924.
The remaining 103 documents deal primarily with Theodore's work for Thomas A. Edison, Inc. (TAE Inc.), where he served as technical director of research and engineering at the West Orange laboratory. Many of these letters relate to the efforts of TAE Inc. to enter the radio business. Of particular interest is a handwritten memorandum, probably dating from 1929 or 1930, regarding the design, testing, and marketing of radios manufactured by TAE Inc. There are occasional remarks about other subjects, some of which appear to be in the hand of Ann Edison. The memorandum consists of 28 numbered pages, along with nine unnumbered pages containing comments written on the backs of pages 1, 4, 5, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, and 28.
Other topics discussed in the letters include Theodore's honeymoon with Ann in Scandanavia; his relationship with industrialist Henry Ford; his visits with the family of longtime Edison associate Francis Upton and with inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr., the son of an early Edison associate; his misgivings about the Edison scholarship contest; the reaction of TAE Inc. to the Great Depression; Theodore's decision in 1931 to leave TAE Inc. and organize his own company, Calibron Products, Inc.; and the administration of Thomas Edison's estate.
The letters are primarily from Books #15 and #25 on the Charles Edison Fund microfilm. Except for a few fragmentary items, newspaper clippings, and other documents not authored by Theodore Edison, all of the documents through 1931 (the year of Thomas Edison's death) have been selected. One additional letter is from a book, not on the microfilm, bearing the title "Dear Charles Edison's Letters: Grandparents, Sisters/Brothers, Aunts/Uncles, Cousins, Friends' Letters."
Click here for a list of all the correspondence books on the microfilm. Click here for a list of boxes with correspondence not on the microfilm. Five additional letters from Theodore Edison to his grandmother Mary Valinda Miller and other Miller family members can be found in the Family Records Series in Part IV and Part V of the Thomas A. Edison Papers microfilm edition. A few other items by and about Theodore Edison can be found in the David E. E. Sloane Collection. Courtesy of the Charles Edison Fund.