[This folder has not been completely edited. Letters are currently being added, and documents identified as "to be edited" may not have images or complete database information.]
These letters consist primarily of correspondence from William Leslie Edison (1878-1937) to his father, Thomas A. Edison, and his stepmother, Mina Miller Edison. There are also letters by Blanche Travers Edison (1879-1946), whom William married in 1899, along with some letters signed jointly by William and Blanche. The dated items cover the years 1890-1931, but there are also numerous undated and partially dated letters. Many of the recently added letters relate to William's education at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire (1890-1893), Trinity Preparatory School in Staten Island (1894-1897), and Yale University (1897-1898). A letter from February 1900 mentions the recent death of Thomas Edisonâ€™s sister, Marion Wallace Page.
The correspondence also includes references to Williamâ€™s troubled relationship with his father and stepmother, resulting in part from his marriage to Blanche Travers; his efforts to allay his parents' concern about Blanche's character and social status; his attempts (largely unsuccessful) to secure financial assistance from his father to promote his business career; his move to a farm in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1913; his service in England and France as a sergeant in the U.S. Army's Tank Corps during World War I; his move to Delaware in the mid-1920s; and his construction of a home near Wilmington with financial assistance from Thomas Edison. There are also references to recurrent health problems involving both William and Blanche and to William's successful efforts to obtain patents for his improvements in the radio. In a letter from February 1931, William requests assistance from his father to pay off his creditors, while commenting that "I have but the slightest hope you will help me out, due to the feeling that you have evidently formed an intense dislike towards me."
All of the letters by William Edison have been selected, with the exception of the letters published elsewhere in the Family Records Series of the Thomas A. Edison Papers digital and microfilm editions (see below). Also selected is a letter by Blanche Edison from August 1931 relating to Thomas Edison's final illness, along with a reply from Mina Edison's secretary. Other letters by Blanche Edison have not been selected.
The letters are primarily from Books #14 on the Charles Edison Fund microfilm. However, there are also a few letters from Books #11, #16, #29, #30, and #36. Click here for a list of all the correspondence books on the CEF microfilm. In addition to the letters presented here, 113 letters and other documents originally in the CEF Collection can be found in the Family Records Series in Parts III, IV, and V of the Thomas A. Edison Papers digital and microfilm editions. Other letters by William Edison, several relating to his service in the Spanish-American War, can be found in the David E. E. Sloane Collection
Please note: The images in this folder were scanned from microfilm owned by CEF or from original documents in the possession of CEF. Some of the letters on the microfilm were subsequently donated to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. These items are so indicated in the document information frame above each image. Courtesy of the Charles Edison Fund and Thomas Edison National Historical Park.