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These letters, which cover the years 1886-1896, 1912-1913, 1920, and 1928-1932, are primarily from Lewis Alexander Miller (1863-1943) to his younger sister, Mina Miller Edison. There are also two letters by Cotta Smyser Miller (1893-1975), whom Lewis married in November 1916. The letters from the 1890s contain numerous references to the Miller family’s financial difficulties. A letter by Lewis from May 1896 declines an offer by Mina to introduce him to Miss Burke (probably Mabel Burke of Llewellyn Park, daughter of the wealthy bottler John Burke), remarking that he wants to get out of debt "and then sail in and find a wife." Among the topics discussed in the letters from the 1920s and 1930s are the health of Thomas and Mina Edison, the Edison scholarship contest, and Lewis's financial problems during the Great Depression.
There are approximately 90 letters by Lewis and Cotta Miller and their son, Milton Smyser Miller (1917-2009), in Book #13 on the Charles Edison Fund microfilm, as well as a few items in Book #35. Click here for a list of all the correspondence books on the CEF microfilm. In addition to the 30 letters presented here, 35 other letters originally in the CEF Collection can be found in the Family Records Series in Part III, Part IV, and Part V of the Thomas A. Edison Papers microfilm and digital editions. Twelve additional letters from Lewis A. Miller to his parents Lewis and Mary Valinda and to his sister Mina can be found among the family papers at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates. Eleven other letters by Lewis A. Miller, several written while he was living in Hawaii in 1898, can be found in the David E. E. Sloane Collection. Courtesy of the Charles Edison Fund.