[Eight letters were added to this collection in September 2012; two letters were added in January 2013. Additional letters are currently being edited ]
These letters from Rachel Alice Miller (1891-1970) to her aunt, Mina Miller Edison, cover the years 1914-1929, with one additional letter from 1939. Most of the letters are undated or partially dated. The earliest item an Easter card from 1914addresses Mina's misgivings about the upcoming marriage of her daughter, Madeleine, to John Eyre Sloane. An undated letter from May 1916 mentions Mina's anxiety about her sixty-nine-year-old husband marching in the Preparedness Day Parade in New York City. (These parades were frequently targets of antiwar radicals; ten people were killed and forty wounded in a bombing during a parade in San Francisco two months later.) Three additional undated letters written during World War I contain comments on the service of her brother, Robert Jr., and cousin, Lewis II, in the U.S. Army; Rachel's and Mina's contrasting views on women's suffrage; possible wartime shortages of linen that might deprive Rachel and her mother of their livelihood. There are also remarks by Rachel about the likely duration of the war.
Among the topics mentioned in the letters from the 1920s, written after Rachel's move to Ponce, Puerto Rico, are the health problems of Thomas Edison; the opening of a gift shop in San Juan; the impact of Hurricane San Felipe, which struck Puerto Rico in September 1928 and also did considerable damage to south Florida; Mina's support for Herbert Hoover in the presidential election of 1928; and Rachel's attendance at Light's Golden Jubilee (a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Edisonís incandescent light, held at Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in October 1929). A letter from March 1928 mentions an upcoming trip to Spain with Clara Livingston. One of the nation's first female pilots, Clara was the daughter of Dr. Alfred Tracy Livingston, a physician from Jamestown, New York who bought a plantation in Puerto Rico in 1905. She took over the management of the plantation after the death of her father in 1925. Rachel became good friends with Clara and moved in with her in 1937 after the death of Louise Miller. The 1939 letter describes Rachel's forty-eighth birthday celebration and mentions the possibility of flying with Clara to Fort Myers to visit Mina or to St. Thomas to visit Aunt Mary. Rachel also comments on Mina's marriage to Edward E. Hughes, opining that "Uncle Thomas . . . Would be so happy that you have such companionship in Uncle Edward."
There are approximately 80 letters and other documents by or about Rachel Miller in Book #11 on the Charles Edison Fund microfilm, as well as additional items in Book #35.
Click here for a list of all the correspondence books on the CEF microfilm. Six additional letters by Rachel A. Miller, originally from the CEF Collection, can be found in the Family Records Series in Part V of the Thomas A. Edison Papers microfilm edition. Courtesy of the Charles Edison Fund.