[These eight letters were added in September 2012.]
These letters, which cover the years 1917 and 1930-1932, were written by various cousins of Mina Miller Edison (nephews of Mary Valinda Miller) from the Alexander side of the family. Most of the letters are addressed to Mina, although there is also one letter by Mina and one by her secretary, M. Elizabeth Given. Among the correspondents are Wisconsin paper manufacturer Lewis Miller Alexander (1858-1934) and California banker Frank Lincoln Alexander (1860-1944)the children of Mary Valinda's brother Henry (1824-1891). Also included are letters by poet Julius Myron Alexander (1857-1932)the youngest son of Mary Valinda's half-brother Charles (1820-1897)and by Julius's nephew Charles H. Crawford (b. 1877). A druggest by profession, Charles was the son of Julius's older sister, Alice Maria Alexander (b. 1854), and her husband, Rev. Andrew Kerr Crawford (1830-1897).
The earliest letter, written by Julius Alexander in September 1917, comments on the war and expresses hope that "Mr. Edison may devise something that will be a surprise to the Germans." A letter by Julius from September 1930 contains remarks about the Edison scholarship contest, as well as comments about his declining health and about various members of the Alexander family in California and elsewhere. (Julius's great uncle, Cyrus Alexander (1805-1872) was one of the first settlers in California.) A letter from October 1931 offers condolences after the death of Thomas Edison and mentions the bad feelings among some of the heirs over the terms of his will.
The letters exchanged between Mina and Lewis Alexander relate to Thomas Edison's final illness and to Julius's death in March 1932. There is considerable discussion about the settlement of Julius's estate and the condition of his finances at the time of his death. A letter from Lewis to Frank (a copy of which was given to Mina) expresses surprise at the amount of financial support that Mina gave Julius during his final years. In letter to Lewis from April 1932, Mina gives her reaction to Great Depression, her assessment of its impact on Fort Myers and Lee County, her views on prohibition, her support for President Hoover, and her suspicion that "Socialist, Union men" may be causing the economic troubles.
There are approximately 25 letters and documents by or about various member of the Alexander family in Book #11 on the Charles Edison Fund microfilm. Among the unselected correspondence are several letters from Julius H. Alexander (1854-1935), a brother of Lewis and Frank Alexander. Also unselected is a letter from Charles D. Gill (b. 1853), the grandson of Mary Valinda's half-sister, Margaret E. Alexander. Click here for a list of all the correspondence books on the CEF microfilm. Courtesy of the Charles Edison Fund.