These documents consist of letters from Edison's brother-in-law Robert A. Miller (1861-1911) to his mother Mary Valinda Miller. Most of the selected items were written during the period October 1901-October 1902, while Miller was serving as U.S. Postmaster at Ponce, Puerto Rico. In addition to references to his wife and children and his activities as postmaster, there are numerous remarks about other members of the Miller family; their health, financial affairs and travels; and their civic, social, educational, and religious activities. A few letters allude to the activities and travels of Mina Miller Edison, gifts from her, and news of their mutual acquaintances. There is also a letter in which Miller reminisces about President William McKinley, who appointed him as postmaster in 1899.
Eight additional letters from Miller to his mother have not been selected. A letter from December 28, 1897, describes Christmas at the Miller home in Canton, Ohio. The next six letters, which cover the period August 1901-September 1902, were written from Puerto Rico. Included are a Christmas letter from December 25, 1901, along with letters from May 17 and June 3, 1902, indicating that Robert Jr. was attending Grace Miller's Oak Place School in Akron in preparation for entering St. Paul's School in the fall. The 1902 letters also mention "the Volcano," as being "our topic of conversation down here these days." The reference is to the eruption of Mount Pelee on Martinique on April 23, 1902an event regarded as the worst volcanic disaster of the twentieth century. A letter from September 22, 1902, announces plans to return to Akron in time for Thanksgiving dinner. In the last letter, written from Chautauqua on October 31, 1909, Robert mentions that he met his brother Ira upon arriving in New York City from Puerto Rico and briefly visited Mina at Glenmont before leaving for Chautauqua. Courtesy of the Edison-Ford Winter Estates.