These documents cover the years 1890-1905, with a few additional items from the 1920s. They consist primarily of letters and memoranda to and from Richard Rogers Bowker, editor, publisher, and first vice president of the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York (1890-1899). Other correspondents include Edison; Mina Miller Edison; financier Henry Villard; physicist and electrical engineer Lord Kelvin; investment bankers George F. Peabody and Spencer Trask, who served as officials in the illuminating company; and company secretary Frank Enos. Many of the documents pertain to the financial affairs of the illuminating company; the construction of central power stations in New York City; and the production and sale of incandescent lights. A series of letters between Bowker and sculptor J. Scott Hartley discusses plans for a façade at the Pearl Street station with the likenesses of Edison, Ampère, Ohm, Volta, and Watt. Also included is correspondence between Edison and Bowker regarding the financing of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works and efforts to form a syndicate of investors with Bowker as manager. In addition, there are statements of Edison's assets and liabilities and the expenditures and receipts of the Edison Manufacturing Co. and Edison Phonograph Works, which were probably provided to Bowker in connection with the proposed syndicate. Some items deal with the commercial production of Edison's alkaline storage battery. A 1921 letter from Edison to the Journal of Education relates to his use of standardized intelligence questionnaires to examine applicants for executive positions.
An online finding aid to the archival collection is available. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations.