This collection consists primarily of letters to and from Henry Alden Clark (1850-1944), who served as agent for the Edison Co. for Isolated Lighting during the 1880s. Born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, Clark graduated from Harvard University in 1874 and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1877. He was admitted to the bar in Fall River, Massachusetts, in March 1878 and became associated with the Edison electric light interests in New York. He moved to Erie in 1882, continuing with the Edison company until 1887. After leaving Edison's employ, Clark served on the common council of Erie (1888) and bought and edited the Erie Gazette (1890-1892). He subsequently became Erie city solicitor (1896-1899) and a member of the Pennsylvania state senate (1911, 1913, and 1915). In 1916 he was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-fifth U.S. Congress (March 4, 1917-March 3, 1919).
The twenty-two selected letters cover the period November 1882-December 1883, with one additional letter from December 1884. During this period Clark held the agency for Maryland, Western Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The correspondents are primarily officials of the Edison Co. for Isolated Lighting. Included are letters by Frank S. Hastings, secretary-treasurer of the company, and Joseph Hutchinson, assistant to general manager Miller F. Moore. Although there is only one mention of Edison, the letters are revelatory of the relationship between the central company and its local agents. Included is discussion of plans to install isolated stations at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and the Herald building in Baltimore, the Times plant in Pittsburgh, and the U.S. Post Office, Bureau of Printing & Engraving, and Government Printing Office buildings in Washington, D.C. The letter from December 1884 relates to a territorial dispute between Clark and James S. Humbird. Courtesy of Charles Hummel.