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These documents, which cover the years 1875-1891, consist primarily of letters exchanged between Painter and Edward H. Johnson, a longtime Edison associate involved in promoting the phonograph, electric light, and other inventions. Other correspondents include Edison; his associates Charles Batchelor and Josiah C. Reiff; electrical manufacturer Sigmund Bergmann; Gardiner G. Hubbard, president of the Edison Speaking Phonograph Co.; and Jesse H. Lippincott, an entrepreneur who acquired marketing rights to Edison's perfected phonograph in 1888. In addition to the correspondence, there are circulars, agreements, company minutes, and other items. The documents deal mainly with the development and commercial exploitation of Edison's phonograph and his electric lighting system. Some of the letters pertain to the business of the Edison Electric Light Co. and the Edison Co. for Isolated Lighting; Painter's role as stockholder, agent, and lobbyist for those companies; and the lighting of government buildings in Washington, D.C. Also included are items relating to the early telephone industry, the organization of the North American Phonograph Co. in 1888, and the formation of the Edison General Electric Co. in 1889.