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These twenty-four letters are primarily from Mina Miller Edison to her daughter, Madeleine Edison. The eighteen dated letters cover the period September 1901-June 1906. Additional correspondence from 1906, written while Madeleine was attending Bryn Mawr College, can be found in Madeleine Edison Correspondence (1906-1909). The first letter, which is undated, was probably written shortly after the death of Mina's father, Lewis Miller. Included is a comment about the loneliness of his widow, Mary Valinda Miller, and her inability to "understand why she must linger on." The three letters from 1901 were written while Mina was in Sudbury, Ontario, with Thomas Edison and at Upper Saranak Lake in New York with her oldest son, Charles. Included are references to Thomas's search for nickel deposits, as well as remarks about recurring his stomach problems. There is also a letter from January 1902, written from Lakewood, New Jersey, where Thomas was recovering from his stomach ailment.
The eight letters from 1903 were written in February and March, while the Edison family was wintering in Fort Myers, Florida, and Madeleine was attending school in New Jersey. Included are comments about local residents Jerusha Barber (Tootie) Terry, widow of oil tycoon and Fort Myers neighbor Ambrose McGregor, and Julia Hendry Travers, who purchased McGregor' property after his death (and would sell it to Edison in 1906). There are also remarks about paper manufacturer and future Edison Portland Cement Co. president Robert H. Thompson and his wife Marion, who visited the Edisons in 1906. The letters contain references to fishing, duck hunting, and other leisure activities. There are also comments about Thomas's and Mina's seventeenth wedding anniversary, an epidemic of the grippe in New York, and a fire at the cement company's coal grinding plant that resulted in the death of eight workers, including chief engineer Edward A. Darling, and forced the Edisons to cut short their Florida vacation.
Nine letters, covering the period October 1905-June 1906, were written while Madeleine was attending Oak Place School in Akron, Ohio. The letters contain references to Madeleine's upcoming entrance examinations for admission into Bryn Mawr and Mina's visit to the college in May 1906. They also indicate Mina's uncertainty as to whether Madeleine should enter Bryn Mawr in the fall or study at home for a year before enrolling, as well as concern about Madeleine's health. In addition, there is discussion of trips to New York City during which Mina visited sculptor James Earl Fraser, painter Orlando Rouland and his wife Minnie, railroad executive Hamilton McK. Twombly, and relatives Emily Clark Huntington Miller and Frederick Miller. There is also a reference to naturalist John Burroughs, whom Mina met for the first time during her visit to the Roulands in January 1906 and whom she found to be "simple, fatherly, and lovable." In addition, there are remarks about Thomas Edison's automobile trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, in May 1906 and about the concern of Dr. David A. Kennedy, headmaster at Carteret Academy, that Charles would fall too far behind in his studies if he accompanied his father in his search for cobalt ores. Also included are comments about Fred Kelsey, a would-be suitor whom Mina advised Madeleine to discourage, and references to a possible romance between Mina's brother John V. Miller and Llewellyn Park neighbor Harriet Mullet (Hattie) Jenkins.
In addition to the letters by Mina Edison, there is one undated letter by Madeleine Edison that was probably written during this period. Included is a reference to Madeleine's interest in submitting a picture in the monthly contest run by the St. Nicholas League, a department of the popular St. Nicholas Magazine. There is also mention of Madeleine bringing home two books in the Hildegarde series by children's author Laura Elizabeth Richards. Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane.