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These thirty-one letters consist primarily of correspondence exchanged between Madeleine Edison and her mother, Mina Miller Edison. There is also one letter from Madeleine to her future husband, John Eyre Sloane. Most of the letters were written while Madeleine was attending Bryn Mawr College (October 1906-June 1908). Included are comments about M. Carey Thomas, the president of the college, as well as Dean Isabel Maddison, and various instructors, students, and friends. There are also remarks about courses, extracurricular activities, and Bryn Mawr traditions such as Senior Night, Lantern Night, and the Maypole Celebration. Also mentioned are visits by Mina Edison and Mae Sloane; Ira J. Dodge, an Akron resident who was attending Haverford College; and Joseph Zane Batten, a Princeton student who courted Madeleine in 1907-1908. Madeleine ended her relationship with Joe in March 1908 after Mina sent her a letter from Fort Myers itemizing Joe's numerous shortcomings and urging her to "give that man his walking papers." An undated letter from February 1908 announces Madeleine's intention to leave Bryn Mawr at the conclusion of her sophomore year, despite her mother's desire that she remain in school "as the preliminary stage of developing a sweet disposition."
Other topics discussed in the letters include the romance between family friend Meg Gregory and John Randolph Page, the physician who accompanied the ailing Thomas Edison to Fort Myers in March 1908; Mina's feelings of inadequacy and uselessness (a recurrent theme in her correspondence); and a reception and garden party at Glenmont, planned to coincide with Madeleine's return from college in June 1908.
The seven letters written after Madeleine's departure from Bryn Mawr date from October 1908 and August-December 1909. Included is an invitation in Madeleine's handwriting to a Halloween party at Glenmont (1908), along with a whimsical response by her friend Steve Condict. An August 1909 letter by Mina, written while Madeleine was vacationing with the Ambrose family in Lewistown, Mass., comments on Thomas Edison's stomach problems and avers that she will engage in "no more Victor talk"a reference to the Victor Talking Machine Co., whose disc records were outselling Edison's cylinder recordings. An undated letter by Madeleine, written during a visit to former classmate Julia Thompson in the fall of 1909, mentions her desire to see her cousin, Isobel (Belle) Ristine, and other relatives living in the Chicago area. Madeleine's letter to John Sloane, written in December 1909, expresses regret that she could not accept his invitation to an unnamed event and announces her intention to visit friends in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to the correspondence, there is a clipping from June 1909 regarding Stanford University President David Starr Jordan's commencement address at Bryn Mawr and Professor Lucien Foulet's public outburst against what he interpreted as anti-Gallic remarks by Jordan. Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane.