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These letters consist primarily of correspondence exchanged between Madeleine Edison and her future husband, John Eyre Sloane. There are also numerous letters to and from Mina Miller Edison. Included is correspondence relating to the family's visit to Chicago in January and their vacation in Fort Myers in March and April. There are also letters regarding Madeleine's visit to Washington, D.C. in May, where she recorded her impressions of Genevieve Bennett Clark, the wife of House of Representatives speaker Champ Clark. In addition, there are letters pertaining to Madeleine's attendance at a religious conference in Northfield, Massachusetts, in June; her vacations in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Monhegan Island, Maine, later in the summer; and trips to Akron, Ohio, in June to attend the wedding of her aunt Mary and in October to visit her ailing grandmother Mary Valinda. Other personal and family events mentioned in the documents include the death of Madeleine's friend Paul Jones in April; the engagement of former Bryn Mawr classmate Rosalind Romeyn in July and her marriage to William (Billy) Everdell, Jr., in November; and the marriage of future brother-in-law Charles O'Conor Sloane to Adelaide Kernan in November.
Many of the letters by John Sloane discuss the business of the Sloane Aeroplane Co., which was established in 1912 to manufacture, repair, and sell propellers, motors, and other airplane parts. Included are references to John's decision to participate in the air races at the Chicago Air Show in September, which prevented him from joining Madeleine at Monhegan Island; his controversy with aviation pioneer George Miller Dyott; and the establishment of the Sloane School of Aviation at Dominguez Field, California, in November.
In addition, there are twenty letters from September and October that relate to the final illness of Mary Valinda Miller. While Mina Edison was away in Akron tending to her dying mother, Thomas Edison assembled a small group of experimenters known as the "Insomnia Squad" to tackle a problem relating to the mass production of the inventor's new disc phonograph records. Several letters written by Madeleine during this period contain comments about the work of the Insomnia Squad and her father's erratic sleeping habits. There is also a lengthy description by Madeleine of the luncheon in honor of Edison given by the New York Edison Co. in New York City on October 9, including her impressions of inventor Nikola Tesla. The letters by Mina Edison document the final month of Mary Valinda Miller's life and alternate between expressions of hope for her mother's eventual recovery and resignation to the reality of her imminent death.
Other topics discussed in the correspondence include John's jealousy of Henry Watkins (Wat) Ellerson, Madeleine's would-be suitor from Virginia; Madeleine's frustrations with being a "dependent relation," her desire for privacy and autonomy, and her efforts to seek outside employment, which were thwarted by her father; the strained relationship between Mina and Madeleine resulting from Mina's disapproval of her daughter's romance with John; Mina's eventual decision to allow the couple to formally announce their engagement; fourteen-year-old Theodore Edison's launching of an in-house publication called Edison Works Monthly; and Thomas Edison's endorsement of Theodore Roosevelt in the presidential election. Throughout the correspondence, there are numerous introspective comments by Madeleine regarding her relationship with John, her feelings of insecurity, and her belief that John was neglecting her to promote his career. Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane.