[The images for this folder are not currently available.]
These letters consist primarily of correspondence exchanged between Madeleine Edison and her future husband, John Eyre Sloane. There are also letters to and from Mina Miller Edison. Most of the correspondence relates to Madeleine's tour of Europe, which began on February 23, 1913, when she arrived in Gibraltar accompanied by Mary Abby Walton, a family friend, and Mary's two daughters Edith and Florence. She spent most of her time in Italy, visiting Naples, Taormina (Sicily), Rome, Florence, and Venice. She also spent a few days in Paris (there are no letters from that visit) before sailing for New York, where she arrived on April 23.
Included are numerous letters regarding Madeleine's two-week visit to Rome and her unsuccessful attempts to seek an audience with Pope Pius X. The letters contain many negative comments about the Roman Catholic Church, including its intolerance of other religions, its monks and monasteries, and Catholic superstitions such as devotion to the Bambino. Madeleine's misgivings about marrying a Catholic are also mentioned in the letters. In addition, there are references to Madeleine's efforts to meet with her half-sister Marion Edison Oeser, who lived in Mulhausen, Germany, and with John's sister Alice Sloane Anderson, who was touring Europe at the same time as Madeleine. It is not clear whether these efforts were successful, but Madeleine did make plans to meet with Marion and her husband Oscar in Paris before her return to the United States. Also included are two letters by Alexander Wilbourne Weddell, an American consular official in Catania, whom Madeleine had first met during a visit to Richmond and with whom she reconnected in Italy. There are numerous complaints in the letters about delayed or lost correspondence, indicating the difficulties of Transatlantic mail during the early twentieth century.
Other topics discussed in the correspondence include the health of Thomas Edison; his work on disc records; his storage battery business, including a loan by Henry Ford for the construction of a new battery factory and a large battery order from the Pennsylvania Railroad; the introduction of sound motion pictures; the social, civic, and charitable activities of Mina Miller Edison; her role as executrix of the estate of Mary Valinda Miller; the illness and sudden death of Mina's neighbor Bertha M. Nichols; and the superficial injuries sustained by Theodore Edison when a homemade "bomb" in a glass bottle exploded. The letters by John Sloane contain numerous comments about the business of the Sloane Aeroplane Co. A statement of the assets of his company is enclosed in his letter of April 1. There are also remarks about the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson, John's opinions of Wilson and outgoing President William Howard Taft, and the defeat of the woman's suffrage amendment in a Michigan referendum.
The letters written after Madeleine's return from Europe pertain mainly to her vacation in Quogue, Long Island, in July and the family vacation in Monhegan Island, Maine, in August. There are references to Thomas Edison's arrival on the island at the end of August, his plans to meet Ford and John Burroughs in Boston, and his illness, which forced the family to cut out their visit to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
All of the letters have been selected except for one letter to John Sloane congratulating him on his upcoming marriage and a photocopy of a clipping from the Cleveland News announcing the marriage. Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane. Images for this collection are not yet available.