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These letters consist primarily of correspondence exchanged between Madeleine Edison Sloane and her husband, John Eyre Sloane. There are also letters to and from Mina Miller Edison. During most of 1915, the Sloanes were living in an apartment on 15 W. 8th Street in Greenwich Village. Sometime before October, they moved to a house on 732 Dixie Lane in Plainfield, New Jersey, which they called Red Mud Farm. Among the documents is an undated draft will in Madeleine's handwriting, which was probably made out in anticipation of the possibility that she might die in childbirth. According to its terms, the $100,000 trust fund created for her by Thomas Edison would go to her child but would revert to her father should the child becomes a priest, nun, or member of any monastic order. Also included is a provision that her husband and father would each inherit half her estate, should there be no heirs, along with provisions for various other family members and friends. In addition, there are eight letters from Madeleine to her parents, written during the spring of 1916 while Thomas and Mina were vacationing in Florida and Madeleine was recuperating at Glenmont from the birth of her first son, Thomas Edison (Teddy) Sloane. These letters comment on the health and activities of the baby and Madeleine's efforts to find a suitable nurse. There is also a memorandum by Madeleine regarding work to be done at the new house, along with numerous letters exchanged by John and Madeleine while John was vacationing with his parents on Long Island Sound in July 1916.
Among the communications from Mina Edison is a letter from October 1915, written on a train en route to Chicago, where she and Thomas planned to stop over before continuing to San Francisco to attend the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with Henry Ford. Included is a remark that "Papa seems to be ready to put himself in to Mr. Ford's hands so goodbye to him." The remaining letters by Mina date from her vacation in Florida during March-April 1916 and Monhegan Island, Maine, in August-September. One letter contains a description of an excursion to Punta Rassa, where the Edisons visited Mr. and Mrs. George R. Shultz, whom they had first met in Florida thirty years earlier. Also in the letter are comments about Bessie Kunz, with whom Charles Edison had been romantically involved two years earlier, and a remark that Thomas's concern about his disc records was preventing him from enjoying his vacation.
Other topics mentioned in the correspondence include Charles's relationship with Carolyn Hawkins, who visited the Edisons in July 1916; the sale of the Sloane Aeroplane Co. to Mitsui & Co.; the efforts of Charles O. Sloane to organize the Phonograph Sales Co. to market the Edison disc phonograph; Edison's first camping trip with Henry Ford, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone, which triggered feelings of anger, sadness, and loneliness on the part of Mina; the arrest of Edison employee John E. M. Simpson, who was accused of pilfering diamonds and other items from the Edison Phonograph Works; and the pregnancy of Beatrice Edison, wife of Madeleine's half-brother Thomas Edison, Jr., which ended in the loss of the baby. In addition, there is a letter from September 3, 1916, containing extended comments by Madeleine about Edison's chief engineer, Miller Reese Hutchison, whom Mina disliked intensely. Included is a prediction that if "given enough rope," Hutchison "will certainly be found suspended by the neck at no very distant date." In the same letter, Madeleine remarks on Mina's depressed "mental state" (documented in many of the family letters from this period), attributing it, in part, to her "physical change" (probably a reference to oncoming menopause).
The last item is a letter from Elle Niven, the baby nurse whom Madeleine hired to take care of Teddy. It was written from a hospital near Paris, France, on September 24, 1916. Included is a detailed description of Mlle. Niven's experiences nursing wounded soldiers returning from the front. Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane. Images for this collection are not yet available.