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These letters consist primarily of correspondence exchanged between Madeleine Edison Sloane and her husband, John Eyre Sloane. There is also correspondence by Mina Miller Edison, Louise Igoe Miller, and Alice Eyre Sloane. Many of the letters relate to World War I, which the United States formally entered on April 6, 1917. Included are comments about the draft lottery of July 20, 1917, the draft status of John Sloane and Charles Edison, John's desire to enlist in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Signal Corps, his trip to Washington in August to take the military fitness exam, and his relocation there in September. There are also remarks about the enlistment of Madeleine's cousins Robert and Lewis Miller, the desire of her uncle John V. Miller to join the army, and the combat death of one of John's relatives, Lieutenant Eyre. Comments about the war and about its impact on the home front can be found throughout the correspondence, along with a printed circular urging employees of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., to subscribe to the First Liberty Loan.
Several letters by Mina Edison discuss her experience aboard the USS Sachem, a private yacht converted to a Navy ship, on which Thomas Edison conducted experiments in Long Island Sound from late August until early October. Included are comments regarding Mina's unhappiness at her treatment by the Navy officers on the ship and her frustration by her husband's decision to use New London rather than Sag Harbor as his base, which prevented her from visiting Madeleine while she was vacationing in Quoque on the south shore of Long Island. In addition, there are remarks about Charles Edison's dislike for his father's wartime assistant, Charles Hanford; shortages of wood and coal during the severe winter of 1917-1918; and a fire at Edison's aniline plant in Silver Lake.
Other topics discussed in Madeleine's letters include visits at Quoque with recording artist Thomas Chalmers and his wife, Vilma Fiorelli Chalmers, and with painter Richard Hamilton Couper and his musician-composer wife, Mildred Cooper Couper; the wedding of friend Florence Colgate; the engagements of friends Margaret Gregory and Marie Cozzens; and the death of art dealer and family friend William Macbeth. Beginning on August 29, there are also remarks about Madeleine's second pregnancy, her visits to Dr. Harry Gaylord Dorman in New York City, her efforts to hire a baby nurse, and her expectations about the due date of the baby. (John Edison Sloane was born on April 21, 1918.) There are also numerous references to her son Thomas Edison Sloane (called "Doody" or "Doodie" in the letters), including a comment by Madeleine that "Doody has been making great strides in conversation and sociability with Father who conceals his delight by withering remarks about a curly haired boy who plays with dolls."
The letters written by Madeleine to John after her return from vacation in mid-September relate primarily to her impending move to Washington, which took place in early October. Included are remarks about her efforts to rent out their house in Plainfield, New Jersey, and to secure suitable servants for their new apartment in the Cairo Hotel ("anything but colored," she stipulates in one letter), as well as comments about the logistics and costs of packing, moving, and storage. In addition, there are nine letters from Madeleine to John, written during the last two weeks of December after Madeleine had returned to West Orange to spend the Christmas holidays with her family at Glenmont. Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane.