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These letters are primarily from Madeleine Edison Sloane to her husband, John Eyre Sloane. There are also several letters to Madeleine from her mother, Mina Miller Edison, and one letter from Madeleine to her aunt, Mary Miller Nichols. The first eight letters cover the period March-April 1923 and relate to the Edison family's vacation in Florida. The letter to Mary, written by Madeleine one day before the birth of her third son, Peter, expresses hope that the baby will be a girl and regret that her father's illness has delayed his trip south. Six letters by Mina, written after she and Thomas arrived in Florida in late March, comment on the activities of grandsons Thomas (Teddy) and John (Jack), who had accompanied them on the trip while their mother was recuperating in New Jersey. There are also remarks about the ongoing health problems of Thomas Edison, as well as comments about Henry and Clara Ford and Harvey and Idabelle Firestone, who were vacationing in Fort Myers at the same time as the Edisons. Mina's inability to warm up to Clara despite her efforts to do so, her disappointment at Henry for not contributing financially to Chautauqua, and his sudden departure to avoid being subpoenaed in a lawsuit, are among the topics mentioned in the letters.
Also among the 1923 correspondence is an undated letter from Madeleine, written in early April, requesting her father to assume the $3,500 loan on the Sloane home in South Orange and to lend her an additional $2,000. The letter discusses the Sloanes' financial problems, which were exacerbated by the medical expenses attendant upon the birth of Peter, and concludes with the sardonic comment "apparently it is a mistake to have children." The final version of this letter, along with Edison's affirmative response to the request, can be found in the Charles Edison Fund Collection.
The three letters from 1924 were written in August and September, when Mina was vacationing on Monhegan Island in Maine and the Sloane family was summering in Watch Hill, a resort town in Rhode Island. Among the topics mentioned is the "winter cleaning" done to the Sloane home by the Glenmont staff under the supervision of Madeleine's uncle, John V. Miller. In addition to the letters, there is also a humorous printed flyer for Madeleine's and John's tenth wedding anniversary, announcing a "feature film" entitled "As We Were," presented by Mr. and Mrs. John E. Sloane "under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Edison."
The remaining nineteen letters are from Madeleine to John and cover the period June-October 1925. They relate primarily to the family's summer vacation in Watch Hill. There are numerous comments about the health of Madeleine's three sons, all of whom contracted whooping cough that summer. Also mentioned frequently in the letters are Madeleine's longtime friends Marie Cozzens Bodell and Rosalind Romeyn Everdell, as well as two servants who accompanied the Sloane family to Watch Hilla Norwegian cook named Tonnessen and a nursemaid or housekeeper named Jane. In addition, there are remarks about the Watch Hill Yacht Club, of which John was a member; boat races; and local yachtsmen such as publisher Robert Barrie and Danish-born chemist C. Bai Lihme. Other topics mentioned in the correspondence include Madeleine's resentment toward the wealthy summer residents of Watch Hill, who were snubbing her because of her lack of money even though socially they were "inferior people"; visits to Watch Hill by Mina and Thomas Edison; the birth of Stuart Alexander Miller, the second child of John and Florence Miller; possible shortages of coal due to a strike by anthracite miners; and complaints by Madeleine that her husband was neglecting her (a recurrent theme in the correspondence). Courtesy of David E. E. Sloane.