[These documents were recently edited. Names and subjects are not yet available for the online database records.]
These documents, which cover the years 1912-1916 and 1924-1946, consist primarily of correspondence between Mina Miller Edison and her younger sister, Mary Emily Miller (1867-1946). Some of Mina's letters are addressed jointly to Mary and her husband, William Wallace (Will) Nichols (1860-1948). Other correspondents include Mary's younger sister, Grace Miller (Hitchcock); her brother Ira Mandeville Miller and his daughters Margaret and Elizabeth; stepdaughter Marian Nichols and her husband, Albert de Marconnay; and Will's sister, Ida Nichols Holt. Included are several letters from 1924 relating to the efforts of Mary and Grace to locate Chautauqua minute books and other documents for a biography of their father, Lewis Miller. (Ellwood Hendrick's Lewis Miller: A Biographical Essay, written in cooperation with the Miller family, was published in 1925.) Also included are seven letters written by Mina Edison during the period June-September 1937, when she was touring Europe with her second husband, Edward Everett Hughes. Ten telegrams from April 30-November 17, 1946 pertain to the final illness of Mary, who died of bone cancer on November 21, 1946.
Several of the letters contain substantive references to Thomas Edison. A letter written by Will Nichols the day before Edison's death comments about how the inventor, recognizing that he was about to die, had weeks earlier said his good-byes to his family. "They treat that as the finis – nothing counts now." The last letter, written by Will in January 1948 seven months before his death, mentions "a big box of 'Old Letters'" that he intends to give to his niece Madeleine, including "love letters" from Thomas Edison "to his 'Billy' (Bride)." These letters are now in the possession of the Charles Edison Fund of Newark, New Jersey.
In addition to the correspondence, there is a page from a wedding prayer book attesting to the marriage of Mary and Will on June 26, 1912. Among the witnesses signing the document are Mary Valinda Miller, Thomas and Mina Edison, and numerous other members of the Edison and Miller families. Courtesy of the Chautauqua Institution Archives, Oliver Archive Center