These unbound clippings cover the period 1911-1919. Most of the items were sent to Edison by clippings services, although a few may have been subsequently added to the collection by archivists. They are primarily taken from newspapers and popular magazines, but there are also clippings from Edison company publications, technical journals, and other printed sources. The articles pertain to a variety of subjects, including the development and promotion of Edison's inventions, the activities of his companies, his role on the Naval Consulting Board during World War I, and the personal affairs of Edison, his wife Mina Miller Edison, and other family members. In addition to brief newspaper accounts, there are a few longer articles and profiles based on in-depth interviews with Edison, written either by journalists or by Edison's assistants. Also included are obituaries of Edison family members and former associates and advertisements for Edison products. Some of the clippings are speculative stories based on rumors that were untrue. Examples include reports that Edison had won the Nobel Prize and that he was building a spirit phone to talk to the dead.
Numerous clippings for 1911-1919 can also be found in the Scrapbook Series. However, only the years 1915-1916 are thoroughly covered in the scrapbooks; apart from one scrapbook about the family's European tour in 1911, there are few Edison-related clippings for 1911-1912 or 1917-1919. There are also several significant chronological gaps in the unbound clippings, such as for September-December 1917. In that regard, it should be noted that Edison made an effort to prevent stories about his war-related work from appearing in newspapers.
Because of their fragile and deteriorating condition, all of the newspaper clippings for 1911-1919 have been photocopied by archivists at the Edison National Historical Park, and the originals have been discarded. Some of these photocopies may be difficult to read because of the acidic paper on which the original clippings was printed and because of the adhesive tape used by earlier archivists to mount them, which has yellowed over the years. At the time the clippings were photocopied, many of the original tags supplied by the clippings service were removed and replaced with typewritten citations. The information in these citations is occasionally incorrect.
The clippings are arranged in folders by year and, within each folder, in rough chronological order by month. A strict chronological arrangement is not possible, since several clippings from different days of the month are often photocopied onto the same sheet of paper. In such cases, the pages are arranged according to the date of the earliest clipping on the page.
Because many articles and news items were widely reprinted, only the earliest, most detailed, or best surviving copy of each story has been selected. Other clippings not selected include local advertising, publicity, and promotions for Edison products; stories about motion pictures released or in production under the Edison name; editorials that casually refer to Edison; and generic or repetitive biographical accounts. Also not selected is a series of humorous cartoons by Fontaine Fox called "The Remarkable Discoveries of Thomas Edison Jr.," which, despite the name, are entirely unrelated to Thomas Edison or his oldest son. An example can be found among the unbound clippings for November 1912. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.