These documents consist primarily of letters written by Mina Miller Edison while her son Theodore and her daughter-in-law Ann were vacationing at Monhegan Island, Maine, in August 1927. Mina expresses concern about Theodore's health and urges him to remain at Monhegan until after Labor Day. There are also comments about the health of Theodore's brother Charles, who was being treated for conjunctivitis ("pinkeye") in a New York City hospital, as well as the health of various members of the Miller family, brother-in law William W. Nichols (who had prostate surgery in mid-August), longtime servant Lena McCarthy Doyle, Edison associates Fred Ott and William H. Meadowcroft, and family friend Dr. John H. Bradshaw. One letter remarks about Thomas Edison's health, noting that he had been losing weight steadily and was now down to 159 pounds but adding that it was "a healthy loss as he really was too fat." The same letter quotes Edison, who had turned eighty in February, as telling New York Times editor John Huston Finley that his search for a domestic source of rubber was "a race with the Angel of Death" since the plants he was experimenting with took three to five years to grow to maturity.
Several of the letters contain references to the breakdown of the marriage of Theodore's father- and mother-in-law, Winthrop and Anna Osterhout. Included are comments about the return of Anna and her daughter Olga from Europe on August 16 (Winthrop, who was also in Europe that summer, returned in October), their week-long stay in New Jersey at the Edison's home in Llewellyn Park and Theodore's apartment in East Orange, their departure for Boston on August 24, and their plans to return to New Jersey after attending a wedding in Philadelphia. The letters also reveal Mina's desire to play the role of mediator by cabling Winthrop to urge him "to try waiting another year" in the hope that he "will see things differently later on." In addition, there is advice to Theodore not to "worry about a thing but just get all the good you can from your stay on the Island," along with a remark that Anna's attorney "is looking after her side of it."
Other topics discussed in the correspondence include the Sacco and Vanzetti case, which culminated in the execution of the two Italian-born anarchists on August 23 (Mina opines that the country will be "in great jeopardy . . . If anything happens to prevent the punishment of Sacco & Vanzetti"); Mina's views on the religious upbringing of Madeleine's three children and her disdain for Catholic Church services ("no music, no sermon, simply a priest . . . Disciplining them for about ten minutes"); and her views on race relations ("we will never keep unity in this world until we treat every color & race as our brothers"). In addition, there are references to a visit to Glenmont by sister-in-law Louise Miller, her children, and grandchildren and another visit by former New Jersey Congressman Charles N. Fowler to solicit funds for a book on citizenship for use in the public high schools. The last letter, written by Mina but initialed "TAE," dates from December 24. It mentions the return to Theodore of bonds formerly held in trust. Courtesy of the Chautauqua Institution Archives, Oliver Archives Center.