Inventing a Better Life: Notes


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1. Lewis H. Latimer, 1911 logbook, page "March 17." [Recollections in Latimer’s own hand are in the collection of Dr. Winifred Latimer Norman, currently held at the Queens Borough Public Library, Queens, NY: They are written in yearbooks dated 1911 and 1912, with dates preprinted on the pages. Latimer first used these books as work logs, then later for drafts of poems and prose. Other biographical and autobiographical sketches—some signed or initialed by Latimer—are typewritten and may be found in the collections at the Queens Borough Public Library; the Edison National Historic Site, West Orange, NJ; and the Henry Ford Library and Archives at Greenfield Village, MI]

2. C. W Brown and L. H. Latimer, "Water-Closets for Railroad Cars," U.S. Patent 147,363, issued 10 February. 1874.

3. Alexander Graham Bell Papers, box 4; correspondence between Melville Bell and Alexander Graham Bell, 1867-1878, passim; and box 300, subject file "the Telephone," including applications for the following U.S. Patents: 161,739, issued 6 April 1875, "Improvement in Transmitters and Receivers for Electric Telegraphs"; 174,465, issued 7 March 1876, "Improvement in Telegraphy" [basic telephone patent]; 178,399, issued 6 June 1876, "Improvement in Telephonic Telegraph-receivers"; 186,787, issued 30 January 1877, "Improvement in Electric Telegraphy" [improves transmitter for telephone]; 201,488, issued 14 March 1878, "Improvement in Speaking-Telephones"; 220,791, issued 21 October 1879, "Improvement for Telephone-circuits" [later assigned to Bell Telephone Co.]; 228,507, issued 8 June 1880, "Electric Telephone Transmitter"; 230,168, issued 16 March 1880, "Automatic Short-circuiter for Telephones"; 238,833, issued 15 March 1881, "Electric Call Bell"; 250,704, issued 13 December 1881, "Speaking-Telephone," [has earpiece in addition to usual mouthpiece]; Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

4. L. Latimer, 1911 logbook, pages "November 18," "November 17," Norman Collection. In this case Latimer had turned the book upside down and backwards for the purpose of using blank space: Text therefore proceeds from pages with later dates to those with earlier ones.

* All original spellings have been maintained.

5. L. Latimer, 1911 logbook, pages "November 17," "November 16," Norman Collection. [Again text proceeds from pages with later dates to those with earlier ones.]

6. The Record Book and Logbook of the Bridgeport Scientific Society, and its scrapbook of clippings from the Bridgeport Daily Standard, are in the collection of the Bridgeport Public Library. Maxim had been elected to membership 3 November 1879; Latimer on 13 March 1880. Latimer’s paper was delivered 18 May 1880.

7. Robert Friedel and Paul Israel, Edison’s Electric Light: Biography of an Invention, (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987), 115-117, 243.

8. Greenfield Village Archives, box 38, folder 3.

9. William J. Hammer Collection, Archives Center of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington D.C. Register compiled by Robert S. Harding, 1986.

10. L. Latimer, 1911 logbook, "November 16," "November 15," "November 14," "November 13," Norman Collection.

11. Ibid.

12. Mary Latimer, diary, Friday, 8 January 1882, Norman Collection.

13. Hiram Maxim, My Life (New York: McBride, Nast & Co, 1915), 157 et. seq.

14. M. Latimer, diary, 4 March 1882, Norman Collection.

15. William J. Hammer Collection, Smithsonian Institution.

16. M. Latimer, diary, 8 March 1882, Norman Collection.

17. For the U.S. Electric Lighting Co., see Harold C. Passer, The Electrical Manufacturers, 1875-1900 (New York: Arno Press, 1972). In an affidavit dated April 4, 1893, Latimer stated "I commenced to work at 120 Broadway [the address after the company moved from Bridgeport] as draughtsman but later on alternated with Joseph E. Lockwood in making carbons, and finally took this part of the work entirely and continued to make carbons until November 1881 when I left the employ of this company," [emphasis added], Norman Collection. It would seem that Latimer’s work in London was under the official auspices of a company other than U.S. Electric Lighting: He may have expected to return to U.S. Electric Lighting afterwards.

18. Dated drawings, bearing signature or initials of Lewis Latimer, establish the range 5 November 1884 through 20 February 1885, National Museum of American History, Department of Electricity and Modern Physics, group number 1983.0458; item numbers .49 and .27.

19. Matthew Josephson, Edison: A Biography (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959).

20. This biographical sketch is in the Norman Collection. Affidavit copies in the Norman and Greenfield Village and Edison National Site collections show that Latimer testified about Charles Perkins in 1889, with respect to Perkin’s employment at U.S. Electric Lighting [Greenfield Village Archives, box 38, folder 3] and again in 1893 about Perkins, Muller and Goebel [Greenfield Village Archives: box 38, folder 5; Edison National Site # B-6835].

21. William Edward Sawyer, Electric lighting by incandescence, and its application to interior illumination: A practical treatise (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1881).

22.. Passer, Electrical Manufacturers, 147.

23. "The Columbia," Scientific American, 42 (22 May 1880), 326.

24. L. Latimer, Incandescent Electric Lighting (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1890), 33.

25. Ibid., 74.

26. Maxim, My Life, 160-162.

27. L. Latimer, 1911 logbook, "November 13," "November 12," Norman Collection.

28. The archives of the Edison National Historical Site have extensive files pertaining to the Edison Pioneers, including photographs; correspondence, biographical sketches of members; and printed yearbooks, which contain the constitution, bylaws, and membership lists.

29. Edwin T. Layton, Jr., The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1986).

30. Petition to Mayor Seth Low, Norman Collection.

31. Victoria Earle Mathews to L. H. Latimer, 4 October 1901, New York, Queens Borough Public Library Collection, # QPL-066. A brochure about the mission is also in the Queens Borough Library Collection, (xxx no number), as is a manuscript in Latimer’s hand re the Honorable Bradford Prince, author of the brochure # QPL-048.

32. The Settlement Journal Vol II, No. 6, November 1906, Norman Collection. See also Ralph E. Luker "Missions, Institutional Churches, and Settlement Houses: The Black Experience 1885-1910," J Negro History, Vol LXIX (Summer-Fall 1984), 101-113.

33. William Ferris to L. H. Latimer, 29 September 1913, Queens Borough Public Library Collection, QPL-070. See also William Ferris, The African Abroad, or His Evolution in Western Civilization. "A manifesto of colored people’s dignity and worth, and rebuttal of critics and nay sayers" 2 vols. Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Press, 1913, New Haven. A copy of this work is in the Queens Borough Public Library.

34. Richard Greener to Latimer, 5 January 1915, Norman Collection.

35. L. H. Latimer to John W. Jones, General L. Knox, and E. E. Morris [organizing committee], no date, Norman Collection.

36. A. C. Fisher to L. Latimer, 9 March 1900, Norman Collection.

37. Charles A. Dixon, editor, to L. Latimer 12 May 1888, Leisure Hours letterhead, Norman Collection.

38. L. Latimer to Thomas Alva Edison, 16 June 1888, re poem submitted for use on phonograph recording. Overwritten by TAE accepting poem. Original at Edison National Site. [TAED D8847AAY]

39. John Randolph to L. Latimer, 30 September 1889, Norman Collection.

40. Letter on Hammer & Schwarz letterhead, 8 November 1923, Norman Collection.


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