[This folder has not been completely edited. Letters are currently being added, and documents identified as "to be edited" may not have images or complete database information. In addition, the information in the folder target (editorial description) may not be up-to-date.]
These documents consist primarily of letters, telegrams, and postcards from Theodore Miller Edison (1898-1992) to his mother Mina Miller Edison. Also included are a few letters addressed to his father Thomas Edison (or addressed jointly to Mina and Thomas), some letters from Mina to Theodore, and a small number of letters to and from other relatives and non-family members. The dated items in this folder cover the years 1919-1932, but there are also undated and partially dated letters. Some of the letters were written jointly by Theodore Edison and his wife Ann Osterhout (1901-1993), whom he married in April 1925. Additional letters by Ann Osterhout Edison can be found elsewhere in the Charles Edison Fund Collection. Additional letters by Theodore covering the years 1907-1919 can be found by clicking the "Prev. Text" button at the top of the page.
Theodore's four undergraduate years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are documented in approximately 225 letters that provide a detailed account of his academic and social life at the university. More than two dozen other letters pertain to his trip to Alaska and Canada during the summer of 1923. One letter describes a visit to the Miles and Childs glaciers with President Warren G. Harding and his entourage just two weeks before the president's sudden death. There are approximately 55 letters documenting Theodore's year of graduate work at MIT (1923-1924); his introduction to Ann Osterhout, a Vassar student who was the daughter of a Harvard University professor; and their brief courtship, which culminated in a formal engagement announcement in July 1924.
The remaining documents deal primarily with Theodore's work for Thomas A. Edison, Inc. (TAE Inc.), where he served as technical director of research and engineering at the West Orange laboratory. Many of these letters relate to the efforts of TAE Inc. to enter the radio business. Of particular interest is a handwritten memorandum, probably dating from 1929 or 1930, regarding the design, testing, and marketing of radios manufactured by TAE Inc. There are occasional remarks about other subjects, some of which appear to be in the hand of Ann Edison. The memorandum consists of 28 numbered pages, along with nine unnumbered pages containing comments written on the backs of pages 1, 4, 5, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, and 28.
Other topics discussed in the letters include Theodore's honeymoon with Ann in Scandinavia; his relationship with industrialist Henry Ford; his visits with the family of longtime Edison associate Francis Upton and with inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. (the son of an early Edison associate); his misgivings about the Edison scholarship contest; the reaction of TAE Inc. to the Great Depression; Theodore's decision in 1931 to leave TAE Inc. and organize his own company, Calibron Products, Inc.; and the administration of Thomas Edison's estate.
The letters are primarily from Books #15 and #25 on the Charles Edison Fund microfilm. Click here for a list of all the correspondence books on the microfilm. Click here for a list of boxes with additional correspondence not on the microfilm. A considerable number of letters from Mina Edison to Theodore can be found in the Miller Family Collection, Oliver Archives Center, Chautauqua Institution. Additional letters to and from Theodore Edison can be found in other collections of family correspondence in the Family Records Series.
Please note: The images in this folder were scanned from microfilm owned by CEF or from original documents in the possession of CEF. Some of the letters on the microfilm were subsequently donated to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. These items are so indicated in the document information frame above each image. Courtesy of the Charles Edison Fund and Thomas Edison National Historical Park.