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Thomas A. Edison Papers

Digital Edition

About the Digital Edition

Nearly 175,000 document images are now available in the Digital Edition of the Thomas A. Edison Papers. Included are documents from the archives of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park scanned from Parts I-III of the Microfilm Edition, along with items from other repositories and private collections. (View a document sampler of selected images.)

Through its integrated structure and ease of access, the Digital Edition provides powerful search capabilities enabling users to search for authors, recipients, and names mentioned in a database of 143,500 document records and 23,300 names.

The Digital Edition was created with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

How to Search The Legacy Digital Edition

There are four ways to search the Edison Papers database. Each method has particular strengths, and the best results can usually be obtained by using them in combination. To begin a search, choose the desired method in the "Search Methods" box at the right. Additional information about each search method can also be found by clicking on that method in the box. For general instructions and searching tips, click on "Search Instructions."

  1. Name/Date/Document Type
    Use this method to find all documents containing a particular name (individual, institution, newspaper, etc.) in our database of approximately 23,500 names. This method can also be used to find all documents of a particular date or within a range of dates, as well as documents of a specific type (for example, correspondence, technical notes and drawings, accounts). It is also possible to search by a combination of names (up to four), dates, and document types.
  2. Folder/Volume Descriptions
    Use this method to search for words or phrases in the descriptive introductions that the editors have prepared for each series, subseries, folder, and volume in the digital edition.
  3. Series Notes
    Use this method to obtain a list of the folders and volumes in each series of the digital edition (for example, Notebook Series, Patent Series), as well as a list of the documents in a particular folder or volume. The images from Parts I-III of the microfilm edition (1850-1898) are available online and can be retrieved through the Series Notes. Although Parts IV-V (1899-1919) are not yet digitized, the document records for those two parts can be retrieved through the Series Notes. All of the documents in Parts I-V are from the archives of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. The "Outside Repositories" series contains images of documents from the National Archives, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and numerous other repositories and private collections.
  4. Single Document or Folder
    Use this method if you already know the alphanumeric identification number of the document, folder, or volume you desire to view. For more information about identification numbers, click on "Document/Folder/Volume IDs" in the box at the right.