Walker Library

Microtext Subject Guide: Science

Thomas A. Edison Papers MFM 1166
The extensive collection of papers preserved in the archive at the Edison National Historic Site in West Orange, New Jersey - approximately 3 1/2 million pages in all - is the product of the 60-year career of the genius Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) as inventor, manufacturer, and businessman. Researchers have made little use of this wealth of documentary resources because of its sheer size and complexity of organization. The Edison Papers Project began in the mid-1970's with the aim of producing a microfilm edition of approximately 10 percent of the total extant Edison documents. It was projected to be in six parts, divided chronologically for the most part. Todd Library now has Part I (1850-1878) and Part II (1879-1886). They reproduce laboratory notebooks containing much technical material, extensive correspondence, legal documents, records of his manufacturing activity, scrapbooks of clippings, patent applications, and much other material. Part I (28 reels) also includes the complete set of Edison's 1,093 U.S. Patents spanning 1896-1933 and the testimony and exhibits in the disputes in civil court and Patent Office Proceedings concerning ownership of patents of telephone and telegraph. Part II (Reels 29-97) covers the years primarily devoted to the invention and development of the incandescent electric lighting system, but includes material about the telephone and other technologies as well as legal records concerning electric lighting patent disputes.

  • Format: Microfilm - 97 reels
  • Access: Printed A Guide to Thomas A. Edison Papers; A Selective Microfilm Edition, Part I and Part II, 1985 and 1987, edited by Thomas E. Jeffrey, in MFM Guides
  • Additional Subject: Law
  • Additional Subject: History. U.S.