Thomas Edison and Modern America: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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Overview

Thomas A. Edison remains rooted in the popular imagination primarily as the inventor of the practical electric light, but he also continues to function in the lexicons of advertising and politics as a symbol of American individualism, ingenuity, and know-how. Introduced here with a broad range of primary sources for discussion, the American inventor emerges as a prolific mind, a tireless worker, and an inveterate self-promoter. Examples of Edison’s own experimental notes, his personal correspondence, as well as press accounts provide an opportunity to explore the themes of modernization and the American ideology of progress. The volume includes an extended introduction, headnotes to the documents, illustrations, a chronology, discussion questions, a bibliography, and an index.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312247348
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 5/22/2002
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 205
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 7.73 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

THERESA M. COLLINS teaches international history at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The author of Locating Otto Kahn: The Banker-Patron in Modern Time (2002), and a co-editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers, her work is focused on business history, modernity, and cosmopolitan culture.

LISA GITELMAN teaches Media Studies at Catholic University and is a former co-editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers. Her work includes Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era (1999) and the edited collection New Media, 1740-1915 (2002).

GREGORY JANKUNIS is a research associate at the Thomas A. Edison Papers.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Edison, Invention, and Modernity
Changing Times
Thomas Alva Edison
Not Just an Idea
Contexts for Technological Change
A Note about the Text

Chapter 1. An American Character
Edison's Early Years as He Remembered Them, 1908-1909
Satirical Remarks from Edison's Only Diary, 1885
Edison as Suitor, 1885
The Site of Invention: Edison's Letter to James Hood Wright, 1887
A "Private Idea Book," 1888
Theodore Dreiser Interviews Edison for Success Magazine, 1898
"The Tomorrows of Electricity and Invention" by Thomas A. Edison, 1910

Chapter 2. The Fantastic Phonograph
Invention of the Phonograph as Recalled by Edison's Assistant, by Charles Batchelor, ca. 1906
The Phonograph Causes a Stir, March-June, 1878
New York Times, March 25, 1878
New York Times, April 20, 1878
North American Review, June 1878
New York Clipper, March 16, 1878
Popular Science Monthly, April 1878
New York Daily Graphic, May 9, 1878
Weekly (New Jersey) Freedonian, June 18, 1878

Chapter 3. Electric Light and Power
Edison's Sparks of Interest noted in the New York Sun
New York Sun, September 10, 1878
New York Sun, September 16, 1878
Money Matters, Original Correspondence, (October-December 1878)
Edison to Theodore Puskas, October 5, 1878
Telegram from George Gouraud to Edison, October 7, 1878
Edison Reply to George Gouraud, October 8, 1878
J. P. Morgan to Walter Burns, October 30, 1878
Stockton Griffin to Grosvenor Lowrey, November 1, 1878
Grosvenor Lowrey to Edison, December 10, 1878
Experimental Notes, January 1879
Francis Upton, Letters Home, November 1878-April 1879
Experimental Notes, October 1879
Francis Upton, Letters Home, October-November 1879
Experimental Notes, December 1879-January 1880
Francis Upton, Letters Home, December 1879-January 1880
New York Herald, December 21,1879
A Fan Letter, February 1880
Boehm v. Edison: Two Versions of Invention at Menlo Park, August-October 1881
Draft Report for Investors, September 1881
Notice from the Edison Company for Isolated Lighting, November 1885

Chapter 4. Modern Living
Phonographs and the Function of Recorded Sound in Transition
Talking Dolls: News Items and Anecdotes, (1890-1892)
Scientific American, April 26, 1890
Philadelphia Times, January 2, 1891
New York Morning Advertiser, March 14, 1892
Nickel-in-the-Slot Phonographs: News Items, Promotion and Anecdotes, (1890-1892)
New York Journal, November 9, 1890
Phonogram, Published by the North American Phonograph Company, 1891
St. Louis Chronicle, February 14, 1891
Phonogram, Published by the North American Phonograph Company, 1891
The Phonograph at Home: National Phonograph Company Advertisements and Notices, 1905-1908
Electrocution: Original Correspondence and News Items, 1887-88, 1905
A. P. Southwick to Edison, November 8, 1887
A. P. Southwick to Edison, December 5, 1887
Edison to A. P. Southwick, December 19, 1887
New York Herald, November 1888
New York American, February 10, 1905

X-Rays: Original Correspondence and News Items, 1896-97, 1904
Telegram from Edison to A. E. Kennelly, January 27, 1896
Jerome Carty to Edison, February 12, 1896
W. B. Hill to Edison, February 17, 1896
New York World, August 15, 1897
Schenectady Union, October 5, 1904
Storage Batteries: Press Notices and a Letter, 1899, 1902, 1912
New York Dry Goods Economist, September 16, 1899
North American Review, July 1902
Edison to Irving Bloomingdale, April 16, 1912
Concrete Houses: News Items and Original Correspondence, 1901, 1907-1909
Insurance Engineering, Interview with Edison, June 1901
New York Herald, November 9, 1907
Henry Phipps to Edison, November 13, 1907
Edison to Henry Phipps, November 15, 1907
Henry Phipps to Edison, November 22, 1907
Grand Rapids (Michigan) Evening Press, July 9, 1909
Motion Pictures
From History of the Kinetograph, Kinetoscope, and Kineto-phonograph, 1895
Program for Projected Films (n.d.)
Media and Politics
Films Advertised to the Trade, 1901-1902
McKinley's Last Appearance
Ten Edison Records by William Jennings Bryan, 1908
Ten Edison Records by William Howard Taft, 1908

Mass Media and Their Markets
Edison's Policy for Making Records and Related Correspondence, 1912, 1914-15
Policy Statement, May 11, 1912
Edison to Santa Fe Watch Company, November 11, 1914
Edison to Harger & Blish, February 8, 1915
Edison to F.R. Humphries, June 28, 1915
Five Edison Films of the Progressive Era, 1912

Appendices
A Thomas A. Edison Chronology (1847-1931)
Questions for Consideration
Selected Bibliography

Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2003

    From Publisher

    Thomas A. Edison remains rooted in the popular imagination primarily as the inventor of the practical electric light, but he also continues to function in the lexicons of advertising and politics as a symbol of American individualism, ingenuity, and know-how. Introduced here with a broad range of primary sources for discussion, the American inventor emerges as a prolific mind, a tireless worker, and an inveterate self-promoter. Examples of Edison's own experimental notes, his personal correspondence, as well as press accounts provide an opportunity to explore the themes of modernization and the American ideology of progress. The volume includes an extended introduction, headnotes to the documents, illustrations, a chronology, discussion questions, a bibliography, and an index.

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