On this day, 153 years ago, July 6, 1865, an amazing woman was born: Mina Miller Edison. Mina was a positive force which she demonstrated with her many incredible achievements. Especially as the wife of Thomas Edison, a wonderful mother and her involvement in numerous community projects.
Mina Miller Edison & Chautauqua Institution
Our team excitedly decided to create a blog series on Thomas Edison. Being an electronics manufacturer (Wire Harness Manufacturing and Ground Straps) for over 30 years plus being history buffs, a blog series on Thomas Edison sounded educational and fun.
Mina was not only the wife of Thomas Edison she is also the daughter of Lewis Miller. Mina’s father Lewis Miller was a hugely successful inventor and industrialist as well as the founder of Chautauqua Institution.
Mina Miller and her family spent their summers at Chautauqua Institution (check out our blog from earlier this week to learn about Chautauqua Institution). Mina’s father was one of the founders in 1874. Therefore Mina was extremely proud of her father. Especially his legacy in founding the historic Chautauqua Institution.
Furthermore, Mina was extremely passionate and active with her community involvement. This list includes the Audubon Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Chautauqua Bird Tree and Garden Club, the West Orange Community League and much more.
The Edison Family
She accomplished all this as well as filling the role of loving and supportive wife to Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors and most successful entrepreneurs in American history.
Mina also raised 6 children with Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison lost his first wife, Mary Stilwell Edison at a young age with who he had three children. She passed away in 1884. When Mina married Thomas Edison in 1886, she also became the stepmother to Edison’s three children at the early age of twenty.
Mina and Thomas Edison also had three children together. All who all went on to build successful careers and each had a profound positive impact on society (check our blog next week for more details on the Edison children).
Chautauqua Institution Archives
Once we decided to blog on Mina Miller Edison, we reached out to Chautauqua Institution. They graciously connected our team with the Chautauqua Institution Archives.
The Chautauqua Institution Archives, the Oliver Archives Center, contains thousands of letters from Mina corresponding with friends, colleagues and family members. The Chautauqua Institution archivist, Jonathan Schmitz is extremely knowledgeable on the Edison Family.
It was truly fascinating leafing through dozens of letters. However, this is certainly a far cry from the digital age of texting, emailing, tweeting, snapchatting and instant messaging. For example, the archive hosts thousands of corresponding letters between Mina and her children. Mina kept everything. There was even a receipt from a weekend stay at the Chautauqua Institution legendary hotel, Hotel Athenaeum.
Thank you for reading our post on Mina Miller Edison. This blog continues our series on the Thomas Edison Family. Check out our previous blogs on Thomas Edison below:
- The History of Thomas Edison’s Life
- Inventions of Thomas Edison: Successes and Failures
- Facts You May Not Know About the Thomas Edison Family
Over the next few weeks, our blog series on the Edison Family will dig deeper into the life of Mina Miller Edison.