Mina Miller Edison and Her Family Life

The Thomas & Mina Miller Edison Family 

Continuing our blog series on Mina Miller Edison, we take a deep look into her family life. In particular, the six children that she raised with her husband, Thomas Edison

The family of Mina Miller Edison started when she married Thomas Edison on February 24, 1886. Mina assumed the responsibility for managing two large homes, each well staffed with servants. After two years of marriage, Madeleine was born in 1888. Next came Charles in 1890, and Theodore Miller in 1898.

Madeleine Edison

Madeleine was born on May 31st, 1888, the first child born to Mina. She was born in Glenmont, the Edison Family home in New Jersey. She attended BrynMawrCollege in Pennsylvania for two years. Madeleine married John Eyre Sloane. She married him in the Drawing Room at Glenmont on June 17, 1914. Her parents were not the happiest about this marriage being he was an aviator. Madeleine and John had four sons, who happened to be Thomas Edison’s only grandchildren from either marriage.

Madeleine briefly ran for Congress in 1938, she sadly lost. During World War II she gave much of her time to blood drives. This being for the New Jersey Red Cross. She also administered the Edison Birthplace in Milan, Ohio after her mother’s death. In the 1950s Madeleine served on the Board of Directors for Western Union. She died on February 14, 1979.


Charles Edison

Charles Edison was born into the Edison Family at the Glenmont on August 3, 1890. Charles graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. He married Carolyn Hawkins, whom he had met in 1912 then married on March 27, 1918. Finally, he became president of his father’s company, Thomas A. Edison, Incorporated, in 1927. He ran the company until it was sold in 1959.

Charles is the best known because of his second career, in public service. In the mid-1930s he served in the cabinet of President Franklin Roosevelt.  First as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, then as Acting Secretary. New Jersey voters elected him as their governor in 1940. Charles however, broke a family tradition in the process running as a Democrat. He also founded a charitable foundation that now bears his name, the Charles Edison Fund. He died on July 31, 1969


Theodore Miller Edison

Theodore Miller Edison was the last to be born at Glenmont on July 10, 1898. Thomas Edison was 51 when his final son was born. Charles is named after a beloved brother of Mina. He had just died in the Spanish-American War. Theodore first attended the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and then Montclair Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. Finally, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he earned his physics degree in 1923. He was the only member of the Edison family to graduate from college.

Theodore did work for his father’s company after graduation. After starting as an ordinary lab assistant, he worked his way up to technical director of research and engineering for Thomas A. Edison, Inc. He eventually founded his own company, Calibron Industries, Inc. Also, he built his own smaller laboratory in West Orange. Charles earned over 80 patents in his career. In 1925 he married Anna Maria Osterhout, a graduate of Vassar. He became an ardent environmentalist. He was an opponent of the Vietnam War and advocate of Zero Population Growth. He lived in West Orange with his wife Anna until his death on November 24, 1992.

Mina’s Step-Children 

With the marriage between Thomas and Mina, she took on his three children from the first marriage. Marion, twelve years old, Thomas, Jr. ten years old, and William Leslie eight years old. As a result, they became part of her family to raise.

Marion Estelle Edison

Marion was the first born of Thomas Edison’s children. She was born on February 18, 1873, and gained the nickname “Dot” as a child after Morse Code.  Marion went to Somerville Seminary in Somerville, New Jersey. She also attended Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts. In 1895 she married Karl Oscar Oeser, a German army lieutenant.  They lived in Germany through the First World War.  Unfortunately, her marriage ended in divorce in 1921. Finally, she then returned to the United States, where she died on April 16, 1965.


Thomas Alva Edison Jr

Thomas Alva, Junior, was born on January 10, 1876. He was nicknamed “Dash” after Morse Code like his sister He went to St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. Then moved on to J.M.Hawkins School in Staten Island, New York. He went on to marry stage actress Marie Louise Toohey in 1899. However, the marriage ended within a year. He next married Beatrice Heyzer. Thomas Jr sold the use of his name to advertise “quack” medicines and dubious inventions. His father disapproved of this and eventually asked him to change his name. Thomas Jr. briefly went by the name of Thomas Willard. His efforts at inventing and starting a mushroom farm failed. He died on August 25, 1935


William Leslie Edison

William Leslie was born on October 26, 1878. He went to school at St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire. Then also attended J.M.Hawkins School on Staten Island. He later studied at the Sheffield scientific school at Yale. William soon married Blanche Travers. William Edison served in the military during the Spanish-American War in 1898. He also served again in the First World War. Like his brother he turned to farm life, breeding chickens. He died on August 10, 1937.


For more information on Thomas Edison’s Family life check out these pages!

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