Several months ago we decided to blog about the greatest inventor and entrepreneur in electronics, Thomas Edison. At that time, little did we know where this path would lead us. As a result, we were blessed to interview Professor Thomas Jeffrey, Senior Editor Emeritus of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University.
Professor Thomas Jeffrey was extremely gracious and open to granting an interview on Thomas Edison. A subject that he has researched extensively for almost 40 years. For more information, click here to check out a recent blog that includes a quick bio and introduces Professor Thomas Jeffrey.
Thomas Edison Connection to Chautauqua Institution
As we started our blog series on the Edison Family, we discovered a local connection with Thomas Edison and his amazing wife Mina Miller Edison to Chautauqua Institution. While connecting with the Chautauqua Institution Archives, our research led us to the Edison Papers at Rutgers University.
Mina Miller Edison’s father, Lewis Miller, co-founded Chautauqua Institution during the summer of 1874. Fast forward 144 years later, Chautauqua Institution continues to thrive delivering an amazing lineup every summer season. Chautauqua Institution welcomes over 100,000 visitors each summer who explore spirituality, philosophy, cultural vitality and the arts. In addition, click here to learn more.
As a college senior as well as working as a social media intern, learning about the incredible life of Mina Miller Edison led to a great deal of inspiration and an eagerness to explore deeper.
As a result, we learned Mina strongly valued education. Therefore after graduating from Akron High School, Mina continued her education at the Miss Abby H. Johnson’s Home & Day School for Young Ladies in Boston.
My Interview with Professor Thomas Jeffrey
This interview was made possible thanks to Jonathan Schmitz, archivist of Chautauqua Institution. Jonathan provided this outstanding connection to Professor Thomas Jeffrey due to our interest to learn more about Mina Miller Edison..
Ready for this exciting interview with Professor Thomas Jeffrey. Here we go:
Question 1: Did Mina have a good relationship with her family?
Answer: Yes, she wrote a lot to her sister Grace as she grew up. She also wrote to her mother and father as well. They had a strong relationship which helped Mina grow into an amazing woman.
As a result of the Edison papers, you can see these interactions at these links at Rutgers University:
- Grace: http://edison.rutgers.edu/digital/document/X465A
- Mother: http://edison.rutgers.edu/digital/document/X018A700C
- Father: http://edison.rutgers.edu/digital/document/X018A700A
Also here is a clip from my interview talking about her family life:
Question 2: Do you think Mina’s Father’s success helped her want to achieve as well?
Answer: Yes. She wanted to be more than just a housewife, she wanted to be a businesswoman as well.
Also here is a clip from my interview talking about this question:
Question 3: Do you think Mina being such a big part of Edison’s business made her kids want to achieve like their mother?
Answer: Yes, This is especially true when it came to seeing a difference between Mina’s stepchildren and her own children.
Also here is a clip from my interview on this question:
Question 4: Did Mina want one of her children to take over Thomas Edison’s business?
Answer: Yes, she wanted Charles to take over the business. She wanted the business to stay in the family.
Also here is a clip from my interview on this topic:
Question 5: How did Mina feel about Thomas spending time in his lab?
Answer: She didn’t like him spending to much time in his lab. She wanted him present to be part of their family.
Finally, Here is a clip from my interview about a time where Mina had to go get Thomas from his lab.
Connect with Us
Thank you for reading this post. Our blog series on the Edison Family continues with our next post on the Edison Papers at Rutgers University.
Another upcoming post on the Edison Family includes our exciting interview with Ted Arnn, the great-nephew to Thomas and Mina Edison.