Mina Miller Edison
Mina (pronounced MI-na) was perhaps better prepared to be the wife of a famous man. By the time she met Thomas Edison, his name was already a household word. She had a more worldly education, having graduated from AkronHigh School and having attended Mrs. Johnson's Ladies' Seminary in Boston. Besides, her father was a millionaire inventor himself.
Mina Miller was born on July 6, 1865, the seventh of eleven children. She met Thomas Edison at the home of a mutual friend of her father and Edison, the inventor Ezra Gilliland. Her future husband claims he taught her Morse code so that they could converse in secret, even while the family watched. This is how Edison claims he proposed marriage and how she responded "yes." The two married on February 24, 1886.
The couple moved into Glenmont, the Edisons' new home, after their honeymoon in Florida. At age twenty, the new Mrs. Edison became a stepmother to Mary's three children. It was not an easy task. She was less than ten years older than stepdaughter Marion. Although Mina tried to nurture her new family, Marion later described Mina as "too young to be a mother but too old to be a chum." Her role as Mrs. Thomas Edison was also difficult: Edison frequently stayed late at the laboratory and forgot anniversaries and birthdays. Yet he seemed to love his "Billie." A note found in one of Mina's gardening books reads, "Mina Miller Edison is the sweetest little woman who ever bestowed love on a miserable homely good for nothing male (sic)"
Four years after Edison died, Mina married Edward Everett Hughes, whom she had met during the 1870s when their families both had summer homes in Chautauqua, New York. The two lived in Glenmont until Hughes died in 1940, when she once again adopted the name of Mrs. Edison. She lived at Glenmont until her death on August 24, 1947.
Did You Know?
Clarence Madison Dally an employee of Thomas Edison at his West Orange research labs volunteered to work on the newly discovered x-rays. Using a fluoroscope, made of a fluoride gas filled light and two pieces of cardboard to focus the x-rays, Dally would expose himself to high concentrations of radiation eventually leading to radiation poisoning. After Dally’s death when Edison was asked about x-rays he would respond with “Don’t ask me about x-rays. I am afraid of them.”