The Thomas Edison National Historical Park Archives preserves approximately five million pages of original material documenting the life and work of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), including Edison's personal and business correspondence, laboratory notebooks, legal files, patent records, engineering drawings, manufacturing and financial records, advertising and sales material, payroll records, historical photographs, trade catalogs, sheet music and the papers of Edison associates and family members.
The archives are open to researchers by appointment only, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 3:30PM, except Federal holidays. We ask researchers to schedule their appointment at least two weeks in advance.
Portions of the Edison archives for the period up to 1919 have been published by the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at Rutgers University and are available on microfilm. Documents for the period between 1850 and 1898 are also available in digital form at the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project website. A searchable index to all published material is also available at the Thomas A. Edison Papers website.
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.”