Charles Edison

School age Charles Edison.
School age Charles Edison.

NPS Photo

Charles Edison was born at Glenmont on August 3, 1890 at Glenmont. Charles graduated from the HotchkissSchool in Lakeville, Connecticut. He married, Carolyn Hawkins, whom he had met in 1912, at his parents' winter home in Fort Myers, Florida, on March 27, 1918. 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 Edison
Charles Edison.

NPS Photo

Charles is the best known of the Edison children 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, but Charles broke a family tradition in the process--he ran as a Democrat. He proposed an updated state constitution for the state, but voters rejected it in a statewide referendum. However, his work inspired later New Jersey legislators to pass a modern constitution after Edison's governorship. He also founded a charitable foundation that now bears his name, the Charles Edison Fund. He died on July 31, 1969.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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