Theodore Edison's 1939 Trip to Four National Parks

Theodore Edison hiking on a mountain, probably in the Grand Tetons.
Theodore Edison hiking in the mountains- probably Grand Tetons.

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These photographs, brochures and stickers, from the Thomas Edison NHP archives, document Theodore Edison's August 1939 trip to four national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Olympic and Crater Lake.

Travel Brochure for Yellowstone, Glacier and Rocky Mountain parks.
Vacation planning brochure used by Theodore and Ann Edison.

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Theodore worked for many years in West Orange as a researcher, first for his father's company Thomas A. Edison, Inc. and later for his own engineering consulting firm, Calibron, but a love of nature and the "wild places" motivated his trips to the natural wonders of the west.

Time table for red lodge tours.
Time tables for Red Lodge tours, one of the lodges the Edison's stayed at on their trip out west.

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Traveling by railroad via Newark and Chicago, Theodore and his wife Ann arrived at Red Lodge, Montana on August 7, 1939. The next day they passed through Yellowstone to the T Cross Ranch, where they spent three days hiking in Grand Teton. They toured Yellowstone from August 13 to August 15.

Driver's License for Crater Lake.
In a folder that Theodore kept on his trip to the National Parks was this License to Operate a Motor Vehicle.

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On the evening of August 15, they boarded a Northern Pacific train at Gardiner, Montana, which took them to Seattle. In Seattle, the Edison's rented a car from the "Hertz Drive Ur Self" system, and took a car ferry to Port Angeles, Washington.

Window sticker for Crater Lake.
Sticker for Crater Lake National Park which Theodore saved from his 1939 trip.

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After a side trip to Olympic's rain forest, they drove south along the Washington coast, crossing the Columbia River by ferry into Oregon at Astoria. Continuing south through Waldport, Coquille and Grants Pass, they arrived at Crater Lake on August 24.

Train schedule for Burlington - Norther Pacific line.
A train schedule used by the Edison's to plan their trip.

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From Crater Lake they continued on to San Francisco, which they reached on August 29. The Edison's left San Francisco on the evening of September 2, returning to Newark via the Western Pacific Railroad to Salt Lake City and the Burlington Route to Chicago.

Below are several pictures of mementos that Theodore and his wife Ann collected from their trip.

Bear walking through woods
Snapshot of a bear that was walking through the woods was most likely taken by Theodore.

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Safety sticker
Sticker or sign reminding visitors to be safe while visiting the park.

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Brochure for What to Do at the Grand Canyon
A brochure that Theodore picked up on his trip to Yellowstone. 

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Picture of a mountain most likely taken by Theodore Edison.
This photo was most likely taken by Theodore Edison on his trip out west in 1939.

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Last updated: April 27, 2015

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