News of Mercurians and Their Projects

Paul Israel

Paul Israel, a long-time member of SHOT and the Mercurians, has been named Director of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University. He has been with the project since 1980, and is the author of Edison: A Life of Invention (John Wiley, 1998), winner of SHOTís 2000 Dexter Prize. Working on the project under Paulís direction is a team of six editors and two indexers.

The Edison Papers is a major editing project that is publishing the most significant documents related to the inventorís life and work. There are over 5 million pages of documents at the Edison National Historic Site (West Orange, NJ), the primary repository of Edison Papers, as well as several thousand more scattered in other archives and private collections throughout the world.

The project will publish a microfilm edition of about 700,000 documents from the West Orange Site. It also will digitize these and other materials drawn from other repositories and make them available on the Edison project website, where researchers can search by name or date or view them in order by series.

The website also contains all of Edisonís U.S. patents, chronologies, bibliographies, descriptions of businesses associated with Edison, the catalog of the microfilm edition of early motion picture catalogs (also published by the Edison Papers), and a collection of essays, images, and patents concerning Lewis Howard Latimer, an African-American inventor who was an associate and friend of Edison.

Eventually the website will include the annotated documents from the book edition of the Edison Papers. Four volumes have been published to date. Each contains about 400-450 documents, covering the period from Edisonís birth in 1847 to 1878. Volume 5, covering the period 1879-March 1881, will appear in 2003.