The following is the schedule, recently disseminated by the
H-TECH list, focusing upon Thomas Edison, elements of which would
undoubtedly be of interest to subscribers to this list. See particularly
the panel "Edison and Motion Pictures" on 27 June 1997.
Department of Theatre Arts [log in to unmask]
Wright State University office (937) 775-4581 or 3072
Dayton, OH 45435-0001 USA facsimile (937) 775-3787
"I have been in the scholastic profession long enough to know that nobody
enters it unless he has some very good reason which he is anxious to conceal."
--- Augustus Fagin, Esq., Ph.D, in Evelyn Waugh's
*Decline and Fall*
THOMAS A. EDISON SESQUICENTENNIAL CONFERENCE
June 25-27, 1997
In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Thomas A. Edison's birth, the
National Park Service, Organization of American Historians and New Jersey
Studies Academic Alliance are pleased to announce a three-day conference,
"Interpreting Edison." This conference, which will be held June 25-27, 1997 at
Rutgers University-Newark and the Edison National Historic Site, will examine
the interpretation of Edison's life and work in academic scholarship, at museums
and historic sites, and in the classroom.
Scholars from the United States, Canada and Europe will present new research on
Edison's role as inventor, business leader and cultural figure. Representatives
from five major U.S. Edison-related sites will discuss their interpretative and
museum management programs. There will also be a series of sessions designed to
help teachers integrate Edison-related themes into the history curriculum.
The opening plenary session features remarks by distinguished scholars Ruth S.
Cowan, David Nye, Thomas J. Schlereth, John M. Staudenmeier, and Alan
Other highlights of the conference include a virtual tour of Edison's
reconstructed Menlo Park Laboratory at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn,
Michigan; lunch on the grounds of Edison's estate, Glenmont; and a demonstration
of the Library of Congress early motion picture webpage. Edison descendant and
University of New Haven professor David Edison Sloane will speak about the
Edison family at the conference banquet.
The basic registration fee of $30 covers the cost of all lunches, coffee breaks
and reception at the Robeson Campus Center. An additional $20 will be charged
for the Glenmont lunch and $35 for the conference banquet.
For more information about the conference, registration or hotel accommodations,
Edison National Historic Site
Main Street and Lakeside Avenue
West Orange, New Jersey 07052
201-736-0550, ext. 22
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
DAY 1. Wednesday, June 25, 1997 (Robeson Campus Center)
8:00-9:00 am Registration, coffee
9:00-9:15 Introductory remarks
9:15-9:45 Opening Keynote: To Be Announced
9:45-12:00 Edison in US History
Ruth S. Cowan, State University of New York-Stony Brook
David E. Nye, Center for American Studies, Odense University
Thomas J. Schlereth, University of Notre Dame
John M. Staudenmeier, University of Detroit-Mercy
Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University
Moderator: Richard Waldron, New Jersey Historical Commission
1:00-3:00 Concurrent Session (2 hours)
Session 1A The Wizard Hits the Market: The Commercialization of Edison's
"The Edison Manufacturing Enterprises and the Emergence of Modern
Marketing" David B. Sicilia, University of Maryland
"Edison in Transition: Marketing the Electric Pen"
Jill E. Cooper, Rutgers University
"Selling Electricity: The Edison Sales Campaign"
Mary Ann Hellrigel, Case Western Reserve University
"Edison in the Mass Market: The Commercial Development of the Amusement
Phonograph" Leonard DeGraaf, Edison National Historic Site
Moderator: David B. Sicilia
Session 1B Circuits of Invention at Edison's Laboratory
"Reading the Social Voices in the Edison Archives"
Charles Bazerman, University of California at Santa Barbara
"An African-American in the Edison System: The Assimilation of Lewis
Howard Latimer" Rayvon Fouche, Washington University
"Record Labels and the Paper Chase from Invention to Product"
Lisa Gitelman, Rutgers University
Moderator: W. Bernard Carlson, University of Virginia
Session 1C Teacher's Seminar: "The Extraordinary Mr. Edison"
Scotia-Glenville, NY Children's Museum
Claudia McLaughlin, Executive Director
3:00-3:15 Coffee Break
3:15-5:15 Concurrent Sessions (2 Hours)
Session 2A "Puzzles in Progress: The Later Edison Inventions"
"Start at the Top and Work Down: Edison and the Fluoroscope"
George D. Tselos, Edison National Historic Site
"The Miracle Battery: Edison and the Electric Vehicle, 1895-1915"
Gilbert P.A. Mom, HTS-Autotechnich, Hogeschool van Arnhem en
Nijmegen, Arnhem, the Netherlands
"Rubber from Goldenrod: Edison's Final Quest"
Andrea C. Dragon, College of St. Elizabeth
Moderator: Theresa Collins, Rutgers University
Session 2B Teacher's Seminar: Moving Images as Historical Artifacts"
John E. O'Connor, New Jersey Institute of Technology/Rutgers-Newark
Session 2C The Personal Edison
"Edison the Man -- A New Perspective"
Neil Baldwin, Author, Edison: Inventing the Century
"Life With a Great Man: A Biographical Sketch by Mina Miller Edison"
Deirdre A. Yates, Seton Hall University
Moderator: David Edison Sloane, University of New Haven
5:15-6:15 Reception, Robeson Campus Center
7:30-9:00 Banquet, Gateway Hilton
"A Room of One's Own: Thomas Edison and His Children"
David Edison Sloane, University of New Haven
DAY 2. THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 1997 (Morning Session at Robeson Campus Center)
8:30-12:00 Interpreting Edison at Historic Sites and Museums
8:40-9:00 Donald Gfell, Edison Birthplace Museum, Milan, Ohio
9:00-9:30 Steve Williams, Port Huron Museum, Port Huron, Michigan
9:30-10:00 Michele Wehrwein Albion, Edison-Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers,
10:00-10:15 Coffee Break
10:15-11:00 Virtual Tour of Edison's Reconstructed Menlo Park Laboratory
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
11:00-11:30 Andre Millard, Edison's West Orange Laboratory
Moderator: Dwight T. Pitcaithley, Chief Historian, National Park Service
1200-5:00 Edison NHS Tour/Glenmont Lunch
12:00-12:30 Travel to Edison NHS
12:30-2:00 Glenmont Lunch
2:00-4:30 West Orange Laboratory Tour
4:30 Return to Newark
NO PROGRAM SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY EVENING
Day 3. Friday, June 27, 1996 (Robeson Campus Center)
8:00-10:00 Concurrent Sessions (2 hours)
Session 3A Edison and Motion Pictures
"Edison, Dickson, Ramsaye and Hendricks: With Friends Like These, Who
Needs Enemies" Paul C. Spehr, Library of Congress
"Thomas Edison and the Impossible Archeology of the Cinema"
Michael Punt, University of Wales, College Newport
"Trick or Treat? Anxiety and Pleasure in Turn of the Century Film"
Meryem Ersoz, University of Oregon
"The Presence of Edison Films in Quebec up to World War I"
Pierre Veronneau, Cinematheque Qu,b,cois, Montreal
Session 3B Edison in Great Britain: An International Perspective
"Edison as Viewed Through British Eyes"
Brian Bowers, Senior Curator, Science Museum, London
Edison's Impact on Britain: Engineering, Business and Popular
Perceptions of Electricity, 1878-90"
John F. Wilson, University of Leeds
"Thomas Edison's British Phonograph Business"
Peter Martland, Cambridge University, Corpus Christi College
Moderator: Richard Sher, New Jersey Institute of
Session C Teacher's Seminar: Bringing Edison into the Classroom
"Edison Pioneers Are Our Ancestors"
Barbara Brewer, Capital High School, Olympia, Washington
"Studying Remarkable Failure and Unremarkable Success: Themes From
Edison's Work in the 20th Century"
Gregory Field, University of Michigan at Dearborn
"The Edison Company's Domestic Policy: Products For Every Purse and
Barbara Markham, Padua Academy, Wilmington, Delaware
Robert Gabrick, White Bear High School, White Bear Lake, Minn
Moderator: Karen Sloat-Olsen, Edison National Historic Site
10:00-10:15 Coffee Break
10:15-12:15 Concurrent Sessions (2 hours)
Session 4A Edison and the Electric Light
"Edison and Alternating Current: The Defender's Dilemma"
George Wise, General Electric Company
"Without Cost to the City: The Awarding of the Edison Electric
Illuminating Company's Franchise in New York City"
Brian Adkins, Rutgers University
"Edison and J.P. Morgan: The Battle over Electrical Manufacturing"
Joseph P. Sullivan, Rutgers University
"Everything But the Kitchen Sink: Edison at the 1884 Philadelphia
International Electrical Exhibition" Jane Mork Gibson,
Moderator: Paul B. Israel, Thomas A. Edison Papers, Rutgers University
Session 4B Edison as Cultural Icon
"Reinventing the Inventor: Images of Edison over the Years"
Marianne Berger Woods, Meadville, Pennsylvania
"Model for Magic: Edison as Enduring Personification in Imaging
Progress" Amy Sue Bix, Iowa State University
"Between Art and Hubris: Edison in Villiers d'Isle-Adam's L'Eve Future"
Kai Mikonnen, University of Tampere, Finland
Moderator: Christopher Sellers, New Jersey Institute of
Session 4C Will the Real Thomas Edison Please Stand Up? First-Person
Interpretations of Edison
Hank Fincken, Indianapolis, Indiana
Peter Small, Whittier, California
Drew Wilson, Mission Viejo, California
Moderator: Sarah E. Henrich, Historical Society of Rockland County
1:15-1:45 "Films from the Black Maria"
Charles Musser, Yale University
1:45-2:30 "Screening Edison on the Web"
Library of Congress, National Digital Library
Thomas A. Edison Papers Project
2:30-2:45 Coffee Break
2:45-3:30 Cylinder Phonograph Sound Recording Demonstration
Jerry Fabris, Edison National Historic Site
Peter Dilg, Recording Expert
Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University
3:30-4:00 Summary Keynote: "Can I Still Call him Al? A Former Edison Staffer
Looks Back on Edison History"
Edward Jay Pershey, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio
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