[LB029456], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Cornell University, Robert Henry Thurston, May 17th, 1889


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[LB029456], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Cornell University, Robert Henry Thurston, May 17th, 1889

Editor's Notes

"I have conversed with Mr. Edison upon the subject of your personal letter to him under date 6th inst. And as he has not time to explain his views fully to you himself. I take occasion at his request to communicate to you the impressions I received as to his opinion.##You of course understand that Mr. Edison takes great interest in the work with which you are so closely identified, and that the [promulgation?] of any scheme designed to facilitate or enlarge its scope, has his entire sympathy and he also stands ready to render such assistance as he feels he can consistently extend. The case in question however is one which he believes should be laid before men who have no means of perpetuating their names except by the erection or endowment of an institution that their identification therewith is, as Mr. Edison expresses it "plutocrats who have acquired their money easily"--which he means men who have amassed wealth without conferring at the same time any [unusual?] or lasting benefit upon others . Many of these are really glad to have pointed out to them a means by which they can succeed in attaching permanency to their names, and the present requirements of your college furnish a most desirable opportunity for some such person to take advantage of.##Mr Edison feels that the pioneers and real laborers in the field of Electrical Science by contributing to the world the result of their research and by spending their time and energy in clearing the way for those who follow perform their whole duty and that others should interest themselves in and provide for the propogation of the knowledge thus acquired. ##So far as he is personally concerned all the money which he realizes from his successful experiments is at once absorbed by further experimentation--doubtless the most profitable investment that could be made of it for the benefit of mankind--and while he might have answered your letter by simply saying that he had not the means available to fall in practically you’re your ideas his desire for the success of your undertaking has prompted him to make the suggestion which I have conveyed, believing that if you follow it up it will lead to the realization of your wishes.##In regard to furnishing Cornell with the models of all his inventions, Mr Edison will consideration a little later on. At the present time the whole of his apparatus, excepting that in daily use in his Laboratory, is in Paris. I am respectfully, A.O. Tate.




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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