[X154A7DV], Letter from Josiah Custer Reiff to Uriah Hunt Painter, August 24th, 1888


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[X154A7DV], Letter from Josiah Custer Reiff to Uriah Hunt Painter, August 24th, 1888

Editor's Notes

You sometimes jump at the conclusion that you view of the importance of a certain condition is the only true one & that all others must subordinate their views etc.##In the Phono business there is some risk you may do the same thing--##I don’t suppos you desire to do this.##Surely no one ever hesitated to give you all the power your needed, whenever anything was to be done.##The trouble has been to date the Co had no money & the inventor was not with us. My interest is so entirely nominal that it is not worth my getting into a controversy with anyone about it. I have undertaken to serve you & E.H.J. without any material inerest except you ro he shall consider me entitled to some share in any result ultimately produced--##But I am ahead of my story. You hafe not kept me advised of your whereabouts or I could have explained promptly by letter what I did not deem wise to say by wire.##I presume you recd at Washington my inclosure giving EHJ interview with Mr Smithers & my endorsement & that of EHJ on your letter of a few days since--##If you did receive them I am rather surprised at the curtness of your telegram of yesterday & the tone of your letter recd this AM. No one has asssumed anything & no one has had unauthorized interviews with Mr Lippincott so that your haste is out of place.##The fact is that the NY Herald started of its own notion on Wednesday or Thursdayu to get the true [inwardness?] of the Graphophone situation as it was whispered about that a syndicate was about to floate a local Co etc-- This was explained by EHJs letter to you--##Whether or not I had said anything, but evidently Mr Smithers wrote directly to Aurbach (Lowreys partner) & states the situation as he learned it from EHJ. I refused to talk to the Herald man who was my friend but confidentially advised him to see Aurbach, Cheever & Lippincott & get there story originally & I would tell him whether they stated the truth--##The immediate result was a great excitement in their camp when it became known that the Herald would publish a story & state that the basic patent had not yet been controlled by the Graphophone people. They threatened to sue the Herald for libel if the story was published etc, at which the Herald laughed etc. The Herald man would not publish until he saw me.##Meantime yesterday evng Lippincot called to see E.H.J & EH very briefly & promptly gave him the situation the immediate result was the inclosed letter from Lippincott to E.H.J. Therefore I telegraphed you at Washinton received not reply & then wired Long Branch to see if you were there. I deemed as the door was thus peculiarly opened that special advantage should be taken with good prposect of getting prompt favorable result--and leaving the whole matter with you. Meantime I used all my power to prevent the publication of the story, claiming it could only injure us at this time as all questions were process of settlement. It is our interest to have the first payment made to T.A.E. because that will compel a settlement with us & Lippincott is quite right in saying that such an article in the Herald at this time might spoil everything. I have not said anything don’t know Lppincott, so no harm has been done your dignity as not been offended--##Under the circumstances I have suggested to EHJ as Lippincott expected when form him that he advise l. that you were at Long Brnach & expected to see him there tomorrow. I don’t think you have any more important work on hand at present than this. EHJ & I are both heartily in favor of firmness in insisting on a fair division or ful recognition of our rights, but do not think bulldozing or [wiefulling?] will secure any greater result. Their organization & capital raised are entitled to great consideration.




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