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Charles Edison
""Charles Edison.jpg
42nd "Governor of New Jersey
In office
January 21, 1941 – January 18, 1944
Preceded by "A. Harry Moore
Succeeded by "Walter Evans Edge
46th "United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
July 7, 1939 – June 24, 1940
Acting: July 7, 1939 – January 2, 1940
President "Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by "Claude A. Swanson
Succeeded by "Frank Knox
"Assistant Secretary of the Navy
In office
January 18, 1937 – January 1, 1940
President "Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by "Henry L. Roosevelt
Succeeded by "Lewis Compton
Personal details
Born (1890-08-03)August 3, 1890
"West Orange, New Jersey, "U.S.
Died July 31, 1969(1969-07-31) (aged 78)
"New York City, "New York, "U.S.
Political party "Republican (Before 1940)
"Democratic (1940–1962)
"Conservative (1962–1969)
Spouse(s) Carolyn Hawkins

"Thomas Edison (Father)

Mina Miller Edison (mother)
Signature ""
Charles Edison (1890–1969) c. 1900

Charles Edison, (August 3, 1890 – July 31, 1969) was a son of "Thomas Edison and Mina Miller Edison. Commonly known as "Lord Edison", he was a businessman, inventor and animal behaviorist who became Assistant and then "United States Secretary of the Navy, and served as the "42nd "Governor of "New Jersey.



Born at his parents' home, Glenmont, in "West Orange, New Jersey, he graduated from the "Hotchkiss School in "Lakeville, Connecticut in 1909.[1] In 1915–1916 he operated the 100-seat "Little Thimble Theater" with "Guido Bruno. There they played the works of "George Bernard Shaw and "August Strindberg while Charles contributed verse to "Bruno's Weekly" under the pseudonym "Tom Sleeper". Late in 1915, he brought his players to "Ellis Island to perform for Chief Clerk Augustus Sherman and more than four hundred detained immigrants. These avant-garde activities came to a halt when his father put him to work. He married Carolyn Hawkins on March 27, 1918. They had no children. For a number of years Charles Edison ran "Edison Records. Charles became president of his father's company "Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1927, and ran it until it was sold in 1957, when it merged with the "McGraw Electric Company to form the "McGraw-Edison Electric Company. Edison was board chairman of the merged company until he retired in 1961.[2]

On January 18, 1937, "President Roosevelt appointed Charles Edison as "Assistant Secretary of the Navy, then as "Secretary on January 2, 1940, "Claude A. Swanson having died several months previously.[3] Edison himself only kept the job until June 24, resigning to run his gubernatorial campaign. During his time in the Navy department, he advocated construction of the large "Iowa-class "battleships, and that one of them be built at the "Philadelphia Navy Yard, which secured votes for Roosevelt in "Pennsylvania and "New Jersey in the "1940 presidential election; in return, Roosevelt had BB-62 named the "USS New Jersey.[4]

In 1940, he won election as "Governor of New Jersey, running in reaction to the "political machine run by "Frank Hague, but broke with family tradition by declaring himself a "Democrat. As governor, he proposed updating the "New Jersey State Constitution. Although it failed in a "referendum and nothing was changed during his tenure, state legislators did reform the constitution later.[2] In 1948, he established a charitable foundation, originally called "The Brook Foundation", now the Charles Edison Fund.[5]

Between 1951 and 1969, he lived in the "Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where he struck up a friendship with "Herbert Hoover, who also lived there.[6] In 1962, Edison was one of the founders of the "Conservative Party of New York State.[7]

In 1967, Edison hosted a meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York that led to the founding of the Charles Edison Youth Fund, later the Charles Edison Memorial Youth Fund. Attending the meeting were Rep. "Walter Judd (R-MN), author "William F. Buckley, organizer "David R. Jones, and Edison's political advisor Marvin Liebman. The name of the organization was changed in 1985 to "The Fund for American Studies,[8] in keeping with Edison's request to drop his name after 20 years of use.

In 1924, Edison joined the New Jersey Society of the "Sons of the American Revolution. He was assigned national member number 39,292 and state society number 2,894. [9]

Charles Edison, 1931

Charles Edison died on July 31, 1969 in "New York City, three days shy of his 79th birthday.[10] He is buried in "Rosedale Cemetery in "Orange, New Jersey.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Alumni Award: PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS". The Hotchkiss School. 2004. Archived from the original on March 10, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "GEDIS.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2006. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  3. ^ Secretaries of the Navy, "Naval Historical Center. Accessed August 6, 2007.
  4. ^ Comegno, Carol. "Historian details the role politics played in battleship's creation", "Courier-Post, January 6, 2000. Accessed May 27, 2007. "Professor Jeffery Dorwart, of Rutgers-Camden said the ship was named after the state by President Franklin Roosevelt to repay a political debt to Charles Edison, the son of inventor Thomas Edison."
  5. ^ "Charles Edison". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2007. 
  6. ^ John D. Venable, Out of the Shadow: the Story of Charles Edison (Charles Edison Fund, 1978), p. 271.
  7. ^ Niels Bjerre-Poulsen, Right Face: Organizing the American Conservative Movement 1945–65 (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2002), p. 143. ("ISBN "978-8772898094)
  8. ^ History Archived July 18, 2012, at the "Wayback Machine., "The Fund for American Studies
  9. ^ https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=WOu90&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&indiv=1&db=SARMemberApps&gss=angs-d&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=charles&gsfn_x=0&gsln=edison&gsln_x=0&MSAV=1&uidh=vt7&pcat=39&fh=0&h=476755&recoff=&ml_rpos=1
  10. ^ "Charles Edison, 78, Ex-Governor Of Jersey and U.S. Aide, Is Dead". "New York Times. August 1, 1969. Retrieved July 21, 2007. Charles Edison, former Governor of New Jersey, ... Mr. Edison, who had been admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, was 78 years ... 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
"Henry L. Roosevelt
"Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
"Lewis Compton
Preceded by
"Claude A. Swanson
"United States Secretary of the Navy
Acting: 1939–1940

Succeeded by
"Frank Knox
Party political offices
Preceded by
"A. Harry Moore
"Democratic nominee for "Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
"Vincent J. Murphy
Political offices
Preceded by
"A. Harry Moore
"Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
"Walter Evans Edge
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
"John Winant
President of the "National Municipal League
Succeeded by
"Henry Bruère
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