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Mss:752 1885-1954

Boston Edison Company. Boston Edison Company Records, 1884-1986: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:752 1885-1954
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: Boston Edison Company records
Date(s): 1884-1986
Quantity: 161 linear feet (104 volumes, 2 boxes, 56 cartons)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Records of the Boston, Mass. electric utility company Boston Edison Company includes financial records, labor record, production records and photographs, 1884-1986.


Gift of Boston Edison Company, 1986 and 1987

Processing Information:

Processed: January 2005
By: Jean Marie Procious

Processing Note:

The records of the Boston Edison Company are, for the most part, in good condition. Some materialwas removed from loose-leaf binders or stub books and placed in acid-free file folders. Oversizedvolumes were either wrapped in acid-free paper or, in the case of extremely large and heavy loose-leafvolumes, simply bound with twine. Loose clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper.Photographs were protected in acid-neutral paper or polyester envelopes. The physical location of materials is noted throughout the collection. All series and subseries that are not noted as being in a carton or box are volumes.

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. Contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edufor more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Boston Edison Company Records. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Historical Note:

Incorporated in January 1886 as the Edison Electric Illumination Company of Boston, the BostonEdison Company was among the earliest American electric utility companies. Between 1901 and 1912,the company absorbed nineteen Boston area electric companies. In 1902, it merged with its chiefcompetitor, the Boston Electric Light Company, and became the dominant provider of electrical powerfor greater Boston. The Edison Electric Illumination Company (EEIC) of Boston was renamed theBoston Edison Company in July 1937. From its founding, the Boston Edison Company pioneerednumerous electrical industry innovations. These included its early efforts to create an undergroundwiring network, its groundbreaking use of high-pressure steam turbine generators in the I 920s, and itspollution control projects, which began in the 1930s.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

Boston Edison Company Collection demonstrates the organization, financing, and operation of thecompany and of the firms it absorbed during its first fifty years. The records of the Boston EdisonCompany include detailed correspondence (the bulk dating from 1886-1893) from the company'sbeginning, covering most aspects of establishing operations. Topics covered include finance,management, marketing, competition, installation, equipment, and various technical matters. Most ofthe directors' and stockholders' minutes have been retained by the company, although the collectiondoes include directors' and stockholders' minutes from many electric companies that were acquired byEEIC of Boston. The numerous financial records include stock records and records that fall undergeneral accounts such as ledgers (1886-1936), journals (1886-1936), notes payable and receivable(1886-1923), and vouchers (1886-1900). Other financial records can be found in the records of theProduction\Generating Department (e.g. department expenses, 1897-1964) and the Station and StreetEngineering departments (appropriations and authorizations, 1897-1948). The collection also includesmuch technical data such as Production\Generating Department records of electricity production anddistribution, as well as plant maintenance and repairs. Beyond this, the collection consists of a varietyof records including Sales Department am1Ual reports; a rich collection of technical manuals; andhistories, descriptions, and photographs. Company publications related to employees are found inSeries G, Labor Records.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Electric utilities--Massachusetts.
Electric utilities--Costs.
Electric utilities--Management.
Electric industries.
Electric industry workers.
Energy industries.
Electric power-plants--Massachusetts.
Account books.
Annual reports.
Personnel records.
Boston Edison Company.
Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston.
Boston Electric Light Company.