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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:752 1885-1954

Boston Edison Company records


Records of the Boston, Mass. electric utility company Boston Edison Company includes financial records, labor record, production records and photographs, 1884-1986.


  • 1884-1986

Conditions Governing Access

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


161 linear feet (104 volumes, 2 boxes, 56 cartons)
Boston Edison Company Collection demonstrates the organization, financing, and operation of the company and of the firms it absorbed during its first fifty years. The records of the Boston Edison Company include detailed correspondence (the bulk dating from 1886-1893) from the company's beginning, 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 collection does include directors' and stockholders' minutes from many electric companies that were acquired by EEIC of Boston. The numerous financial records include stock records and records that fall under general 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 the Production\Generating Department (e.g. department expenses, 1897-1964) and the Station and Street Engineering departments (appropriations and authorizations, 1897-1948). The collection also includes much technical data such as Production\Generating Department records of electricity production and distribution, as well as plant maintenance and repairs. Beyond this, the collection consists of a variety of records including Sales Department annual reports; a rich collection of technical manuals; and histories, descriptions, and photographs. Company publications related to employees are found in Series G, Labor Records.

Historical Note:

Incorporated in January 1886 as the Edison Electric Illumination Company of Boston, the Boston Edison 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 the Boston Edison Company in July 1937. From its founding, the Boston Edison Company pioneered numerous 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 pollution control projects, which began in the 1930s.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series A. Stockholders', Directors', and Managers' Records, 1881-1970
  2. Series B. General Accounts, 1886-1941
  3. Series C. Attorney's Files, 1901-1948
  4. Series D. Generating/Production Department, 1888-1972
  5. Series E. Station and Street Engineering Departments, 1897-1948
  6. Series F. Installations Department, 1905-1938
  7. Series G. Labor Records, 1909-1978
  8. Series H. Sales Department, 1907-1937
  9. Series I. Company Technical Manuals and Instructions, 1891-1978
  10. Series J. Histories, Descriptions, and Memorabilia, 1892-1986
  11. Series K. Public Information Publications, 1900-1976
  12. Series L. Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1882-1983
  13. Series M. Photographs, 1885-1953
  14. Series N. Association of Edison Electric Illuminating Companies Reports, 1925-1939
  15. Series O. Trade Catalogs and Technical Books, 1888-1961
  16. Series P. Regulations and Reports, 1903-1950
  17. Series Q. Electric Power Industry Histories, Addresses, Etc., 1879-1984

Physical Location



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.
Link to catalog
Boston Edison Company. Boston Edison Company Records, 1884-1986: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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