Tremendous vintage circa 1884 matte-finish 6.25 x 10.75 portrait of Edison in a handsome bust-length pose, signed and inscribed in fountain pen, "To my friend Ward, Thomas A. Edison.” Matted and framed to an overall size of 13 x 17.5. In fine condition, with light silvering to some of the darker areas of the image. Consignor notes that the recipient was George G. Ward, a former vice-president and general manager of the Commercial Cable Company. A simply brilliant, crystal-clear portrait of the 37-year-old inventor, taken in one of the most troubling years of his life. Financing for Edison's electric light system was fast diminishing in 1884, and he was prepared to cut his losses and leave the business altogether. On August 9, 1884, Edison's wife Mary, only 28 years old, died unexpectedly, leaving Edison to raise three young children and, without immediate job prospects, searching to borrow $500 to bury his wife.
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