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Leonard DeGraaf on Edison and the Rise of Innovation

Scotch Plains Public Library invites the public to an evening with Leonard DeGraaf, author of Edison and the Rise of Innovation (2013), which chronicles the life and work of the man who helped engineer the modern world. On Thursday, February 27 at 7:00 PM, DeGraaf will speak, read from his critically acclaimed book, and answer questions from participants. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. This event will be part of Scotch Plains Public Library’s ongoing New Jersey Business and Innovation series.

In Edison and the Rise of Innovation, DeGraaf, archivist for the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, discusses how Thomas Alva Edison combined scientific knowledge, well-equipped laboratories, talented collaborators, investment capital and a bit of showmanship to change the way we innovate new technologies. DeGraaf makes lively and lavish use of never-before-published primary sources to reveal the places where he lived and worked, including his laboratories in New Jersey and Florida.  The book includes Edison's personal and business correspondence, lab notebooks, drawings, and advertising material, along with both historic and modern photographs.  Another famous innovator – Bill Gates – has written the foreword to this important book.

Before joining the National Park Service in 1991, DeGraaf was on the staff of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University.  He is the author of Historic Photos of Thomas Edison (Turner Publishing, 2008), and his articles have appeared Business History Review and other publications.  He received an MA in history from Rutgers University. 

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This program is free and open to all interested participants. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance through the library’s website: or by phone: 908-322-5007, x.204 or e-mail

The Scotch Plains Library is located at 1927 Bartle Avenue, one block from Park Avenue in the center of town.

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