Madeleine Edison Sloane was T.A. Edison’s daughter with his second wife Mina Miller Edison. She was affectionately called “Toots” by her relatives. She attended Oak Park Place School in Akron, OH and Bryn Mawr College in PA. She married John Eyre Sloane in 1914. She and John had four sons, Edison’s only grandchildren.
Madeleine was a sharp woman. As a lifelong Republican, she briefly ran for Congress in 1938. But it was during WW II that she became a brilliant leader of the Red Cross unit in Bloomfield and the Oranges in NJ. One of her observations in her work early in the war was that when someone disappeared for a few days and then showed up and started working exceptionally hard, looking somber, it was not a good idea to greet them with a big show of cheery enthusiasm. Most likely, someone they loved had just died in the war and the grief was very raw.
With entirely volunteer labor, her Red Cross unit packaged 3 ½ million sterile
surgical dressings in the four years she ran the unit. They collected 8146 pints of
blood and any number of more or less incredible achievements – mostly in the face of male/governmental obstruction. When a whole forest of newly created
government committees and boards stalled things, she simply gave orders and made them happen anyway. She was that tough. She was the World War II Edison version of Rosie the Riveter. By the end of the War, she was managing 1000+ volunteers and a motor pool of 28 vehicles. They had trained several thousand adult and junior members in first aid and more.