The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
MIND: Documenting Invention

Inventing | Documenting | Things to Collect | Resources


Inventors do not work in isolation, and both personal and professional relationships are important to their work.

Family and friends often provide financial and moral support and may sign as witnesses to an inventor’s ideas. Evidence of these relationships can be found in the inventor’s records, but may also be found in the writings of the inventor's family, colleagues, and acquaintances. Their diaries or letters may contain descriptions of conversations with, visits to, or letters received from the inventor, in which the invention is described.

Professional relationships can include business partners, skilled assistants, patent lawyers, and newspaper reporters. Business relationship are often the key to the inventor's success. Records of these relationships may be contained within the inventor's personal papers as well as in the records of the firms and/or individuals with whom the inventor dealt.

See examples from the collections »

Last Update: 27 Oct 2010

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