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American Memory Collection

Several hundred early motion pictures are viewable in the Library's American Memory collections. These collections are profiled below. In addition, broadcast quality videotapes of these films can be ordered using these instructions. For some collections lists of videotapes available are indicated below.

America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915

Work, school, and leisure activities in the United States from 1894 to 1915 are featured in this presentation of 150 motion pictures, 88 of which are digitized for the first time (62 are also available in other American Memory presentations). Highlights include films of the United States Postal Service from 1903, cattle breeding, fire fighters, ice manufacturing, logging, calisthenic and gymnastic exercises in schools, amusement parks, boxing, expositions, football, parades, swimming, and other sporting events.

Prolific inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) has had a profound impact on modern life. In his lifetime, the "Wizard of Menlo Park" patented 1,093 inventions, including the phonograph, the kinetograph (a motion picture camera), and the kinetoscope (a motion picture viewer). Edison managed to become not only a renowned inventor, but also a prominent manufacturer and businessman through the merchandising of his inventions.

List of videotapes



American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920 American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920

This collection illustrates the vibrant and diverse forms of popular entertainment, especially vaudeville, that thrived from 1870-1920. Included are 334 English- and Yiddish-language playscripts, 146 theater playbills and programs, 61 motion pictures, 10 sound recordings and 143 photographs and 29 memorabilia items documenting the life and career of Harry Houdini. Groups of theater posters and additional sound recordings will be added to this anthology in the future.

List of videotapes




Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern NevadaBuckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982

The Buckaroos in Paradise Collection presents documentation of a Nevada cattle-ranching community, with a focus on the family-run Ninety-Six Ranch. The documentation was largely the work of the Paradise Valley Folklife Project (1978-1982), a research initiative conducted by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.



The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906 The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906

This collection contains forty-five films of New York dating from 1898 to 1906 from the Paper Print Collection of the Library of Congress. Of these, twenty-five were made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, while the remaining twenty are Edison Company productions.

List of videotapes




Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916

This collection consists of twenty-six films of San Francisco from before and after the Great Earthquake and Fire, 1897-1916. Seventeen of the films depict San Francisco and its environs before the 1906 disaster.

List of videotapes



Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904 Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904

The Westinghouse Works Collection contains 21 actuality films showing various views of Westinghouse companies. Most prominently featured are the Westinghouse Air Brake Company, the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, and the Westinghouse Machine Company.

List of videotapes



The Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition, 1901The Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition, 1901

The twenty-eight films of this collection are actuality motion pictures from the Paper Print Collection of the Library of Congress. They include footage of President William McKinley at his second inauguration; of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York; of President McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition; and of President McKinley's funeral.

List of videotapes



Origins of American AnimationOrigins of American Animation

The development of early American animation is represented by this collection of 21 animated films and 2 fragments, which spans the years 1900 to 1921. The films include clay, puppet, and cut-out animation, as well as pen drawings. They point to a connection between newspaper comic strips and early animated films, as represented by Keeping Up With the Joneses, Krazy Kat, and The Katzenjammer Kids.



Prosperity and Thrift: the Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929Prosperity and Thrift: the Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929 assembles a wide array of Library of Congress source materials from the 1920s that document the widespread prosperity of the Coolidge years, the nation's transition to a mass consumer economy, and the role of government in this transition.



The Spanish-American War in Motion PicturesThe Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures

This presentation features 68 motion pictures produced between 1898 and 1901 of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine Revolution. The Spanish-American War was the first U.S. war in which the motion picture camera played a role.

List of videotapes.



Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on FilmTheodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film

Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to have his career and life chronicled on a large scale by motion picture companies (even though his predecessors, Grover Cleveland and William McKinley, were the first to be filmed). This presentation features 104 films which record events in Roosevelt's life from the Spanish-American War in 1898 to his death in 1919; 8 of these films have previously appeared in other American Memory presentations

List of videotapes

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  April 28, 2016
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