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

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  • Throwing mail into bags, U.S.P.O. /

    This film concerns the separation of mail parcels before distribution. A semicircular rack of mail bags, each tagged with a different location, is placed on a set of the interior of a postal building. Two postal employees throw packages of envelopes brought to them by another employee into the marked mail bags.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • International contest for the heavyweight championship--Squires vs. Burns, Ocean View, Cal., July 4th, 1907 /

    This is an actual film of the heavyweight championship prize fight between Canadian, Tommy Burns (defender) and Australian, Bill Squires. The fight was labeled the shortest and fiercest prize fight on record up to that time.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1907
  • Carriers leaving building, U.S.P.O. [Version 1] /

    The opening scene shows the steps of a large public building. Above the steps is a door out of which, coming toward the camera position, are approximately a hundred and fifty mail carriers of the postal service. They are in uniform and are all carrying mail bags. They continue down the steps in formation for the full length of the film.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Lathrop School, calisthenics /

    A group of preadolescent boys and girls is standing in a row facing the camera position. In back of them is a wall on which is written "Kansas City, Mo." As the film progresses, the students go through a series calisthenics, performing them in unison, and continue this throughout the film.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Special delivery messenger, U.S.P.O. /

    As the scene opens, the front of a house, the shrubbery, a staircase, and the sidewalk are visible. From camera left, using a flying dismount, comes a bicycle rider in the uniform of a special delivery messenger. After parking his bicyle, he goes up the stairs to the front door of the house. A woman emerges, he hands her a letter, returns to his ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Wagons loading mail, U.S.P.O. /

    The photographer placed his camera to encompass as much of the loading ramp of a mail delivery building as possible. As the film begins, several horse-drawn postal transportation vehicles are backed up to the ramp. At the end of the film, a postal delivery wagon pulled by one horse enters the scene and is backed against the ramp.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Clerks tying bags, U.S.P.O. /

    Two employees of the Post Office Department are removing stacks of letters from the aperatures in the "case" or cabinet and tying them into bundles. They then throw the tied envelopes into the appropriate sacks.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Loading sugar cane /

    The short length of this films leaves much to be desired to give proper description. However, it is possible to see a large receiving car in a cane brake where several people are visible chopping cane and carrying it to the receiver. There is one person wearing white trousers, a blue coat, and a straw hat who comes from behind the camera position and ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Panoramic view of Electric Tower from a balloon /

    The title indicates that this film was taken from a balloon. However, there is no aerial photography. Instead it is an up and down or elevation of the camera on the then-famous Electric Tower built for the Exposition at Buffalo, New York. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE ELECTRIC TOWER FROM A BALLOON. Unhabile [code for telegraphic orders]. Here ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Kindergarten ball game /

    A row of approximately twenty-five children under the age of six can be seen facing the camera. They stand in front of a long blackboard with the words "Kansas City, Mo." written on it. As the film continues, the children bounce the balls they have in their hands, then form a circle and march around the bouncing balls.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Chicago-Michigan football game /

    Excerpts of a 1903 football game between the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Includes views of the uniformed players, the spectators in the stadium and surrounding stands, and the game itself.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Society ballooning, Pittsfield, Mass. /

    At the beginning of the film, a group of men can be seen gathered around a flat area near a large municipal gas tank. Most of the group are attending to the skin of a big balloon in the foreground near the camera. The remainder of the film shows the balloon being filled with gas until it is buoyant enough to become airborne, the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Children in the surf, Coney Island /

    Seven small children can be seen from the low angle camera position; the camera is pointed out to sea. The children are holding hands and wading in the surf. Beyond them can be seen three adults. At the end of the film, there is only one child in a white bathing costume holding a sailboat. Beyond the child toward the ocean is a large ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Building a harbor at San Pedro /

    From Edison films catalog: This picture was secured from a launch furnished by Mr. Eager, President of the California Construction Co., who are fulfilling this

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Westinghouse Air Brake Co. Westinghouse Co. works (casting scene) /

    What appear to be molds pass by some men on conveyor belts. The men take them off the belt and dump the contents onto the ground. Other men pick up with tongs the parts that have been dumped onto the ground and put them on a pile in the foreground.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Charleston chain-gang /

    Apparently, the film was photographed from a compound bordered by high walls and buildings. At a distance of fifty yards in the direction that the camera is pointed a column of men can be seen walking backwards and holding a chain under their arms. All the men are dressed the same. Two men carrying shotguns gesture to indicate the chain gang should move. They ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Cancelling machine, U.S.P.O. /

    The camera that photographed this film, built around the operation of cancelling mail, was placed high enough to include not only the machine and its operation but also the man who was making it work. During the film, a large number of envelopes are worked through the machine by an operator.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Logging in Maine /

    The subject is the movement of cut timber from the forest to the mill. The few scenes that make up the film are loggers performing the various operations necessary to prevent logs from jamming together. The men keep them headed with the flow of the water toward the lake on which the mill is located. The activities of approximately a dozen men were photographed.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Clerks casing mail for bags, U.S.P.O. /

    The subject is an operation of mail handling called "casing." The camera was placed so that two men can be seen demonstrating the method. The demonstrators, with stacks of letters in their hands, place them in one of many apertures built into a cabinet or "case."

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Assembling a generator, Westinghouse works /

    A group of men work on various parts of a large generator, assembling the pieces. A crane carries a large piece of the generator over to the rest of the machine, and the men guide it down to assemble it. The crane brings two other pieces to the machine and lays them down where they belong.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Delivering newspapers /

    The film shows a group of about fifty pre-adolescent boys running and crowding around a one-horse paneled newspaper van that pulls up in the foreground of the picture. On the side of the van is a sign reading "New York World." As they gather around the rear of the vehicle, a fight breaks out between two of the boys. The film ends as the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Horse parade at the Pan-American Exposition /

    There is a paved street in the foreground and on the curbing on the opposite side spectators have gathered to watch a parade. In the background are several large exposition buildings. A band in uniform passes the camera, and following that are many show horses of various types led by their handlers. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: HORSE PARADE AT THE PAN-AMERICAN ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Rural wagon giving mail to branch, U.S.P.O. /

    The first scene shows a rural free delivery mail man standing waiting for the area mail to be delivered to him. As the film continues, a horse-drawn wagon marked "Rural Postal Delivery" passes the camera position. The mail is then handed to the waiting postman who boards a two-wheel wagon and drives away.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Central high school, gymnastic drill /

    The cameraman placed his equipment at the edge of a school yard where supervised gymnastics were being conducted by high school students. Male students can be seen doing the long and short "horse" exercises to the left of the camera position. In the center, a group of young girls are engaged in using the parellel bars and to the right of the camera, some ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Clerks tying up for bags, U.S.P.O. /

    The film shows two postal employees as they tie into bundles stacks of letters they have just removed from a destination "case."

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903