Collection Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies

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  • A street Arab /

    A preadolescent boy, dressed like a street urchin, performs acrobatic stunts for the camera. From a contemporary Edison Company catalog: A STREET ARAB. Umreichen [code for telegraphic orders]. Shows one of New York's street gamins going through various acrobatic evolutions; he turns handsprings backward and forward, walks the crab, does cart wheels and other kindred feats. An exceptionally unique part of the performance is ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Afi/Holt (H.L.) Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Panorama water front and Brooklyn Bridge from East River /

    This film depicts the East River shoreline and the piers of lower Manhattan starting at about Pier 5 (the New York Central Pier) opposite Broad Street, and extending to the Mallory Line steamship piers just south of Fulton Street and the Brooklyn Bridge. The film begins with shots of canal boats or barges (from the Erie Canal via the Hudson River) docked at and ...

    • Contributor: Porter, Edwin S. - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • New York City dumping wharf /

    The film shows a wharf where a barge is being loaded with trash from two-wheeled, horse-drawn wagons. The trash is dumped off the edge of the pier onto the barge, where men with shovels are spreading the piles of debris. The camera pans left to the next barge, where four-wheeled carts are shown dumping excavation rubble. Probably filmed on the East River, this is ...

    • Contributor: Smith, James Blair - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • American falls from above, American side /

    From Maguire & Baucus catalogue: Shows glittering ice background and a group of photographers preparing to take pictures.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Hendricks (Gordon) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1896
  • Sham battle at the Pan-American Exposition /

    Large arches and columns are seen surrounding a flat field. In the foreground of the field, some American Indians on horseback ride toward the camera. The Indians are wearing feathers, war paint, and are carrying frontier rifles across the bare backs of their horses. In the middle of this flat area, men dressed as U.S. Army troops in battle regalia are lined up in ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Buffalo Fire Department in action /

    "Another of those stirring fire scenes which have proved so popular. There are ten pieces of apparatus in the picture. Every piece fully manned is under full headway, and is shown almost head-on to the beholder. Several of the engines and wagons are drawn by three horses abreast. Fireman appear putting on their coats, etc., while the engines and trucks rush by. Many of ...

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Panorama of Blackwell's Island, N.Y. /

    This film was photographed from a boat heading south along the eastern shore of Blackwell's Island (known today as Roosevelt Island). The island lies in the East River, between Manhattan (which can be seen in the background) and Long Island City, Queens. It is approximately one and three-quarters of a mile long, extending from 51st Street to 88th, and at the time of the ...

    • Contributor: Porter, Edwin S. - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • U.S. cruiser "Raleigh" /

    From Edison films catalog: A panoramic view of the "Raleigh" as she lies at anchor off 27th Steet, North River, April 17, 1899. Captain Coghlan stands among a group of officers near the bridge. The "Raleigh" fired the first gun at Manila, and is the first boat of the Pacific Squadron visiting New York. All the details of the famous battleship are clearly shown ...

    • Contributor: Coghlan, Joseph Bullock - White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • 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 ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Admiral Dewey leading land parade, no. 2 /

    "Showing Central Park in back-ground. 200 feet. $30.00"--Edison films catalog. One of 20 films advertised in Edison films catalog under the category "Dewey Doings." From the catalog: We equipped eight parties on the occasion of Admiral Dewey's arrival in New York Harbor, Wednesday, September 27th, 1899, and secured the following excellent moving pictures of the Admiral and his great ship, together with the stirring ...

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • Racing at Sheepshead Bay /

    From Edison films catalog: The finish and weighing out of a running race with nine starters. Won by famous Clifford, Sloane up. 50 feet. $7.50.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • President McKinley's funeral cortege at Buffalo, N.Y. /

    The photography in this film is from several camera positions. The first position was over the heads of the crowds that lined the street watching the cortege begin. Mounted police precede the escort for the funeral procession. the next camera position is from the other side of the spectators and reveals the escort of various military organizations represented (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, West Point ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Buffalo police on parade /

    "A street scene showing parade of the entire Buffalo Police Department, 16 men abreast, with military band"--Edison films catalog.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • 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 ...

    • Contributor: Porter, Edwin S. - White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Opening of new East River bridge, New York /

    The first view is from the roadway of the Williamsburg Bridge on the day of the opening. Close-ups of the parading dignitaries and members of the press [Frame: 0345] are seen. From another camera position, taken over the heads of the crowd, buildings around the waterfront are seen, and the dignitaries, led by a standard bearer again pass the camera. The banner reads "MAYOR." ...

    • Contributor: Smith, James Blair - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Emigrants [i.e. immigrants] landing at Ellis Island /

    From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: EMIGRANTS LANDING AT ELLIS ISLAND. Shows a large open barge loaded with people of every nationality, who have just arrived from Europe, disembarking at Ellis Island, N.Y. A most interesting and typical scene. Length 140 feet. Class B. $16.80. The film opens with a view of the steam ferryboat "William Myers," laden with passengers, approaching a dock ...

    • Contributor: Abadie, Alfred C. (Alfred Camille) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Waterfall in the Catskills /

    From Edison films catalog: Beautiful water effects at Haines' Falls, a most picturesque and charming mountain cataract. The wild and rugged surroundings are very impressive. 50 feet. $7.50.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Opening, Pan-American Exposition /

    A group of dignitaries from various countries was photographed from a single camera position participating in a parade marking the opening of the Pan-American Exposition. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: OPENING OF THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION ON MAY 20th, 1901. Ungehofft [code for telegraphic orders]. This is a great historical event. Our cameras were stationed in the center of the Esplanade looking toward ...

    • Contributor: Roosevelt, Theodore - Hanna, Marcus Alonzo - Gallinger, Jacob H. (Jacob Harold) - Odell, Benjamin (Benjamin Barker) - Biehl, Conrad - Babcock, Louis L. - Welch, S. L. - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • New Brooklyn to New York via Brooklyn Bridge, no. 2 /

    From Edison films catalog: This is a new negative showing the entire trip from Brooklyn to New York, in which the immense towers stand out clear and distinct against the sky. The best picture of the Brooklyn Bridge yet secured. 150 feet. $22.50.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • President McKinley reviewing the troops at the Pan-American Exposition /

    "The President is seen on the reviewing stand at the Stadium, escorted by President Milburn, of the Pan-American Exposition, Secretary Cortelyou, and other noted persons. He removes his silk hat as the troops march by and politely bows to the great audience as they cheer and encore. President McKinley and party form the left foreground of our picture while the troops march by in ...

    • Contributor: Cortelyou, George (George Bruce) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Theodore Roosevelt Association Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Buffalo stockyards /

    From Edison films catalog: A long line of horses, mules and ponies are led, driven and ridden into the yards, where they are sold and distributed. 50 feet. 7.50.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • The mob outside the Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition /

    The camera was positioned at such a height behind a large group of people outside an exhibit building that mainly hats are visible. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: THE MOB OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE OF MUSIC AT THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION. Unglorify. [code for telegraphic orders]. On Friday, September 6th, 1901, we had our cameras in position to photograph the President as he left ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • Fireboat "New Yorker" answering an alarm /

    "Firemen board the fireboat New Yorker docked at the Battery, New York City; pull anchor; shove off; and proceed out into the harbor"--George Kleine Collection...catalog.

    • Contributor: Smith, James Blair - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Kleine (George) Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • 104th Street curve, New York, elevated railway /

    From Edison films catalog: Taken from the front platform of a special train run backward over the celebrated S curve. Not only are the passing trains and crowded platforms of great interest, but the view of up-town New York is an excellent one, showing acre upon acre of roofs, towers, steeples and towering apartment houses. As the "special" slows up at 92nd Street, a ...

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • Esquimaux leap-frog /

    The film, photographed from a single camera position, shows buildings resembling igloos on ice floes, in front of which persons clothed as Eskimos play a game of leapfrog. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: SCENE IN THE ESQUIMAUX VILLAGE. Ungulado. [code for telegraphic orders]. This shows several Esquimaux at the game of "Misheetak," or leap frog, which differs somewhat from the civilized game, ...

    • Contributor: Porter, Edwin S. - White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901