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

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  • Dick Croker leaving Tammany Hall /

    "A very lifelike picture of the famous New York politician and Tammany Hall boss. This picture was taken on Sunday morning as he was leaving the 14th Street Wigwam, accompanied by a number of prominent New York politicians. 50 feet"--Edison films catalog.

    • Contributor: Paley, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1900
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Sorting refuse at incinerating plant, New York City /

    The subject is a group of about thirty men and boys who are sorting combustible refuse, mostly paper, and stuffing it into large sacks. In the background a man in a hat with an emblem on it can be seen unloading trash from a large wagon. Location may be the New York City Sanitation Department's East 17th Street facility, or possibly the incinerator at ...

    • Contributor: Porter, Edwin S. - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Sky scrapers of New York City, from the North River /

    Filmed from a moving boat, the film depicts the Hudson River (i.e., North River) shoreline and the piers of lower Manhattan beginning around Fulton Street and extending to Castle Garden and Battery Park. It begins at one of the American Line piers (Pier 14 or 15, opposite Fulton Street) where an American Line steamer, either the "New York" or "Paris," is seen docked [Frame: ...

    • Contributor: Smith, James Blair - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print 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)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • 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
  • 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
  • Mounted police charge /

    From Maguire & Baucus catalogues: A troop of mounted police, in full dress uniform, are seen approaching the audience at full gallop; when within but a few yards of the camera they suddenly halt and each horse and rider appears full life size.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Hendricks (Gordon) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1896
  • 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
  • Sleighing scene /

    A view of a snow-covered road in Central Park. A variety of horse-drawn sleighs ride by the camera from both directions. Only two pedestrians appear. From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: SLEIGHING SCENE. Unbehangen [code for telegraphic orders]. A view taken on the West Side Drive in Central Park. Shows a continuous stream of handsome rigs and turnouts passing in both directions. Pedestrians ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Admiral Dewey receiving the Washington and New York committees /

    From Edison films catalog: Showing Committee of Arrangements' visit to the Admiral on board the U.S. Cruiser Olympia. 100 feet. $15.00

    • Contributor: Dewey, George - Miles, Nelson Appleton - Sampson, William Thomas - Pruden, Octavius Longworth - White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Brook Foundation Collection (Library of Congress) - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • How a French nobleman got a wife through the New York Herald personal columns /

    From Edison films catalog: The picture opens with a "Personal" advertisement which actually appeared in the New York Herald of August 25th, 1904: "Young French Nobleman, recently arrived, desires to meet wealthy American girl; object matrimony; will be at Grant's Tomb at 10 this morning, wearing boutonniere of violets." The first scene shows the young "Nobleman" in his dressing room. He picks up the ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • 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
  • Shooting the chutes /

    From Maguire & Baucus catalogue: A lively scene on the famous water chutes at Coney Island.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Hendricks (Gordon) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1896
  • What happened on Twenty-third Street, New York City /

    A street level view from the sidewalk, looking along the length of 23rd Street. Following actuality footage of pedestrians and street traffic, the actors, a man in summer attire and a woman in an ankle-length dress, walk toward the camera. As they cross a grate on the sidewalk they pause, and the escaping air blows the woman's dress to her knees. From a contemporary ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • U.S. cruiser "Olympia" leading naval parade /

    One of 20 films advertised in Edison films catalog no. 94, 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 events of Dewey Day, September 29th, the day ...

    • Contributor: Dewey, George - White, James H. (James Henry) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • Pilot boats in New York harbor /

    A New York harbor pilot boat passes close enough for four members of the crew to be seen [Frame: 0471]. Following the sailing vessel is a steamship [0780]. From a contemporary Edison Company catalog: PILOT BOATS IN NEW YORK HARBOR. Unboys [code for telegraphic orders]. A close view of an eighty footer, schooner rigged, trim as a private yacht, skimming over the waters of ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - White, James
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1899
  • Move on /

    Filmed in New York's Lower East Side, the scene is a street where several pushcart vendors have gathered to sell their goods. In the foreground are fruit and vegetable carts. An elevated railroad track crosses over the street in the background. As the film progresses, two policemen can be seen heading up the street toward the camera and ordering all of the vendors to ...

    • Contributor: Abadie, Alfred C. (Alfred Camille) - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Parade of marines, U.S. cruiser "Brooklyn" /

    From Edison films catalog: First comes the famous Marine Band of the "Brooklyn," with the mascot goat alongside the bass drum. The 300 marines follow in rapid marching order, a sixteen file front in each company. 150 feet. $22.50.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • New York City "ghetto" fish market /

    The view, photographed from an elevated camera position, looks down on a very crowded New York City street market. Rows of pushcarts and street vendors' vehicles can be seen. The precise location is difficult to ascertain, but it is certainly on the Lower East Side, probably on or near Hester Street, which at the turn of the century was the center of commerce for ...

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

    From Maguire & Baucus catalogue: Showing "Herald" building, street and elevated railroad.

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Heise, William - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Hendricks (Gordon) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1896