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

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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Drill by Providence police /

    "In the center of a town square, a company of uniformed policemen equipped with nightsticks is standing at attention. The policemen execute several close-order drill maneuvers similar to those of any army infantry company. They end as they began, company front"--Early motion pictures.

    • Contributor: Armitage, F. S. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • [Lancaster, Pa., high school] /

    Shows boys and girls going out the door and down the steps of a high school building in Lancaster, Pa. The boys come out first, led by a man, probably a teacher, holding a young boy's hand. The boys wear suits, and a few carry books or instrument cases. The girls, wearing long dresses and broad-brimmed hats, follow the boys. The last person to ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Kleine (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 190?
  • Bathing at Atlantic City /

    The film shows the bathing beach at Atlantic City, New Jersey. The camera position was from a tower or some platform high over the heads of the people on the sand adjoining the water. The camera pans approximately 180 degrees, taking in hundreds of people sitting on the sand between the boardwalk and the ocean, part of the boardwalk, and a great deal of ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1901
  • 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.

    • Contributor: Miles, Herbert J. - Miles Brothers - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1907
  • Asia in America, St. Louis exposition /

    The film begins with a wide shot of an area crowded with people, some riding elephants, others marching in procession in front of a structure with the sign "Asia" on it. The people are wearing various costumes.

    • Contributor: Weed, A. E. - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Boat race /

    Two standard U.S. Navy eight-oar pulling boats, each commanded by a coxswain at the steering position in the stern, are seen abeam of one another. At a signal, both pulling boats begin moving and it can be seen that the camera was positioned on a vessel following the two competing pulling boats. The camera stays with the two boats until their destination is disclosed ...

    • Contributor: Bitzer, G. W. - McCutcheon, Wallace - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • 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.

    • Contributor: Weed, A. E. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Panorama view street car motor room /

    A camera moving forward on an overhead crane gives a traveling view of men working on machinery. Carts carrying parts and pieces of machinery pass by on rails; cranes lift machinery; and men perform their various duties, including hammering objects.

    • Contributor: Bitzer, G. W. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Casting a guide box, Westinghouse works /

    A large bucket full of molten material is poured into a large container, possibly a mold, by a group of men using machinery. Some other men stoke the fire under the container. When finished pouring, the men lift the bucket up from the container and take it away on a crane. Two men put prods down repeatedly into the container, while others lay covers ...

    • Contributor: Bitzer, G. W. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • [End of school day at coeducational school] /

    A factual film in which exuberant boys and girls, apparently high school students, walk through the arches of a school building and down the steps. Most of the boys wear caps and most of the girls wear fancy hats and ankle-length or mid-calf length full skirts; many of the students carry books. Two men attired in robes appear. Possibly a scene of graduation day ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Kleine (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1914
  • 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.

    • Contributor: Weed, A. E. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1904
  • Exchange of mail at rural P.O., U.S.P.O. /

    The opening scene shows a yard in front of what seems to be a two-story house. A small boy is standing in front of the house near a post box fastened to one of the columns supporting the roof of the building. A horse-drawn rural delivery wagon drives up and a man gets out, delivers mail, gets back in, and drives the wagon out ...

    • Contributor: Weed, A. E. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Brook trout fishing /

    The camera shows a small waterfall and a stream. Across the stream on the bank is a man with a fishing pole in one hand and a retrieving net in the other. During the course of the film, he makes the normal movements of a man accustomed to trout fishing. High on the bank to the right is a spectator. At the end of ...

    • Contributor: Armitage, F. S. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Wrestling at the New York Athletic Club /

    Several teams of wrestlers in action were photographed from a single-camera position on the set of the gymnasium of the New York Athletic Club.

    • Contributor: Bitzer, G. W. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1905
  • Delivering mail from sub-station /

    The subjects seen by the camera are a portion of a large building with columns in front that indicates it is a government building and three small shuttle streetcars across the street from the camera position. As the film progresses, the shuttle cars leave. Twice during the film a larger streetcar passes in front of the camera position.

    • Contributor: Weed, A. E. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Women of the ghetto bathing /

    The subject is a group of women bathing in a public swimming pool. The camera was placed on the edge of the pool and the full extent of the film shows the women in the pool. Only the heads and shoulders of most of the women are visible but it is possible to see they are wearing rented bathing attire.

    • Contributor: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Cutting and canaling ice /

    The camera shows what appears to be a frozen-over lake on which men are driving teams of horses pulling a device similar to a plow. The second camera position shows that the horses are being driven in a straight line across the ice, with the device chiseling a groove, called canaling, into the ice. This action precedes removal of the ice for storage so ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Boys diving, Honolulu /

    A large group of small boys stand on a pier, looking up at what probably is the railing and hoping pennies will be thrown into the water for them to retrieve. The boys are clothed only in swim trunks. At a distance of approximately a mile, six large clipper shipss can be seen at anchor.

    • Contributor: Bonine, R. (Robert K.) - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Noon hour, Hope Webbing Co. /

    The single-camera position shows the employees of a manufacturing company as they pass by during the noon hour.

    • Contributor: Armitage, F. S. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • 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 ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • 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.

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Kleine (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Tying up bags for train, U.S.P.O. /

    The camera shows the action of two postal employees as they remove mail sacks from the semicircular rack where they are placed so they can be filled with mail for their respective locations. The two postal employees stack the mail sacks on a cart in preparation for dispatch elsewhere.

    • Contributor: Weed, A. E. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903