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Film, Video [Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight--excerpts]

digital viewing copy

About this Item


  • [Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight--excerpts]


  • The Corbett-Fitzsimmons heavyweight championship title fight was held in Carson City, Nevada on St. Patrick's Day, in 1897. The film originally recorded the introductions of famous personalities in attendance and all 14 of the fight's three-minute rounds, plus the one-minute breaks between rounds. Running commentary was provided by a live expert during the exhibition of the film. This three-minute film contains excerpts, including the beginning with the two fighters, the referee, George Siler, and possibly John L. Sullivan and his manager Billy Madden, who introduced the participants. The remaining footage appears to be short excerpts from various rounds.


  • Rector, Enoch, 1863-1957, film producer, photographer
  • Stuart, Dan, 1858-1909, film producer
  • Veriscope Company, production company

Created / Published

  • [1897]


  • -  Corbett, James J.,--1866-1933
  • -  Fitzsimmons, Robert James,--1863-1917
  • -  Siler, George,--1846-1908
  • -  Sullivan, John Lawrence,--1858-1918
  • -  Madden, Billy,--1852-1918


  • Filmed boxing matches
  • Film excerpts
  • Nonfiction films


  • -  Full-length fim was originally exhibited by the Veriscope Company in1897. After the premiere, distribution was handled on a States Rights basis by territory, and by agreements with local theater owners and salespeople. Copyright for original full-length film: William Kenyon Wheelock; 1897May15; 26025-2028 (photographs no. 1-4).
  • -  Copyrighted The Veriscope Company 1897 copyright notice on film
  • -  Photographed by Enoch J. Rector.
  • -  Appearing: James J. Corbett, Robert Fitzsimmons, George Siler, John L. Sullivan?, Billy Madden?.
  • -  Some sources erroneously give producer credit to William A. Brady. Brady participated in the production as James Corbett's manager, not as a film producer. He also acquired rights to exhibit the film in Great Britain, Australia, and other countries, as well as organizing a world tour of the film. The Veriscope Company was formed by Enoch Rector and Dan Stuart. Rector invented and operated the Veriscope (with a team of assistants), and Stuart arranged the fight and was president of the company.
  • -  Contains many jumps in continuity and printed in dirt and emulsion damage.
  • -  Photographed in Carson City, Nevada on March 17, 1897.
  • -  Part of summary from Brief descriptions and expanded essays of National Film Registry titles viewed on the Library of Congress WW website.
  • -  The Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight was recorded in its entirety by film pioneer Enoch Rector from inside a huge, human-powered camera called the "Veriscope". The original film was the longest movie produced at that time. It was more than 2 hours long. Only about 20 minutes are now known to exist. Film producer Sigmund Lubin produced a poor-quality facsimile of the film, entitled, Reproduction of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight, which is sometimes confused with Rector's Veriscope original. The film premiered May 22, 1897 at the Academy of Music in New York City. Because the fight had been filmed on special-sized film, it required special projectors, giving the Veriscope Company complete control over exhibition. Film was copyrighted by the Veriscope Company vice-president, William Kenyon Wheelock in May, 1897, by submitting a series of photographs of the fight.
  • -  This film was selected for the National Film Registry.
  • -  Sources used: Library of Congress WWW site viewed November 14, 2023 (Complete National Film Registry listings; Brief descriptions and expanded essays of National Film Registry titles); Hawley, S. The fight that started the movies: the world heavyweight championship, the birth of cinema and the first feature film, 2016 viewed online November 14, 2023 via the Internet Archive; Hawley, S. The birth of the feature film--120 years ago: The Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight (1897), posted March 27, 2017 viewed November 14, 2023 via Bright Lights Film Journal WWW site; Email correspondence with Copyright Office (T. Raphael, Records Research & Certification Division), November 21, 2023; U.S. Copyright Office WWW site, viewed November 21, 2023 (Virtual Card Catalog); Musser, C. The emergence of cinema: the American screen to 1907, p. 194-202; AFI catalog viewed online November 14, 2023; Internet movie database, viewed November 14, 2023; Wikipedia WWW site, viewed November 14, 2023.


  • 1 video file (digital) (3 min.) : si., b&w.

Source Collection

  • Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2023602024

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Stuart, Dan, Film Producer, Rector, Enoch, Film Producer, photographer. Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight--excerpts. produceds by Veriscope Companyuction Company [1897] Video.

APA citation style:

Stuart, D., Rector, E., photographer. (1897) Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight--excerpts. Veriscope Companyuction Company, prod [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Stuart, Dan, Film Producer, photographer by Rector, Enoch, Film Producer. Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight--excerpts. prod by Veriscope Companyuction Company [1897] Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.