November 13, 2012 Movie Icon Mary Pickford Subject of New Book, Book Talk and Film Tour
Contact: Audrey Fischer, Library of Congress (202) 707-0022 | Mack McCormick, Mack McCormick (859) 257-5200 (859) 257-5200
A century ago, in the early days of cinema, when actors were unbilled and unmentioned in credits, audiences immediately noticed Mary Pickford. Dubbed “America’s Sweetheart,” Pickford charmed moviegoers during the first three decades of the 20th century with magnetic talent, as she rose to become cinema’s first great star.
Published by the Library of Congress in association with the University of Kentucky Press, “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies,” edited by Christel Schmidt, sheds new light on this icon’s life and legacy. Through essays by Schmidt and other eminent film historians, Pickford emerges from the pages in vivid detail. She is revealed as a gifted actress, a philanthropist and a savvy industry leader who fought for creative control of her films and ultimately became her own producer. Her success paved the way for women in film and ushered in Hollywood’s golden age.
This beautifully designed volume features more than 200 color and black-and-white illustrations, including photographs and posters from the Library’s collections and those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Together with the text, they paint a fascinating portrait of a key figure in American cinematic history.
The Library of Congress holds the world’s largest collection of Mary Pickford films, including Pickford’s personal film collection, which she donated in 1946. Currently, the Library holds 156 Pickford titles out of the estimated 210 she made between 1909 and 1933. (Sadly, 36 films are considered lost.) In addition to titles donated by Pickford, the Library has also acquired a number of the actress’s films through copyright deposits, movie collectors and repatriations from European archives. Rare collection items featuring Pickford include movie stills from “The Foundling” (1915) and “Less Than the Dust” (1916); photographs featuring her World War I efforts for the U.S. government and her involvement with the National Women’s Party; sheet music about her between 1910 and 1930; movie posters and numerous magazine covers.
Schmidt is a film historian, writer and editor. She was awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work on Mary Pickford and is co-editor of “Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture.”
“Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies,” a 288-page hardcover book, is available for $45 at bookstores nationwide and through the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or www.loc.gov/shop/. “Mary Pickford” will be the subject of a Books & Beyond discussion by Schmidt at the Library of Congress at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 4 in the Mary Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E, Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library’s Publishing Office, is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
From Dec. 6, 2012, through June 2013, Schmidt will discuss Pickford’s career at film screening events held at more than 25 venues nationwide. Her presentations will include screenings of film shorts and full-length films starring Pickford, such as “Sparrows” (1926), beautifully restored by the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. For a complete schedule, go to www.loc.gov/publish/general/events.html.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
The Library is home to more than 1.3 million film, television, and video items. With a collection ranging from motion pictures made in the 1890s to today’s TV programs, the Library’s holdings are an unparalleled record of American and international creativity in moving images.
The collection is stored, as well as restored, at the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va. Pickford’s 1924 feature film, “Dorothy Vernon of Haddon” and other film shorts will be screened at the state-of-the-art Packard Campus Theater on Jan. 25 and 26. Featuring remarks by Schmidt, the screenings are free and open to the public. For more information, go to www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.