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329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808
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All Collections

JACK BAKER COLLECTION (17 reels)

The Baker Family lived in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois. Jack Baker, the patriarch of the family, was a freelance commercial artist who worked for the Stone Container Corporation. Although Jack was not a filmmaker by trade, shooting film was part of his job, and quickly became a hobby at home. The collection consists of low-end industrial films Jack made for work and home movie footage he took of his wife and two kids. The reels he made on the job consist of downtown Chicago scenes, an American Can Company plant and trips to Milwaukee, New Orleans, and New York City. The home movies include suburban construction, numerous children’s birthday parties, a few Christmas celebrations, an adult Halloween party, a Cubs game and trips to the Indiana dunes and Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva. The entire collection was shot on 8mm between the 1940s and 80s, with the majority being shot in the 1950s.

JACK BEHREND COLLECTION (161 titles and elements)

EQUITABLE BUILDING TIME LAPSE, Jack Behrend, Circa 1962

Jack Behrend was a professional industrial filmmaker working in Chicago from the 1950s until the 1990s. He also owned a film equipment rental house (Behrends, Inc.) and hosted informal weekly seminars for Chicago filmmakers at his establishment. He has an extensive knowledge of Chicago film history. Within this collection are films of Gordon Weisenborn, a Chicago filmmaker who gave his prints and rights to Jack Behrend before his death. Some of Behrend’s films include 13 reels of raw footage from an unfinished documentary of historical inns of America and time lapse footage of Grant Park, the Equitable Building and Lake Point Tower as they were being constructed. The collection includes industrial films about steel foundries, the making of railroad wheels and a film about the teachers’ strike at Niles North in the 1970s. Behrend has donated the rights of his films and those of Gordon Weisenborn to CFA. He has also donated 52 prints made by the National Film Board of Canada.

CHARLES & KATHARINE BOWDEN COLLECTION (2 reels)

During the summers of 1902 and 1903, Katharine and Charles Bowden visited Desbarats, Ontario, Canada, not far from where Charles had grown up amidst the Ojibwe community living in that region. L.O. Armstrong, a local agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway and an ardent admirer of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was by then presenting dramatizations of Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha. Members of the nearby Garden River Ojibwe tribe performed in the play. Katharine and Charles Bowden photographed and filmed the presentations over two summers, and then assembled their lantern slides and films to create A Pictorial Story of Hiawatha.

The two prints held by CFA are the result of a preservation collaboration between Chicago Film Archives, Valparaiso University and Color Lab. The original 35mm nitrate film footage is held in Valparaiso’s Special Collections. Learn more about the restoration project on our Preservation page.

CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY COLLECTION (4,531 titles)

Chicago Film Archives incorporated on December 13, 2003 in order to house and care for its founding acquisition of 16mm films from the Chicago Public Library. This collection contains a broad sweep of genres. A large number of films are educational and travel films, but also there are silent films, foreign and American-made theatrical films, documentaries, industrials, newsreels, sports events and children’s films. Included in this collection are 16mm prints from the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection, such as Oscar Micheaux’s Murder in Harlem and Spencer Williams’ Juke Joint. Also, within this collection are rare and possibly one-of-a-kind 16mm film prints. Some of these are: Paracelsus by GW Pabst, American Shoeshine by Sparky Greene, The New World of Stainless Steel by Republic Steel and Wilding Studios, Siege by Julian Bryan, and The Santa Claus Suit by Martin Stevens. Because this collection was created over four decades in order to educate Chicago communities, it reflects Chicago’s public sensibilities from the 1950s to 1990 and is an important part of our regional film archive.

MARGARET CONNEELY COLLECTION (417 titles and elements)

CITY TO SEE IN '63, Margaret Conneely, 1962

Particularly important to CFA’s holdings are collections of Chicago amateur filmmakers, whether they are collections of fiction narrative films or the more traditional domestic or travel “home movies.” Margaret Conneely, an award winning and prolific amateur filmmaker, who began making films when she joined a local amateur film club in 1949, has donated all of her films and those of others that she collected throughout the years. She shot and directed 16mm films at a time when most of the women of these clubs were less technically inclined and often delegated to the role of actress or slides manager. Her work is well crafted, clever and subtly subversive. One of her films, The Fairy Princess, was awarded a National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) preservation grant and the resulting elements will reside at CFA. Three others have been restored through a preservation grant from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund and Colorlab film laboratories. Visit our Preservation Page to learn more about these preserved Conneely titles.

MARQUIS CRING COLLECTION (90 reels)
Susan Hayes – Preservation Sponsor

This 16mm home movie collection documents the Cring family of St. Louis, Missouri, from the 1930s to late 1950s. The reels feature such events as Brentwood High School football games, family vacations, an entertaining teenage dance party, school parades and multiple birthday and Christmas celebrations.

RUSS AND SYLVIA DAVIS COLLECTION (370 titles and elements)
Colleen Roberts – Preservation Sponsor

YULIE BRYNNER vs ROSE ROMAN, Circa 1958

The Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection contains 16mm film prints and elements produced by the couple’s production company, IWF Inc. The majority are from a syndicated wrestling television show from the 1950s.

Russell W. Davis (1909-1969) and his wife Sylvia Davis, née Carlson, (d.2005) ran the production company IWF from 1949 until Russ’ death. Russ worked in radio from 1927 until 1946 when he moved to TV at Chicago’s first electrical TV station, WBKB. Russ played an important, if now forgotten, role in the development of the Chicago School of Television. His varied work at WBKB reflects the unformed nature of early television, as he was equally adept co-hosting an advice show for housewives as announcing a boxing match. His on-camera style mixed an urbane sophistication with a friendly charm that played well in living rooms. Sylvia, a Swedish émigré, worked behind the scenes on Russ’ shows as a producer and was one of the first women to work in that capacity in Chicago.

Their company, called both Imperial World Films and International Wrestling Films, mainly produced a long-running syndicated wrestling TV show. Given different names by the local stations that aired it, their show brought weekly matches from Chicago’s International Amphitheatre to audiences around the nation. Wrestlers such as Gorgeous George, Verna Gange, Lou Thesz, Hans Schmidt, Ivan Rasputin, Sheik of Araby, and Yukon Eric became stars of early television as they transformed the sport into the theatrical and wild event it remains today.

RON DOERRING COLLECTION (65 titles and audio reels)

The Ron Doerring collection contains mainly amateur films created by Kenosha, Wisconsin film hobbyists, John & Evelyn Kibar. The Kibars were amateur filmmakers who recorded sound tracks to accompany their 8mm films. While some of their films are finished, edited films, the Kibars also shot raw footage of many events, re-enactments and travel footage across America. Their work includes footage of Midwest motorcycle races, Revolutionary War re-enactments, early 1940s 4th of July parades, Chicago Northwestern and Durango-Silverton railroad footage, Mexico in the 1940s and Disneyland. The collection also includes amateur works by other Society of Amateur Cinematographers (SAC) members from outside of the Midwest and rare amateur anamorphic, or widescreen, 16mm films made by George Rives (Chicago Metro Movie Club) and Ron Doerring (Kenosha Cine Club). The collection was donated to CFA by Ron Doerring, another Kenosha, Wisconsin, filmmaker.

DAVID DRAZIN COLLECTION (15 titles)

JOANN ELAM COLLECTION (736 reels, videos and elements)
Susan Elam – Preservation Patron

EVERYDAY PEOPLE (rough cut), JoAnn Elam, 1979-1990

JoAnn Elam (1949-2009) is a central figure in the in the history of Chicago’s experimental film community.  Elam was one of the founders of Chicago Filmmakers and her short experimental and documentary films capture the spirit and ethos of a politically active, feminist, and socially conscious artist.

Elam made numerous short films on 8mm that documented various aspects of her life and Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s. These 8mm films capture local events ranging from the Palmer Square Art Fair in the 1970s to the Blizzard of ’79, as well as San Francisco and Haight-Ashbury during the “Summer of Love.”

Elam’s most well known 16mm films, Rape (1975) and Lie Back and Enjoy It (1982) are probing feminist examinations of sexual assault and the representation of women.  Both films utilize experimental techniques in order to call into question the way in which women are depicted on screen.  These two films are referenced in numerous texts on documentary and feminist cinema, and are fascinating examples of Elam’s interest in merging radical form and technique with radical political content.

Elam’s unfinished project, Everyday People  (1979-1990), is based on her experiences as a letter carrier for the US Postal Service in Chicago, the various people she met while on the job, the political struggles they faced with the administration and the union, and larger issues related to the history of labor struggle and activism in the United States.  Elam’s notes and journals for the film, as well as the approximately 250 film, video and audio elements associated with it, provide an unparalleled level of access to her creative process, political and artistic ideas, and the practical, economic, and ethical issues that impacted her work as an independent artist and filmmaker.

Additionally, the Elam collection contains several medical films made by James O. Elam, M.D., JoAnn Elam’s father, that document his development of the “rescue breathing” technique and numerous other advances in clinical anesthesiology and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

FILM GROUP (8 titles and elements)

SOCIAL CONFRONTATION: THE BATTLE OF MICHIGAN AVENUE, Film Group Inc., 1968

The Film Group was a commercial film company that turned to making films that documented the social and political unrest of the 60s and 70s in Chicago. William Cottle, a principle in the company, donated the entire Urban Crisis series (7 components) and American Revolution 2, a film made during the 1968 Democratic Convention that centered on civil rights issues facing the American people (especially the African-American community) at that time. All seven modules of the Urban Crisis series have been preserved with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation (learn more on our Preservation page). The Film Group was at the forefront of what was to become a succession of social documentary filmmakers in Chicago. Mike Gray was Cottle’s partner and now lives in Los Angeles. He wrote the screenplay, China Syndrome, and is the author of several books that deal with controversial social and political issues that face America today.

RICHARD J. FINNEGAN COLLECTION (29 reels)

The Richard J. Finnegan collection is a series of home movies, travelogues and amateur shorts shot by Chicago Sun-Times editor Richard J. Finnegan between 1929 and 1953. Many of the films in this collection creatively meld narrative inter-titles with non-fiction footage, and employ cinematic conventions such as slow motion and narrative-style editing. Subject matter spans trips to Yellowstone, Eureka, Bermuda and various parts of Northern and Southern California, personal films of notable events such as the 1929 Olympics in Los Angeles, and “classic” home movie family films of vacations, holidays and events, including birthday parties, a wedding, baptisms, and Christmas and Halloween celebrations.

FROMMEYER COLLECTION (1 reel)

This black and white 16mm film depicts the leisure activities of an affluent family on Chicago’s south side. Scenes include a grandiose building that is possibly the South Shore Country Club Hotel and a football game at University of Chicago.

DR. BENJAMIN GASUL COLLECTION (5 reels)

The Benjamin Gasul Collection includes 5 reels of 16mm home movies shot by an influential Chicago area pediatrician. The films date from 1936 to 1940 and include footage of Brookfield Zoo and trips to Mackinac Island, Niagara Falls, Cuba, Miami, and the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Parts of this collection that were shot in 1939 Poland reside in the Stephen Spielberg Film and Video Archive at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

GLICK-BEROLZHEIMER COLLECTION (239 reels)

The Glick/Berolzheimer Collection includes home movies made by Karl & Diane Berolzheimer from the mid 1950s through the mid 1970s. It also contains home movies by Diane’s father Jacob Glick from the mid 1930s through the early 1960s. The home movies depict the leisure activities of the larger Glick/Berolzheimer family, rituals of Jewish life, weddings and other family events, and numerous fishing trips by Mr. Glick.

MORT & MILLIE GOLDSHOLL COLLECTION (181 reels and elements)

KAROLTON ENVELOPE COMPANY "Envelope Jive," Millie Goldsholl, Circa 1963

Morton & Millie Goldsholl ran Morton Goldsholl Associates, one of Chicago’s leading graphic design studios in the 1950s. The studio became recognized for their animations, progressive hiring practices and developing corporate branding packages for various companies. Their collection, donated to CFA in 2006 and 2010, contains commercials and industrial films that Goldsholl Associates made for their clients in addition to experimental films and animations made by both Morton and Millie, or just Millie herself.

SUSAN GRAY COLLECTION (20 reels)

This collection of home movies shot from 1936 to 1957 mainly contains scenes of vacations, family leisure time and documentation of Robert Felton’s hobby as a deep sea fisherman. The collection also includes two compiled reels of short 8mm commercial releases for home use, including Disney animations and a sports review titled “Sports Beams: Touchdown Thrills of 1948″.

JULIAN GROMER COLLECTION (32 reels)

ON THE SHORES OF LAKE MICHIGAN, Julian Gromer, 1948

Julian Gromer (1907-1986) was a travelogue lecturer who brought 16mm films of his travels around the world to Midwest audiences. Gromer was represented by the Redpath Bureau and co-owned Ralph Windoes Travelogues, Inc. His films connect one of the oldest traditions in cinema, the travelogue film lecturer, to the greater Chicagoland area where the films were screened during the post-World War II era to audiences at churches, civic organizations, school groups, and private parties.

The Julian Gromer Collection includes 15 titles and related papers by Gromer. The films depict his travels to Cuba, Nigeria, around Lake Michigan, Hawaii two months before Pearl Harbor, Canada, up the Amazon and Hudson rivers, and three films of cross-country cycling. Also included in the collection are 2 reels of home movies that Julian shot of his family.

PAUL HOCKINGS COLLECTION (5 titles and elements)

This collection includes ethnographic films produced or shot by the pioneering visual anthropologist, Paul Hockings. It covers films shot by Hockings as part of his research on the Badaga people in the Nilgiri Hills in India; THE VILLAGE shot in western Ireland, on which Hockings was the consulting anthropologist; and work created under his mentorship at the University of Illinois at Chicago including Susan Stechnij’s examination of a Mexican immigrant family, MI RAZA: PORTRAIT OF A FAMILY. Learn more about the preservation MI RAZA on our Preservation page.

MARY HEFTEL HOOTON COLLECTION (16 reels)

Mary Heftel Hooton (1919-1993) and her second husband William Heftel (1918-1988) were both successful in their own profession. Mary was a lawyer specializing in matrimonial law and was an Illinois state judge from 1976 until her death. William worked as a realtor in Chicago’s wealthy near north side neighborhoods and was involved in Chicago Democratic politics as a precinct captain. Though they had no children of their own, they fostered nine children over the course of their marriage. In addition to her commitment to children’s rights, Ms. Hooton strived for women’s equality through her work with the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.

From 1967 to 1973 they filmed eight of their vacations with a Super 8 camera. During that 6-year span the couple visited Bangkok, Japan, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Antarctica, Norway, the Bahamas, Morocco, and the Netherland Antilles. Little is known of their interest in filmmaking or whether they shot other footage, but the films in their collection are quintessential home movies of exotic vacations. Obviously shot by an amateur, they express the vision of the American tourist as they survey foreign lands and peoples.

MARK HOWARD COLLECTION (16 reels)

FERD ISSERMAN COLLECTION (9 reels)

CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR SERIES, Ferd Isserman Collection, 1933

The entire Isserman collection is 16mm and shot between the years 1932-1968, with the majority from the 1930s and 40s. The collection primarily documents family leisure time near the Isserman’s home on Chicago’s south side. Other highlights include a family’s trip to the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, 1930s footage of downtown Chicago, a 1940s trip to California, and a thanksgiving celebration from 1968.

KINALLY COLLECTION (16 reels)

DON KLUGMAN COLLECTION (3 titles and elements)

In 2008, three experimental films made by Chicago-based filmmaker Don Klugman were preserved with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation in 2008 (Learn more about this preservation project on our Preservation page). Nightsong is a portrait of the Chicago Near-North nightlife scene in the mid-1960s, centering on the struggles and romantic desires of an African American singer played by long-forgotten folk sensation, Willie Wright. I’ve Got This Problem traces the romantic relationship between a young man and woman (played by Klugman and Judy Harris) who meet in a downtown coffee shop; their nonstop dialogue fluctuates between playful psycho-babble and sincere attempts to relay their innermost feelings. You’re Putting Me On seems to pick up the same couple (again played by Klugman and Harris) a few years later, as they attend a swinging bohemian party where they pilfer personal objects from the unsuspecting guests.

BOB KOESTER COLLECTION (88 reels)

Bob Koester, founder and owner of Delmark Records, also owns and operates the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago. In 2006, he donated this collection of 16mm Northwestern University football films (1974-1981) to CFA. A long time film enthusiast himself, he acquired these films from a camera collector years ago. Over the last few decades, Mr. Koester has hosted weekly film programs at his home in Chicago.

KROSSE COLLECTION (119 titles)

CATERPILLAR AND YOU, Krosse Collection, 1935

The Charles E. Krosse Collection contains films produced and/or distributed by a Peoria film production company, C.L. Venard Productions, who became known for their educational films dealing with agricultural subject matter. The collection spans both 16mm and 35mm films, a number of which may also be titles that Venard employees collected. Included in the collection are promotional and in-house training films made for Caterpillar, a fundraising film made for the city of Peoria, some soft-core erotic shorts, unrelated animated shorts, silent film comedies, and unidentified home movies.

THE KUBICEK FAMILY COLLECTION “ Growing Up” (12 reels)

These 8mm. home movies document the Kubicek family of Dearborn, Michigan from 1965 to the mid 1970s. Oscar Kubicek was a Ford truck engineer, while Barbara Kubicek was a homemaker. The first three reels (thirty minutes of footage) document the short, tragic life of their son who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two and passed away the following year. His final and third birthday is documented within this collection. The remaining reels capture the Kubicek’s life with their two adopted children, and contain numerous birthdays, backyard, sledding and holiday scenes. Oscar was of Czechoslovakian heritage and belonged to a Czech organization, Sokol Cultural Center, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Oscar sent his children there for camp, and shot footage of gymnastic performances while on the campgrounds. In the 1970s, the Kubicek family joined the Ford Travel Club and toured much of Michigan, resulting in several reels of camping footage, including an eerie Halloween costume display. Other highlights of the collection include a 1970s Detroit Lions game, a first communion, a day trip to the dunes along Lake Michigan, a family visit to Oklahoma & Disney World and shots of the Hudson’s building in downtown Detroit, which was demolished in 1998.

When donated to CFA, this collection was accompanied by detailed notes describing the people and places in the films. These notes are uncommonly personal, detailed and very welcome as part of the collection. They provide a richness and context to the films and to the family seen in them. The films and paper documents in this collection will be invaluable as genealogical traces to coming generations of the Kubicek family.

MARION KUDLICK COLLECTION (65 titles)

PETER KUTTNER COLLECTION (6 titles)

CAUSE WITHOUT A REBEL, Peter Kuttner, 1965

The six films in this collection represent the early work of documentary filmmaker and Hollywood cameraman Peter Kuttner. The films include a student film made at Northwestern University, two films he made with African American college students as part of the War on Poverty in 1965, and three kinesopes of shows he made at Chicago’s public television station WTTW.

THE BOB LINK COLLECTION (200 reels and elements)

Bob Link was the sole owner of the Chicago production company YACHT Films International, which made 16mm color sound films about sailing for showings to professional groups, civic organizations and yacht clubs. Bob was a good friend of Jack Behrend who is the namesake of another CFA collection. Bob taught Jack sailing, while Jack taught Bob filmmaking. Together they made the Michelob sponsored film SAILING: DO IT RIGHT – KEEP IT SAFE (1977), an instructional sailing film that currently resides in CFA’s Jack Behrend Collection. The film was made in response to a perception that many boating accidents were alcohol related, and made the point to drink after you are in the harbor or at anchor.

The Bob Link Collection consists primarily of 16mm work prints and camera originals of sailing footage from the 1970s, including sailing scenes near the shores and harbors of downtown Chicago and a sailing race aboard Ted Turner’s American Eagle. The Bob Link Collection also includes 1 file folder titled “1977″ filled with client correspondence, receipts, budget logs, audience testimonials and polaroid photographs.

HARRY MANTEL COLLECTION (5 titles and 135 elements)

VIGNETTES "Waitress," Harry Mantel, early 1970s

The Harry Mantel Collection came to CFA via the University of Chicago and consists primarily of production elements – camera originals, outtakes and numerous magnetic & optical soundtracks. Harry Mantel (1923-2007) was a Chicago cameraman, producer, and journalist. The titles we do have are of Mantel’s Vignettes, which were funded in part by Encyclopedia Britannica for television broadcast. Some of the subjects Mantel explored in his Vignettes include a waitress at a former Marina City Towers restaurant, O’Hare air traffic controllers, the various manifestations of fire, square dancing, circus and zoo animals, trees, Irish horses, and an arts and crafts fair replete with many a macramé booth.

STACY MAUGANS COLLECTION (398 reels)

Just under four hundred reels, this home movie collection includes over fifty-five reels of birthdays, fifty-four reels of Christmas, twenty-one reels of Easter holidays and nineteen reels of Fourth of July celebrations.The Maugans Collection spans from 1965-1984. It begins with a newly married Indiana couple (Connie and Judy Maugans) in a sparsely decorated mobile home and ends with their eldest daughter, Lisa Maugans, going off to prom. Almost all of the home movies were shot in Indiana, with family vacations throughout the United States being the few exceptions.

FRANKLIN MCMAHON COLLECTION

Chicago “artist reporter” Franklin McMahon recorded much Chicago history through his drawings that he later animated on film and through his audio recordings that documented significant social and political events from the early 1960s through the 1980s. Included in the collection is a film on the 1969 “Chicago 8″ conspiracy trial. The majority of the collection consists of raw audio materials, totaling over 700 cassettes and 230 reels of 1/4″ audio.

MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLECTION (101 reels)

MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY COLLECTION

BILL O’FARRELL COLLECTION

CHUCK OLIN COLLECTION (298 titles and elements)

A MATTER OF OPPORTUNITY, Directed & Produced by Chuck Olin, 1968

Chuck Olin was a Chicago documentary filmmaker who passed away in 2005. His partner, Libi Hake, and widow, Nancy Olin, each donated part of his collection to CFA. Olin had a film career that spanned from the mid 60s to his death. He was part of The Film Group in the late 60s and then created his own film company to make commercial, industrial, and documentary films.

The Chuck Olin Collection is comprised of films made by Olin from his work at two Chicago area film production companies from the mid-60s to the late 1990s: first with the Film Group/Mike Gray Associates and after 1974 with his own Chuck Olin Associates. Included are political documentaries made by the Film Group on the 1968 Democratic National Convention; television commercials for a variety of clients including Sears, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and politicians running for election; sponsored films for the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Medical Association, and Eli Lilly; educational films for Encyclopaedia Britannica; and a documentary by Olin on the Jewish Brigade in World War II.

RUTH PAGE COLLECTION (939 reels, videos and elements)

This collection documents and preserves the dance legacy and artistic circle of choreographer, Ruth Page, named by the Dance Heritage Coalition as one of America’s 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures. As the largest collection of moving image materials related to Ruth Page, this is a worthy complement to the vast manuscript collection that resides at the Jerome Robins Dance Division of the New York Public Library and the Newberry Library in Chicago. The collection contains rehearsals and performances that date back to 1922 including footage of Rudolph Nureyev soon after his defection from the Soviet Union, Balinese dances filmed during Page’s 1928 Asian Tour, and performances of The Merry Widow on the Ed Sullivan Show. It also contains the original and master tapes of numerous interviews with dance critics such as Clive Barnes and John Martin, dancers such as Larry Long, Delores Lipinski, Anne Kisselgoff and Maria Tallchief, and a comprehensive series of interviews and oral histories with Page herself that date from 1957 through 1987. Among the dozens of Ruth Page ballets contained in this collection is an original 35mm nitrate print of Bolero danced in 1928 at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL.

THE RHODES PATTERSON COLLECTION (568 reels and elements)

PLAYBOY WEST, Rhodes Patterson, 1971

Rhodes Patterson (1914-2003) wore many professional and artistic hats during his life time, that of designer, cinematographer, photographer and writer. His collection consists of commercial films from Chicago’s 1950s design era along side personal home movies & “for-fun” productions, all of which were made from 1937-1978.

Rhodes Patterson was born in rural Arkansas and moved to Chicago in the 1930s to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. A handful of home movies from his early Chicago days include a 1938 Mae West performance at the Palace Theatre and a visit to Brookfield Zoo. At the start of WWII, he enlisted as a reconnaissance photographer with the US Army Air Corps. While stationed on the small island of Tinian, Rhodes shot footage of the B-29 Superfortress and documented life on and off the base. One reel contains footage Rhodes shot while flying over the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender ceremony. After the war, Rhodes returned to the Midwest and moved his family out to the newly formed suburb of Park Forest, Illinois. Shortly after, he began working for the Chicago design firm Bert Ray Studio. During this time he shot a few personal home movies and some “for-fun” short films including I Love Lucely and The Moulin Chartreuse.

In the mid to late 1950s Rhodes became affiliated with the Container Corporation of America, where he worked under John Massey and Walter Paepcke, a champion and patron of the graphic arts and other cultural mediums of that time. Rhodes wrote much of CCA’s advertising material, put together their internal publications, and documented Paepcke’s early efforts to transform Aspen, Colorado into a modern cultural and intellectual destination spot. Films of the early development of the Aspen Institute reside within this collection. Patterson was an integral part of CCA’s creative team for more than twenty-five years and was instrumental in the production of their “Great Ideas of Western Man” campaign.

In 1960 Rhodes moved to Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood where he and his family lived until 1967. Rhodes shot home movies in and around the park, and even made a short film titled In the Park in which he imagines a conversation between the various historic personalities whose statues grace the park. A year after moving his family to Evanston in 1967, Rhodes made a short film titled The Day After, documenting the scene at Grant Park a day after the 1968 Democratic National Convention. While it doesn’t depict any violence, the film captures the mood and tensions of the time.

Rhodes was good friends with the architects and engineers, Ronald and Suzanne Dirsmith who ran the Dirsmith Group, an architecture, landscaping, and engineering firm headquartered in Highland Park, Illinois. In 1971 they were hired to design and construct the now-world-famous Grotto and swimming pool on the grounds of Playboy West. The Dirsmiths invited Rhodes to go out west with them to document the construction. Apparently Rhodes was allowed to wander around the grounds in addition to documenting the construction, resulting in a few reels of soft-core pornographic material. Ten reels from his time at the Playboy Mansion reside in this collection.

Rhodes stopped making commercial films in 1977, and shifted his focus to photography and writing. His home movies, personal narratives and commercial films grant us the opportunity to explore Chicago, and more broadly, the world from the 1930s to the 70s.

STEVE POSTER COLLECTION (1 title and elements)

The Steven Poster collection includes the 35mm film, Another Saturday Night, a whimsical portrayal of a weekend night in 1970s Chicago. Also included in the collection are the title’s elements.

HOWARD PROUTY COLLECTION (16 reels)

The filmmaker and the family (or families) depicted in the Howard Prouty Collection are currently unknown. The films were purchased by Howard Prouty at a Los Angeles garage sale in the Carathay Circle Neighborhood (6101 Del Valle Dr.). The films were shot in the Midwest from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, and were developed at various camera shops in the northern suburb of Waukegan, Illinois. The collection includes footage of weddings, birthdays, various Michigan boat trips, and most notably, footage of Chicago’s Railroad Fair of 1948-1949.

PATTI QUILLING COLLECTION (15 reels)

CHICAGO 1954

The bulk of this 16mm & 8mm home movie collection was shot in Dayton, Ohio in the 1950s and 60s, and includes trips to Kentucky’s Cumberland Lake and scenes from Put In Bay along the coast of Ohio’s Lake Erie. Mr. and Mrs. Quilling also took a trip to Chicago in 1954 for a National Restaurant Association show and brought a camera along with them. They shot footage of Soldier Field and the Buckingham Fountain while driving down Lake Shore Drive, and even shot scenes of the Chicago skyline atop the Drake Hotel.

RAINBOW PRODUCTIONS COLLECTION

REMC COLLECTION (90 titles)

The Regional Educational Media Center Association of Michigan (REMC) was founded in 1969, operating through the intermediate school district structure to provide various educational programs and services locally as well as collaborating on statewide programs. This collection consists of 16mm instructional and educational films produced by Coronet, McGraw-Hill, EBE Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation and multiple other production companies. These films span diverse subject matter including but not limited to health and safety, science, history, geography, social guidance and youth, and would have been available to teachers for classroom use.

ROLAND RIVES COLLECTION (4 reels)

The Roland Rives collection documents a European tour conducted for Dartmouth students in the 1920s via Cunard Ocean Line. Also within the collection is a Cunard promotional film featuring dining, entertainments and sports available on the cruise. The SS Berengaria leaves New York Harbor, eventually arriving at either a port in Cherbourg or Southampton. Film was likely sold as a souvenir onboard ship.

GREG ROULEAU COLLECTION (60 reels)

JOHN & MARILYN SANNER COLLECTION (7 reels)

DO FAMILY: NEW AMERICANS FOR THE '80s, John Sanner, 1980

The John and Marilyn Sanner collection contains 16mm, 8mm and Super 8mm amateur and home movie films, with two of the Super 8mm films having a magnetic soundtrack. John and Marilyn Sanner were members of the Metro Movie Club, a local amateur filmmaking club (1940s-1980s), during the later years of the organization (1972-1987). Margaret Connelly, an amateur filmmaker and namesake of a CFA collection, was also a member of this club during its formative years. John Sanner of Deerfield, Illinois shot the majority of the films in this collection. He shot both amateur films and home movies. The home movies include footage of Deerfield High School football games and the Chicago blizzard of 1979, while his amateur films include a behind the scenes look at a Metro Movie Club production and a short documentary about the arrival of a Chinese-Vietnamese family to Deerfield by way of a refuge camp in Hong Kong. The collection also includes an 8mm amateur travelogue film shot in Havana, Cuba by W.R. James in the late 1940s and a Super 8 film of unknown origin that documents a teenage girl’s social club circa 1977.

CAROL SANZI COLLECTION (45 reels)

CHARLES SHARP COLLECTION (5 titles)

The Charles Dee Sharp collection consists of five 16mm films, including a short Christmas themed narrative film, two promotional films for the Illinois Institute of Technology and two short documentary films, one about a Kibbutz in Israel titled The Kibbutz, and another about Russia after Stalin, titled The Iron Curtain Lands: The Post-Stalin Period. All films are Cameras International productions. All films are written and directed by Charles Dee Sharp, except for Symbolic Control, which is written and directed by David A. Tapper for the IIT.

PHILLIP SMITH COLLECTION (15 reels)

This home movie collection consists of 8mm home movies shot between the years 1944-1970. The majority of the films were shot in Chicago. The few exceptions include a visit to Stillman Valley, Illinois, a bike club trip to Beloit, Wisconsin, a honeymoon to Paris & London and a visit to a horse track. The Chicago reels depict railways, neighborhood street and stoop scenes, multiple weddings, interior domestic scenes, a funeral and soda shop interiors.

SOCIETY OF THE DIVINE WORD (30 titles)

THE CATHOLIC HOUR: CATHOLIC CHILD GUIDANCE, Circa 1955

The Society of the Divine Word is an international congregation of male Catholic missionaries based in Techny, a northwest suburb of Chicago. The Society was founded in 1875 to preach in countries with insufficient or no foundation of Catholicism or to provide support to communities where the local Church is not yet viable. CFA acquired this collection in 2006 when the Robert M. Myers archives of the Society of the Divine Word deaccessioned all of their 16mm films. The collection consists predominantly of sermon films, most likely used in missionary presentations around the world. Although it is unclear whether these works were produced in Chicago, they reflect a slice of the history and religious teachings of this Chicago-based society between 1950-1985.

JAMES C. SOUCIE COLLECTION (88 reels)

The Soucie Collection is comprised of 85 reels of 8mm acetate films, an issue of the Sam Campbell Special newsletter sponsored by the Chicago and North Western Railway, and the original inventories created by the filmmaker. James Charles Soucie (1896-1967), who worked for the Pullman Company out of Indianapolis, Indiana, for forty-one years (1920-1961), shot these amateur travel films of classic American festivals, rituals, amusement parks, parades, Civil War re-enactments, national parks, industrial shows, railroad fairs and Native American tribal ceremonies. Soucie was able to travel across America with a railroad pass issued to Pullman executives.  According to his son, his father never felt the need to travel overseas as a tourist, because there was too much to see in America. James Soucie’s goal was to visit historical sites in all 50 states.

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY COLLECTION (63 titles)

Chicago Film Archives acquired this collection from the Southern Illinois University library, located in Edwardsville, Illinois. The library deaccessioned their entire 16mm film collection in 2007, and CFA selected sixty-three films from over 3,000 titles. These works span across genres, from experimental shorts to feature documentaries to educational and instructional films. The McGraw-Hill Book Company and the Encyclopedia Britannica distributed a substantial number of these films, and others are still currently in distribution by the National Film Board of Canada, California Newsreel, and Maysles Films. Highlights of this collection include works by Millie Goldsholl (another CFA collection), the documentary Coalmining Women, about the history of women in the United States Coalmining Industry, and Skater Dater, an amusing educational film assessing male rivalry and teen sexual awareness.

ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL COLLECTION (11 reels)

This collection was donated to CFA by Steven Olderr, a librarian at St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Riverside, Illinois. The films were left over from a white elephant sale at the church and the original owner is unknown. The collection includes Castle Film’s News Parades, home movies and classic studio animations such as Popeye and Mickey Mouse.

BILL STAMETS COLLECTION (9 reels)

The films in this collection were collected by Chicago area film critic and filmmaker Bill Stamets. It includes 3 films made by Chicago filmmaker Tom Palazzolo, often in collaboration, and 6 films by Stan Brakhage. CFA does not hold any films actually made by Mr. Stamets.

WALTER SUNQUIST COLLECTION (47 reels)

SUNRISE MEDIA COLLECTION (14 titles)

WARREN THOMPSON COLLECTION (23 reels)

CAMERA ON CHICAGO, Warren Thompson, 1949-1983

The initial Warren Thompson collection consisted of 2 reels of 16mm amateur films that document 35 years of citylife in Chicago and trips to Mackinac Island in Michigan shot from 1955 to 1965. As of Febraury 2011, the collection also contains 21 reels of 16mm amateur films that document domestic and international travel from 1939 to 1981.

BERT VAN BORK COLLECTION (31 titles)

The Bert Van Bork Collection contains films Van Bork directed and produced while working at Encyclopedia Britannica Films (with his 1999 short documentary EYEWITNESS being the one exception to this).

NATALIE WALSH COLLECTION (25 reels)

The Walsh Collection was shot between 1961-1975. In addition to numerous birthday and Christmas celebrations, the collection depicts several family vacations (Detroit, Florida, Mexico, San Francisco and the Virgin Islands), a Girl Scout International Rally, a trip to Lincoln’s Tomb & New Salem State Historic Park, a visit to Southern Illinois University and a 1967 Midwest snowstorm. A few experimental reels by Steven Walsh featuring stop-go animation and sailing scenes also reside in the collection.

WATERS COLLECTION (34 titles)

This collection of thirty-four 16mm “stag” films were donated in 2010 to Chicago Film Archives by Chicago realtor Stephen Waters, who received the films from a former client. The reels belonged to this client’s brother, who claimed to receive them from a friend who worked at the former Chicago Illinois Central Station on Roosevelt Road. The client’s brother later compiled these films onto two reels. Because these films are essentially orphaned, their provenance and custodial history can only be approximated. However, according to this friend, these shorts were available for viewing as “peep shows” at the Illinois Central Station. If this account is accurate, it is likely that the films would have been shown in coin-operated Panoram Jukeboxes created by the Chicago-based Mills Novelty Company in the 1939, which played closed-loop 16mm silent and sound films and were placed in numerous locations including train and bus stations. Jukeboxes exhibiting adult movies or “peep shows” would most likely have been found in penny arcades that were prominent in the Illinois Central Railway Station at the time. Some of the films may have also been distributed on the home-projection market. The films appear to have been produced by numerous different companies, each with their own distinctive styles. Many of them come from a production company called Sketchbook Films and others are produced by Joe Bonica and Movie Newsreels Inc. Bonica distributed many “stag” titles for home-projection. The films all feature nude women and range from bedroom and interior scenes or created sets where these women undress in a variety of scenarios, to a series of films where the women model poses that are supposedly made for artists to study the human figure.

HENRY WILZYNSKI COLLECTION  (22 reels)

WILMETTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION (4 reels)

O'HARE AIRPORT, 1961

This home movie collection was donated by the Wilmette Historical Museum in 2009 and documents the Grove Family from this northern suburb. The four reels were shot by Axel Grove between 1959-1963 and include footage of the Brookfield Zoo, O’Hare Airport, the Morton Arboretum, Adventure Island Amusement Park, a trip to Wilmette’s beaches, a child’s tennis lesson and a very entertaining living room puppet show. The WHS plans on donating more home movies to CFA in the near future.