Home Movie Collections
Home Movies are important visual records of our history – not just an individual family’s history, but also our cultural history. During the mid-twentieth century, communities around the world stocked 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm film rolls on their drugstore shelves so anyone could record his or her own family activities. Today, home movies can show us things that regular history books and documents overlook; the way a Midwestern family decorated their home in 1957; the games that kids played in 1934; the kinds of community events and activities we enjoyed in 1971. Home movies provide a visual record of a living history – a record we must work to preserve for future generations. Listed below are the CFA collections that include home movies:
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.
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.
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)
This 16mm film collection is comprised of 1930s family travel footage shot by the doctor. 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. CFA houses 5 reels of North American travel including destination spots of Miami, Florida, New Orleans, La., the New York World’s Fair and Niagara Falls.
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.
SUSAN GRAY COLLECTION (20 reels)
This collection of home movies shot from 1936 to 1953 include scenes of the family deep sea fishing in the Bahamas, horseback riding, attending Mardi Gras (1936) and other family travels to Florida, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Death Valley and Hawaii. 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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
BILL O’FARRELL COLLECTION
THE RHODES PATTERSON COLLECTION (568 reels and elements)
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 alongside personal home movies & “for-fun” productions, all of which were made from 1937-1978.
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)
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.
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.
JOHN & MARILYN SANNER COLLECTION (7 reels)
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 snow 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 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)
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.
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.
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.
WALTER SUNQUIST COLLECTION (47 reels)
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.
HENRY WILZYNSKI COLLECTION (22 reels)
WILMETTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION (4 reels)
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.