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329 West 18th Street Suite 3A
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

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Margaret Conneely Collection, 1902-2007

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Collection Identifier: C.2005-01
Extent of collection
1 reel of 35mm film totaling 235 feet; 375 reels of 16mm film totaling 14757 feet; 3 reels of 8mm film totaling 750 feet; 22 reels of Super 8 film totaling 6176 feet; 6 reels of 1/4 audiotape totaling 1850 feet; 1 3/4 inch videotape cassette; 2 1/2 inch VHS videotapes cassettes; 3 15x13 inch boxes of papers, photos, magazines and books; 1 15x13 inch box with awards; 4 photo albums containing photographs and clippings.
Inclusive Dates
1902 - 2007
Bulk Dates
1949 - 1982
The Margaret Conneely Collection contains the films and papers of Margaret Conneely, a prolific and respected Chicago amateur filmmaker. The collection includes medical films she made as a cinematographer for Loyola University, story films she made with other local hobbyists and professional filmmakers, films made by other amateur filmmakers such as Carl Frazier and Nora Rafferty, and commerical films that she collected. Four of her films have been preserved by the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Women's Film Preservation Fund. The papers include a wealth of correspondence between Conneely and other amateur filmmakers, documents and publications from amateur film and photography associations, as well as photographs of Conneely and other filmmakers.

The Margaret Conneely Collection contains the films and papers created and gathered by a Chicago area amateur filmmaker. This combination of movies and related documents offers an in-depth portrait of both the artistic production and organizational structures of a mid-twentieth century art form and social institution: amateur photography and film clubs. The narrative short films by Margaret Conneely and other amateur filmmakers in this collection provide a humorous and unique insight into middle class married life in America from the late 1940s through the 1970s. The papers and photographs document a vibrant if under recognized social and creative movement that crossed between the worlds of amateur and professional filmmaking.

The collection is split into four series. Series I contains the films made by Margaret Conneely and is split into two subseries. Subseries I comprises Conneely’s work with amateur clubs from Chicago including Central Cinematographers and the Metro Movie Club. The films are fanciful looks at family life as women’s rights and the first stirrings of the sexual revolution complicated by traditional expectations of wifely duties. Highlights include The 45, Chicago: The City to See in ’63, 13 Tokens, The Fairy Princess, and Mr. E. This subseries also contains footage of women’s high school basketball games, boy scouts meetings, and behind the scenes looks at amateur film club events. Subseries II consists of the medical films that Conneely made as the staff cinematographer at Loyola Medical University. The films include footage of surgical procedures, medical testing on animals, and documentaries that follows the daily life of medical students.

Series II gathers together the films that Conneely collected from other filmmakers. Subseries I holds the work of amateur filmmakers including those associated with Conneely in Chicago and work from other clubs that she traded films with. The films include narrative shorts, travelogues to Cuba and Europe, and footage of birds. Subseries II consists of commercially available films that Conneely collected such as works by Harold Lloyd, newsreels, Laurel and Hardy shorts, and educational films by Castle Films and Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

Series III contains the films in the collection that have not yet been processed and whose provenance is unknown. As the films in this subseries are described they will be placed in the above series.

Series IV collect the papers, photos, and ephemera of Margaret Conneely. The papers include personal correspondence with other amateur filmmakers; articles written by Conneely; flyers, member lists and other organizational documents of Chicago area amateur film clubs; clippings of articles on amateur cinema and photography; schedules and flyers for amateur photography conventions; newsletters and magazine published by amateur film clubs; obituaries of amateur filmmakers; program notes for film screenings; and magazines and books dealing with home movies and filmmaking. The photographs record numerous amateur film club events and conventions taken by a number of photographers. The ephemera are the awards and trophies Conneely won for her films.

Conneely, Margaret (created by)
Chicago movie-maker Margaret Conneely (1915-2007) was active in amateur filmmaking both locally and internationally for nearly half a century. In the 1950s, Margaret’s films won awards from major amateur contests in both America and Europe, and by the 60s she had become a highly regarded competition judge, attending amateur film festivals around the world. She wrote articles on amateur film that appeared in local club newsletters, the Journal of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) and even the New York Times.
Custodial History
This collection contains films and paper created and collected by Margaret Conneely over a sixty year period. She gifted them to Chicago Film Archives in a series of donations over the fall and winter of 2004-2005.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
Chicago Film Archives holds the copyright for the films and documents created by the Margaret Conneely. For the films, photos, and additional paper materials published by others, any determination of copyright status for reproduction is the responsibility of the user.
Related Materials
Additional Metro Movie Club films and Amateur Film Club films can be found in John & Marilyn Sanner Collection at Chicago Film Archives. Other Amateur film clubs can also be found in the Ron Doerring Collection and J. Gerald Hooper Collection at Chicago Film Archives.
Collection Item
45, The
Adventure Parade: Lion-Tiger Fight!
Adventure Parade: Wing, Fang and Claw
Aesop’s Fables: The Cats Canary
American Engineer