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Collections

CFA's collections contain professional and amateur films of all genres, including documentaries, experimental films, and home movies, depicting histories of Chicago, the Midwest and the world. Our online catalog contains thousands of digitized items from our collections along with descriptive catalog records.

All Collections

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What is Viewable Media?
The vast majority of the material in our collections has not yet been digitized. This option allows you to filter for collections that contain media that has been digitized and made available for online viewing.
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1903 – 1904
This collection contains the preserved and restored archival materials from 7 original 35mm nitrate reels, which contain 8 distinct rolls or "views" of THE PICTORIAL STORY OF HIAWATHA, a live pageant performed in Desbarats, Ontario by the Garden River Ojibway community in 1902 - 1903. Katharine and Charles Bowden filmed this pageant so they could screen the moving images as part of their Chautauqua Lecture Circuit presentation of the same name. The reels were discovered in the Valparaiso University Special Collections Library by Judith Miller. Clearly there are reels of the pageant that are missing.
1902 – 2007
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 commercial films that she collected. Four of her films have been preserved by the National Film Preservation Foundation and the New York Women in Film & Television sponsored 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.

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Collections in Progress

Our staff is always working to expand CFA's catalog by researching, describing, and digitizing new collections. Here are the collections that are currently in progress.
1950 – 1989
53 reels of 8mm and Super 8 home movies.
A collection of 129 16mm films, mainly educational titles.
Materials related to the work of experimental filmmaker and Chicago high school teacher Eleanor Binstock.
1937 – 1967
A collection of 76 8mm home movies.
Elements associated with film Pause of the Clock, produced in the 1990s and completed digitally in 2015.
13 reels of 16mm adult films rescued from the Oak Theater in Chicago, at Armitage Ave and Western Ave, as it was being cleared out for renovation.
Two 16mm films about Fred Flom, of Menasha, Wisconsin, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1966 to 1973.
One half-hour long 8mm silent film made by Richard Guetl of Chicago, along with related materials.
1943 – 1981
129 reels of Super 8 and 8mm home movies.
Collection of over 60 reels of 16mm home movies, most shot by William J. Grede, the grandfather of Chicago-based filmmaker and writer Scott Jacobs, who donated this collection.
Collection of 8mm home movies and slides shot by Evelyn Greene of her travels.
12 cans of 35mm negatives in cans from National Film Archives - Public Archives Canada.
Collection includes 9.5mm equipment and commercial films as well as 8mm home movies from the 1940s and 1950s.
Collection of films produced by Guzik as part of his work for various companies during the late 1970s.
1929 – 1978
40 reels of home movies in Super 8, 8mm, and 16mm, mainly depicting Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s.
Collection of 13 home movies from the mid-1950s, most of which were shot by Judith Hembree's father.
Films made by, worked on, or collected by documentary filmmaker Judy Hoffman.
3 reels of family outings; 1 reel, Bar Mitzvah party, Albany Park, 1956; 1 reel, Carnival, 1956 at the University of Illinois, Champaign.
38 reels of 8mm home movies shot by Sydney Katz, primarily of family birthday parties, weddings, holidays, and vacations.
Collection of 71 8mm home movies.
1932 – 1977
Collection of 87 16mm home movies, along with 35mm slides.
Collection of predominantly industrial films worked on by Charles S. C. Lee, who worked in film production in Chicago from the 1960s – 1980s.
1960 – 1986
Collection of 8mm and Super 8 home movies.
About a dozen rolls of 16mm film, mainly comprising unedited footage shot during the 1966 football season, as well as 16mm kinescopes of the Vince Lombardi Show and the George Halas Show.
Collection of 8mm and Super 8 home movies from a Michigan family.
Home movies on 8mm and Super 8 film.
1929 – 1976
Films and audiotape depicting and recording activities of the Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.
This collection, donated by Northwestern University, is mainly comprised of 16mm films. These include prints of feature film classics formerly used in film studies instruction at Northwestern University, a collection of films made by Chicago filmmaker Helene Fischer, and a collection of films made by Wilding Studios (a Chicago-based maker of educational and industrial films).
Collection consisting mainly of 16mm elements of films made by or in collaboration with Robert Orr, both during his high school years and his professional career.
Collection of 4 16mm home movies.
47 reels of 8mm home movies found in a dumpster and donated to CFA. Reel labels indicate that the films depict visits to Europe as well as to Crivitz, Wisconsin.
13 reels of 16mm film from Dr. Herbert Ratner, who was health commissioner of Oak Park, IL, from 1949 to 1974.
1980 – 1982
Super 8 and 16mm materials related to experimental films made by Ron Lynn Richardson in the 1980s.
This collection of 8mm and 16mm films, and some audio tapes, belonged to Dr. Martin Ross of Lincolnwood, IL. He was an avid traveler and photographer, and often shot 8mm and 16mm film on his trips in addition to slides and snapshots. He shot all of the films which are home movies and travelogues.
2 reels of 16mm film about urban planning in Chicago, produced by the City of Chicago Department of Urban Renewal.
circa 1955 – 1974
Multiple 8mm and Super 8 films taken by Caroline Wenz Rubin in the 1950s-'70s in Chicago, lL; Perrysburg, OH; Yellow Springs, OH; Newton, MA; Washington, DC; and various other locations. Collection includes one or more short movies filmed by Betsy Rubin, then a high school student. Most films are family or travel documentary in nature; a few are filmed stories or plays, including one stop-action short film.
Collection of 8mm and Super 8 home movies.
Collection of over 200 16mm films, predominantly home movies shot by Arthur Senior of Homewood, Illinois.
Collection of 16mm and 8mm home movies.
1930 – 2008
Collection of over 5800 films, videos, and audio elements donated to CFA by Gary Smith, who worked for C.L. Venard for many years. Venard was a Peoria, Illinois-based producer of industrial films, mainly related to agriculture. He ran a production studio, distributed films made by others, and did work for hire for companies like Caterpillar. Smith took over the production wing of the company in 1966.
Collection of 31 reels of 16mm home movies from a Michigan family.
Three reels of film found in the church when they were clearing out old things.
A collection of educational films, newsreels, and student films.
1928 – 1940
Collection of 36 16mm home movies.
Films, videos, and audio tapes related to the organization's activities.
Materials documenting street cars in Chicago, including films, mini DV tapes, and paper materials.
1998
16mm and 35mm materials documenting the demolition of the Lakefront Properties by the Chicago Housing Authority. These buildings were located in the North Kenwood / Oakland neighborhood of Chicago near 39th Street.
Collection of 8mm home movies.

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