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Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

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Russell V. Zahn Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2013-04
Extent of collection
38 reels of 8mm film
Inclusive Dates
1933 - 1946
Bulk Dates
1933 - 1946
The Russell V. Zahn Collection contains 38 reels of 8mm film chronicling the many birthdays, Christmases, and family outings between the years of 1933 and 1946 -- primarily in and around the family's Wisconsin home. Highlights of this collection include the 1933 Chicago World's Fair, a trip to Sturgeon Bay, and some very entertaining backyard dance performances. The collection also includes one commercially produced Felix the Cat animation.
Zahn, Russell Victor (was created by)
Russell Victor Zahn was born May 14, 1901 in Racine, Wisconsin. He came from a family of settlers that were amongst the first flour millers in the area, and he himself was a merchant by trade. His father had started a business, Zahn Dry Goods Company in 1898 in downtown Racine, and by the mid 1910's it had become a full-fledged department store. Upon his fathers death, Russell became the president of the business and remained as so from 1932 to 1950. In 1923 he was married to Leona Bulgrin of Burlington, Wisconsin – where she was born and raised. They had met at the Zahn department store where she had worked as a secretary to Russell’s father. The couple had two children together. Russell Zahn passed away on September 28, 1993 – thirteen years after his wife. Much of the footage was shot by Russell in and around their North Racine home.
Custodial History
These films were given to Russell's daughter around 1960 where they remained in shoeboxes on the shelves of the family room in Racine, Wiconsin until they were donated to the Chicago Film Archives in 2013.
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 owns the rights to the home movies in this collection.
Related Materials
The Matthew V. & Sue Z. Sisak Collection ( contains home movies shot by Russell V. Zahn's daughter and son-in-law.
1933 Chicago World's Fair
1933 Chicago World's Fair pt. 2
1935 Bulgrin visit
1935 Christmas, Baby, snow plow
1935 Lake