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

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Robert and Theresa Davis Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2012-07
Extent of collection
503 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 211,000 feet; 18 reels of 8mm film totaling approximately 4200 feet; 112 reels of 1/4" magnetic audio tape; 10 MiniDVs; various ephemera including scripts and posters.
Inclusive Dates
circa 1935 - 1975
The Robert & Theresa Davis collection primarily consists of travelogue films created by the Illinois-based husband and wife duo Robert & Theresa Davis. Places that are filmed include: Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, Sicily and Yugoslavia. The collection also contains a few amateur short films and musical productions as well as a handful of educational films. Additionally, the collection contains extensive papers and ephemera, including scrapbooks, photos, maps and diaries that describe the Davis' career as filmmakers, lecturers and tour guides.
Davis, Theresa (was created by)
Theresa (Terry) Landbeck was born in Chicago in 1917. She lived on Washtenaw Avenue with her father Fred Landbeck and her mother Wilma Landbeck. She had a younger brother and sister. Her father worked at the Crane Company and died when she was 6 years old. The family then moved to Western Springs, IL where the Landbeck children went to school. Terry's mother fell ill and was in the hospital for 6 months before she passed away. Terry was 14 at the time and took care of her brother and sister while their mom was in the hospital. After Wilma's death, the younger children went to the Masonic Orphanage in La Grange, Illinois, and Terry lived with family friends and went to Lyons Township High School in La Grange. Once out of high school, Terry went to work at Western Electric in Cicero, Illinois. She became an avid photographer, and worked in Puerto Rico while at WE. She also was one of the first enrollees in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and served in Europe from 1942-1945. After her service there, she took a solo 4 month bike trip through Europe and heavily documented her journey. She then returned to Chicago and worked again at Western Electric. She met her husband, Robert (Bob) Davis, when he came through Chicago to give a travelogue lecture on Puerto Rico in 1955. They got married 6 months later and Bob moved to Chicago. Terry quit her job and they worked together creating travelogues from all around the world and then giving lectures. Terry primarily ran the production, while Bob handled the presentation. They also made a few educational films that they sold. They had no children. Bob died in 2011, and Terry passed away in 2012.
Davis, Robert (was created by)
Robert (Bob) Davis was born in 1922 in Kansas City, Missouri. Right out of high school, he began working at the Calvin Company, a Kansas City based educational and industrial film production company that for nearly half a century was the largest and most successful film producer of its type in the United States. While at Calvin, Robert began shooting his own travel films and creating lectures to accompany them. While on the lecture circuit he met his wife Terry (Landbeck) Davis. The two married six months later in 1955. Together, the two began producing more travel films, lecturing, and managing group travel tours abroad. They had no children. Bob died in 2011, and Terry passed away in 2012.
Custodial History
The Davis Collection had been created and stored at the Davis' home in Trout Valley, IL (just outside Barrington, IL). After Bob's death in 2011, CFA was contacted by one of Terry Davis' friends in Michigan about the collection. She indicated that Ms. Davis was looking for a place to archive the collection. Nancy Watrous visited Terry on June 28, 2012 and they agreed that the collection should go to CFA. Watrous brought part of the film collection back to CFA, promising to return for the rest of the films and an interview with Ms. Davis at a later date. Watrous returned on July 20 to pick up more films. Watrous and Davis agreed that CFA would return to pick up the remaining ephemera to accompany the collection. Ms. Davis died October 31, 2012. Watrous met with Terry's nephew, Fred Landbeck, in early 2013. He and the rest of the family decided they wanted to donate any remaining film materials, photos, scripts, audio recordings, etc. to CFA. Landbeck delivered the remaining materials to Watrous' home. The details of this transaction are reflected in Lot 2 of this collection.
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 in this collection
10 Minutes with 'Doc' Davis - Pen Repair & Company Views
1936: Aunt Ruth's Farm
1957: Terry & Boys in Garden
ANP "What is It?"
Africa Kariba Durban - England