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

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Heidkamp Family Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2018-05
Extent of collection
33 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 3700 feet; 6 reels of 8mm film totaling approximately 260 feet; 13 reels of Super 8mm film totaling approximately 650 feet; 14 videocassettes; 1 box of 35mm slides; 1 box of 35mm negatives; various filmmaking equipment; a stereoscope from ca. 1910
Inclusive Dates
1924 - 2004
Bulk Dates
1929 - 1956
The Heidkamp Family Collection consists primarily of home movies shot by Herbert A. Heidkamp, a Chicago optometrist and realtor. The 16mm films were shot between ca. 1924 - 1956 and depict the life of the Heidkamp family in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. Events recorded include First Communions, May Day celebrations, and various weddings - almost all at Queen of Angels church on Sunnyside Ave. Heidkamp also filmed historic events in the city, including the 1928 Graf Zeppelin flyover from Grant Park and a 1939 Armistice Day parade, as well as footage of notable Chicago landmarks (Wrigley Building, Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory, etc.) over the decades. The collection also contains a handful of collected commercial films (mostly German cartoons), and 8mm and Super 8 home movies from the next generation of Heidkamps.
Heidkamp, Herbert A. (was created by)
Herbert A. Heidkamp was born in 1896 to Rose Young and Emil Heidkamp of Port Washington, Wisconsin. His father Emil and uncle Nicholas Watry founded Watry & Heidkamp Opticians in Chicago in 1883, and Herbert joined the family business in the 1910s. They ran three shops in the Loop through the 1920s with one location being at 99-101 Randolph Street, across from the Iroquois Theatre -- Emil was one of those who helped retrieve the bodies following the infamous fire there in 1903. They were also the optometrists for Mother Cabrini. In addition to eye glasses, their shops also offered other optical items, including still and movie cameras from Kodak.

Herbert married Mary Toner in 1921, and they had eight children together: Rosemary, Mary Lou, Marjorie, Robert, Francis, Philip, Jerome, and Herbert Jr. The family lived in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago, first at 4533 N Western Avenue and later, 2609 W Windsor Avenue.

In 1935, Herbert became a realtor and eventually founded Heidkamp-Mitchell, Inc., a Chicago real estate firm. He was a director of the Chicago Real Estate board and a founder and president of the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce. He was also chief ranger of Queen of Angels court 46 of the Catholic Order of Foresters. He died in 1956 in Chicago.
Custodial History
Donated to CFA by James McCall "Shamey" Cramer in June 2018. Cramer is the grandson of the filmmaker, Herbert Heidkamp.
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 digital copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
Chicago Film Archives holds the copyright for the films in this collection.
Publication Date
November 15 2022
1941 - 1943: Smokies
1944: [Home Movies]
1955: Easter, 1957: Xmas, Jim Christening
Anne & TC / X-MAS