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

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Maurice Bailen Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2019-08
Extent of collection
4 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 1600 feet
Inclusive Dates
1933 - 1979
A collection of 4 16mm films documenting the history of social movements from the Great Depression onwards, while also providing a vivid glimpse of life in Chicago during the 1930s through the late 1970s.
Maurice Bailen (1905-1980) was a Chicago-based filmmaker and typographer whose films were devoted to capturing social movements during pivotal moments in American history. Beginning with the important film, The Great Depression, which features rare footage of Chicago during that turbulent era, followed by Confrontation, a work exploring the country's racial and class divisions during the 1960s and 70s, Bailen utilized the cinematic medium to express political ideas in a uniquely humanistic way. 

Bailen was also a member of the Chicago chapter of the Workers Film and Photo League, which was an organization of filmmakers, photographers, writers, and projectionists that operated during the 1930s. They were committed to the use of film and photography to advocate for social change, and The Great Depression was produced under that group's auspices. It is widely believed to be one of the few films produced by the Workers Film and Photo League to have survived. 
Bailen, Maurice (created by)
Maurice Bailen (1905-1980) was a filmmaker and typographer who lived in Chicago most of his life. His films were largely concerned with presenting issues of social justice at turbulent times in American history, while also vividly capturing the people of Chicago. 
Custodial History
The films were stored by Maurice's nephew, John Bailen, before being brought to the Chicago History Museum in August 2017. The museum subsequently referred the films to CFA in March 2019.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives for on-site access. Due to the fragile nature of the films, and the fact that they are rare, original work prints, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
Chicago Film Archives holds the copyright for the films in this collection.
Collection Item
Art Institute Class Film
The City