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Charles E. Krosse Collection, 1916-1970

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Collection Identifier: C.2006-10
Extent of collection
61 reels of 16mm film totaling 21,740 feet; 59 reels of 35mm film totaling approximately 36,190 feet.
Inclusive Dates
1916 - 1970
Bulk Dates
1935 - 1953
The Charles E. Krosse Collection contains films produced and/or distributed by a Peoria film production company, C.L. Venard Productions, a company that became known for its educational films dealing with agricultural subject matter. It was donated to CFA by Charles E. Krosse, who previously worked in the Marketing division at Caterpillar. The collection contains both 16mm and 35mm films, a number of which may also be titles that Venard employees collected. Included in the collection are promotional and in-house training films made for Caterpillar, a fundraising film made for the city of Peoria, some soft-core erotic shorts, animated shorts, silent film comedies, and home movies.
The Charles E. Krosse Collection contains films produced and/or distributed by a Peoria film production company, C.L. Venard Productions. Krosse, who previously worked in the Marketing division at Caterpillar, donated the collection to CFA. 
From the teens until the early nineteen eighties the company offered the full range of film services to the Peoria region including selling and renting film equipment, producing sponsored films for local business, and distributing national and international films to local audiences. Over time Venard Productions became known for its educational films dealing with agricultural subject matters and they developed a very close relationship with the Future Farmers of America. Venard made films for corporate clients including Caterpillar, Republic Steel Corp., Keystone Steel and Wire, and Crow’s Hybrid Corn Company. Their distribution wings offered educational films produced by the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as comedies, newsreels, and feature length narratives.
The collection is split into two series, one consisting of 16mm films and the other consisting of 35mm films. Series 1 includes the 16mm films in the collection and is split into 2 subseries. Subseries 1 contains the films made for Caterpillar and is composed of projection prints and outtakes. The films are either promotional films advertising the company’s tractors or in-house training films. Subseries II includes a small number of soft-core erotic shorts mainly showing scantily clad women dancing. Subseries III includes a variety of unrelated films including animated shorts, silent film comedies, and unidentified home movies.
Series II contains the 35mm films in the collection. It is split into two subseries. Subseries I includes films actually produced by Venard including a fundraising film made for the City of Peoria and a short film showing a live performance of a country and western swing band. Subseries II comprises films distributed but not made by Venard including reels from silent feature films, sponsored films extolling the virtues of eating meat, silent short comedies, an industrial film made for Sears and Roebuck’s new line of varnish, and a number of films made by the US government to promote better farming techniques.
Venard, C.L. (created by)

Charles Lester Venard (1884-1981) worked as a photographer and filmmaker in southern Illinois from 1908 to 1970. His career spans the divide from the days of silent cinema to the introduction of videotape as a format for distributing educational films. His film company, C.L. Venard Productions, created and distributed a wide range of industrial and educational films, though by the end of his career his work focused on agricultural and farming subjects.

Born in Kansas, Venard started working at a photography studio at the age of 14. By 1908 he had moved to Peoria, Illinois where he set up his own photography studio, Venard Studio. After a brief move to Lincoln, Illinois from 1912 to 1917, Venard returned to Peoria. It was at this time that he appears to have transformed his business to include producing and distributing films. C.L. Venard Productions was a full service provider for southern Illinois.

Krosse, Charles (compiled by)

Charles E. Krosse was born in Peoria, IL, on February 27, 1925. Krosse served in the Navy, and upon graduating from the University of Kansas, he worked in Marketing at Caterpillar for decades, retiring in 1986. He donated his collection of films from C.L. Venard Productions to CFA in 2006. Krosse passed away in 2016.
Custodial History
Carolyn Faber transported the films from Peoria, IL. They previously resided with Charles Krosse, who no longer had interest in the films. Krosse obtained the collection from C.L. Venard some time in the 1980s. Some nitrate in the collection was burned before arriving at CFA.
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
The Caterpillar Corp. owns rights to some of these films. Copyright is unknown on C.L. Venard films. CFA owns rights to the few home movies in the collection and to any films made before 1928.
Collection Item
1920s Film at Caterpillar Tractors
A Citrate Special [Fragment]
Aesop’s Fable: Snow Time
Airport Maintenance & Construction
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