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Essay on Sources W hen I first conceived of this study, there was little on the subject of early female filmmakers. Now both empirical and theoretical scholarship is exploding. Interested scholars can begin their journey with an online visit to the Women Film Pioneers Project at Duke University ( web/film/wfp). In addition to providing online information, this project is creating a book series, including a sourcebook to “jumpstart” research on women in the silent film industry, and a monograph series on individual filmmakers and films. Primary Sources The bad news is that studio records, much like the films themselves, have mostly disappeared, leaving the discourse of trade journals, fan magazines, newspapers, the occasional memoir, and extant films to provide the bulk of primary research. As rich as these sources are, they were written with various motivations. In other words, publicity writers often lie, and so do autobiographers, but not always. The good news is that several primary sources are online, and films that once required a visit to the Library of Congress or the Museum of Modern Art can be added to one’s private collection with a brief internet search and a credit card. This is a tremendous advance for the researcher with limited travel funds, but researchers should keep in mind that it is also useful to see the marginalia on the primary documents, the advertising between articles of Moving Picture World, and to sit in a darkened archive experiencing the physicality of the reels of film. The single most important source of primary information came from the pages of the industry’s trade journals, particularly Moving Picture World. Published from 1907 to 1927, Moving Picture World aimed to inform exhibitors about the industry in a balanced manner. It covered both licensed and independent film manufacturers, and it provided information on release dates of various companies, as well as film reviews, interviews, business news, gossip, and plenty of advertising. Other important early trade journals include Photoplay, Motion Picture News, Exhibitors’ Herald, Motion Picture Magazine, Moving Picture News, Motion Picture Stories, and Wid’s Year Book. Mostly unindexed, these magazines require time and dedication from the researcher , but they are incredibly rich and thus indispensable for early film research. Scholars are undoubtedly spending less time in front of the microfilm reader, however , since the 1997 publication of Filmmakers in the Moving Picture World: An Index of Articles, 1907–1927, edited by Annette M. D’Agostino (Jefferson, NC: McFarland ). Most of the primary research for this study took place at the Margaret Herrick Library of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles . The Herrick Library houses not only an extensive collection of trade magazines on microfilm but a comprehensive library of film-related books, including rare copies, as well as oral histories and special collections. The latter is a scholar’s treasure trove of stills, publicity materials, production files, and clippings files listed by individual, film, and subject. The Cinema-Television Library at the University of Southern California offers its own film collections and special collections, including the Warner Bros. Archives; and the University of California at Los Angeles houses an extensive oral history collection, as well as special collections, including the Dorothy Arzner papers and the Albert E. Smith (Vitagraph) papers. The university’s Film and Television Archive houses several rare films relevant to this study, including The Love Light (1921, directed by Frances Marion). The Florence Lawrence and Florence Turner papers are housed at the Seaver Center for Western Research at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and the Film Department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City offers films, stills, and a special collections department. The librarians at the National Film and Television Archive of the British Film Institute in London were particularly helpful in arranging the viewing of several Florence Turner films, as well as Alice Guy’s La vie du Christ (1906), Ruth Roland, Kalem Girl (1912), Hazards of Helen: Girl at Lone Point (1914?), and Lois Weber’s Suspense (1912); the institute also provided several stills for this study. The bulk of my film viewing took place at the Motion Picture, Broadcast, and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress. Boasting the largest collection of silent films in the United States, the Library of Congress is especially rich in early films thanks to the Paper Print Collection (1894–1912). Films once copyrighted by providing each sequential frame on...


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