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A still from Beautiful Japan

A still from Beautiful Japan, a 1917 silent travelogue produced by Benjamin Brodsky under the auspices of the Imperial Japanese Railways. The film depicts scenes of daily life in Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokahama, Hakodate, Kobe and Nagasaki.



Filmmaker Benjamin Brodsky (?) in a geisha house, from Beautiful Japan.

Filmmaker Benjamin Brodsky (?) in a geisha house, from Beautiful Japan.



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Afghan woman and child. Photograph by Timothy Asch, from the Papers of Timothy Asch. An exhibit of Asch photographs is in the works. In the meantime, visit the Williams Afghan Media Project.


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Filmmaker John Moyer (right) with the Dalai Lama of Tibet

Filmmaker John Moyer (right) with the Dalai Lama of Tibet.



Kristina Wilson and Julie Hoskin of the Move Crew

Kristina Wilson and Julie Hoskin of the Move Crew showing the new lantern slide storage facilities at MSC. Photo by Paula Fleming.



Archivist Jeannie Sklar

Archivist Jeannie Sklar pauses to catch her breath during the move. Photo by Paula Fleming.



  Porfi Rioja, Susan McElrath (rear), Marianne Petrino-Schaad and Barbara Watanabe preparing materials for the move

Porfi Rioja, Susan McElrath (rear), Marianne Petrino-Schaad and Barbara Watanabe preparing materials for the move. Photo by Jake Homiak.



Jill Fri (rear, left), Natasha Johnson (front, center), Barbara Watanabe, and others processing collections in preparation for the move

Jill Fri (rear, left), Natasha Johnson (front, center), Barbara Watanabe, and others processing collections in preparation for the move. Photo by Jake Homiak.


Treasures From the American Film Archive

On Sunday, November 25, excerpts from the Human Studies Film Archives film, Beautiful Japan, will be screened on the cable TV channel Turner Classic Movies as part of a special series airing Sundays in November. The series showcases films from Treasures from American Film Archives, a DVD collection of unknown or seldom-seen silent-era features, newsreels, documentaries, home movies, experimental animation, avant-garde works, and other classic films from American archives. The four-disk boxed set was produced by the National Film Preservation Foundation with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Charitable Trust. Turner Classic Movies donated funds for film preservation to each of the 19 archives participating in the DVD project. Read Reviews of the DVD...

HSFA Hosts Visual Culture Symposium

On November 29, the HSFA and Temple University's Department of Anthropology will host "Visual Culture: A Future for the Anthropology of Visual Communication," a symposium featuring current work by graduate students in the field of visual anthropology. The symposium will be held in the International Gallery of the S. Dillon Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, during the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association(28 Nov. - 2 Dec. 2001). The first of these symposiums, in November 1997, proved to be an important public venue for presenting innovative research. The "Visual Culture" symposium is open to the public.

Now Available: Inkjet Prints, TIFFs and JPEG images

The National Anthropological Archives is now offering inkjet prints of every work of art and photograph in its collections, including its rare historic glass-plate negatives. The inkjet prints are produced on demand from high-resolution digital images and are available on archival matte or glossy paper in sizes ranging from 8 inches x 10 inches to 13 inches x 19 inches. The cost per print is $50. High-resolution images in TIFF format, suitable for printing or publication, are also available for $50. Researchers who require reference images can purchase low-resolution (72 dpi) JPEG images of previously scanned images for $7.50. Images will be sent on CD-ROM or may be e-mailed or FTPed for faster delivery. For further information, please write

NFPF Grant Preserves Fitzpatrick's Songs of the South

The HSFA is pleased to be the recipient of a $2,620 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve the ca.-1926 film Songs of the South. This one-reel film is an early production of James A. Fitzpatrick, who went on to produce the widely known "Fitzpatrick Traveltalks," a theatrical series of travel shorts produced for M-G-M. Songs of the South is a fictional depiction of plantation life during the Civil War that dramatizes slave life and, in particular, the idealized relationship between plantation masters and slaves.

Video Footage of Bamana Screened in San Francisco

On October 25, the Bay Area Video Coalition screened video footage from the HSFA in Videocapsule: An Evening of Social Memory and Video Art, a program of newly restored video art and documentary footage from the 1960s and 1970s. The program included video of the Bamana people in the Kolokani area of Mali, recorded by James Brink between 1974 and 1976 (HSFA 2001.3.1). Dr. Brink's 13 hours of video include drama and dance events performed in the dry season in both rural and urban areas in northwestern Mali. His video collection complements Smithsonian curator Mary Jo Arnoldi's research on theatre, dance and aesthetics in the adjacent Bamana region of Segu, Mali.

John Moyer Film Collection (India, Jamaica, U.S.)

The HSFA is currently processing approximately 8,000 feet of film footage shot in India in 1965 by John Moyer, an adventurer, lecturer, author and former U.S. Consul in India. After four years of service in India, Moyer set out to create a film to introduce U.S. and Canadian audiences to "India and her people." Filmed in vivid Kodachrome, Moyer's footage was shot from the northern boundary along the Himalayan range to the tip of the great peninsula and from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. Moyer strived to document the cultural practices and industries of India with careful attention and understanding of the interplay between ancient traditions and modernism. Highlights include a bounty of ceremonial dance footage and documentation of Moyer's audience with the then 31-year-old exiled Dali Lama of Tibet.

The HSFA's Moyer Collection also includes footage of Jamaica and of Yellowstone National Park, both scheduled for processing in early 2002.

HSFA Welcomes Film Archivist Lynanne Rollins

The archives is pleased to welcome Lynanne Rollins, who will be joining our staff for a year to process film collections. Ms. Rollins was one of the first graduates from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House. In 1999, she worked on contract for the HSFA, processing film collections and establishing new standards for collection processing. We are fortunate to have her expertise once again.

THE J.P. Harrington Project Makes Fieldnotes Accessible

The Native American Language Center at the University of California, Davis has begun a project to increase access to more than 375,000 pages of linguistic and ethnographic field notes relating to California's native peoples, collected by Smithsonian linguist John Peabody Harrington during the first half of the 20th century. Harrington's fieldnotes include interviews with men and women who were often among the last remaining fluent speakers of their language. His fieldnotes have proved to be a treasure of indigenous knowledge. The project is creating a database from Harrington's microfilmed field notes that can be used to print the continuous text as well as to generate lists of words and phrases. The database can be searched for specific terms, such as plants, animals, personal names, place names, and various cultural items. The J.P. Harrington Project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Native American Language Center.

Harrington and his associates produced more than 1,600 sound recordings. Copies of these recordings are available on cassette from the NAA. For information, please write

In Memorium: Richard G. Emerick (1926-2001)

The HSFA mourns the passing of donor Dr. Richard G. Emerick, Professor of Anthropology and Founding Director of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, Orono. Dr. Emerick studied the Iglulingmiut of the Canadian Arctic, the Havasupai of the American Southwest and the Kapingamarangi and the Kusai of Micronesia and Western Polynesia. Two films made by Emerick in the 1950s, on the Iglulingmiut and the Havasupai, were donated to the HSFA in 1991.

Just before he died, Dr. Emerick completed a narration and sound track to be synched with his silent film on the Iglulingmiut. A copy of the narrated film, produced by the Hudson Museum, will be deposited with the HSFA.

Here, There and Everywhere

In mid-November, the NAA completed the move of its artwork, photograph and manuscript collections to the Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland. In preparation for moving the film, video and audio collections later this month, the HSFA staff is concentrating on basic processing of unprocessed film and still photographic collections and re-housing of the reference film collection. The move has provided the HSFA with the opportunity to separate the 16mm magnetic sound tracks from the 16mm workprint as a preventative measure against early acetate deterioration in the workprints.

Although the move will be completely finished by early December, our new offices will not be ready until early January. Look here for updates to this schedule.

Newly Accessible Film Collections

The HSFA has recently made accessible approximately 50 theatrical travelogue shorts, most from the Magic Carpet of Movietone series. The Magic Carpet series, produced in the 1920s, 30s and 40s by Fox Films, highlights tourist destinations in the Far East, Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Titles include The Evergreen Empire (Washington state), In Old Guatemala, The Kingdom of Sheba (Ethiopia), Rhineland Memories and Wandering through China. These 16mm films form part of the Father Bernard R. Hubbard, S. J. collection.

Robert Myles Miller's Footage of Suriname, 1963.

In the winter of 1962-63, New York City advertising executive Robert Miller decided to extend one of his frequent business trips to South America and the Caribbean to include a journey into the interior of Dutch Guiana. Miller had an amateur's interest in South American cultures and Pre-Colombian art, and his trip by chartered airplane and dugout canoe to Paramaribo and up the Marowijne and Tapanahoni Rivers was the realization of a longtime dream. Miller recorded his trip with a 16mm motion-picture camera, 35mm still camera and a portable audio tape recorder. The collection includes 35 min. of silent color motion-picture film (now available on video), edited by Miller, with maps to illustrate his itinerary. Also included in the collection are approx. 100 2"x 2" color transparencies and 5 small reels of 1/4" audio tape recordings. Of particular interest is Miller's documentation of the local people and villages of Paramaka, Ndjuka and Drietabbetje. In April 2000, Miller discussed his expedition with ethnomusicologist Kenneth Bilby, a research associate of the film archives. An audio cassette recording of this interview is included as supplementary material for the collection.

David Minsk Footage of South Georgia and
the Falkland Islands and India

Minsk was a research physicist with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers whose duties took him to two rather remote regions of the globe in the early 1960s. In 1961, Minsk spent six months at a military outpost on the South Atlantic island of South Georgia. He documented his posting, and the voyage to the site via the Falkland Islands, with a 16mm motion-picture camera. The 40 min. of footage (now on video) includes both silent color and black and white images of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and the station in South Georgia. Also included in the footage is a well-documented whale butchering on a city dock in the Falklands

In 1963, Minsk was part of a U.S. military support project to northern India following the Aksai Chin incursion by China. His 22 minutes of silent 16mm color film (now on video) includes images from such remote regions of northern India as Jammu and Kashmir, Kargil and Leh in the province of Ladakh. The recent transfer of this film footage to video will allow Mr. Minsk to add contextual annotations to his materials.

Read Old News While Waiting for More New News


Publication date: November 2001


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