The Written Word

Today I was looking over an article I located from the Illustrated London News dated August 19, 1922. The title of the piece is “The Birth of the Cinematograph: From Still to Moving Pictures”. This particular article was written by Will Day. Day was an enthusiastic collector of many things, among them some of the early apparatus of pre-cinema and moving pictures. The article is a very interesting document in that it relates much of the pre-cinema history as opposed to traditional moving images. It also has me reflecting on another group of individuals in motion picture history. People such as Day, Merritt Crawford, Earl Thiesen and countless others spent an inordinate amount of time and energy in the attempt to document moving image history. When you think about it, if not for these men, much sole source data such as first person interviews and correspondence might not exist. In many cases actual footage, and equipment is no longer available, so this turns out to be our only method of providing a sense of the history of the Industry. I have found it fascinating in the course of my own research; be it by design or by accident to locate and find written histories left by many more people who played a part in the development of the film industry.

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