Moving Images of Work Life, 1916-1960
These collections were selected as records of work by men and women in northern New England agricultural environments, traditional and modernizing industries, and early twentieth century urban situations.

What is the purpose of describing these moving images and what is our relationship to the works?
  • Our purpose is to raise public and scholarly awareness of moving images as important primary source materials for enjoyment and use.
  • We have a custodial relationship, striving to treat the donors and materials with respect and attention--in perpetuity.
  • The benefit of online descriptive records with image surrogates is that many more people will know the collections exist.
  • An important shortcoming of online access is that the small screen diminishes the experience by skipping the clarity and thoughtfulness of discussion during research. This is a largely unrecognized downside to instant search/return/next.
  • Our true goal is to support and encourage a much closer relationship between you and the collections. Interaction with the moving images in their larger context at the archives has enormous benefits.
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Services, Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program.

Katrina Dixon was the project media cataloger.
Karan Sheldon was the project director.

Featured Collections
Bath Historical Society Collection
"See yourself" films captured townspeople of all ages with the intent to sell them tickets. Films called "Movie Queen," like this one made by an itinerant director in Bath, Maine, in the 1930s catalog a town's trades.
Groth, Ernest Collection
Ice harvesting was a significant New England industry into the early twentieth century. The film in this collection, from 1926, documents the process--one of over a dozen ice harvesting films at NHF, including footage in the Whipple Family Collection, also in Moving Images of Work Life.
Hiram Historical Society Collection
Work in a rural town from 1937 to 1939, documented by the town's grocer who was a blueberry farmer, member of the fire department, and town clerk for nearly 50 years. Hiram, Maine, population about 1,400.
Medomak Camp Collection
Many youth summer camps were multi-generational seasonal businesses. Medomak was founded by Frank Poland in 1904. Much of the footage is shot by Poland, documenting counselors, camp workers, and campers on land that was once his family farm.
Pearmain, Pierce Collection
How and where food reached urban consumers is depicted in 1926 films made for the centennial of Boston's Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. Philip Davis, who immigrated from Russia as a child, shot the marketplace, its neighborhood, and the farms and fisheries that served it.

Work Life Collections