10 Items in This Collection
1) [Summer recreation, Blessing of the Fleet, circa 1972--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 1
: aerial; Fords at Flats, Maia & Gang; Marine Specialties; Andrea & Paul at airport, plane comes in, Finch, Sue & Mildred, Maia, Guard, take off, aerial of dunes, ocean &...   more
2) [Summer recreation, 1975--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 2
: Summer 1975 – Sue arrives / muffin at flats, Sue leaves, Betty & Rod, Camp, Saul & Mary’s camp & jugs, Maia brings boat in to Flats., Horowitz & Champlins at Flats, An...   more
3) [Installing a fence in winter, 1975--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 3
: Cape Christmas 1975, House – travel all with fences on roof, post holing & fencing different angles & pan, children, Maia & Mildred, Whacking log; Paul, Andrea, Maia put i...   more
4) [Tall Ships Festival, 1976--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 4
: 76 – tall ships, Newport, early morning & wharf, bridge to Torpedo station, Andrea & Paul looking, ship comes by with tug, Maia watches – Mildred & children having lunch,...   more
5) [Summer recreation, 1976--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 5
: Summer 1976, from Monument & Channel, Wharf, dune & jeep, pan to lodging out at Back Beach, area around Leo’s and down beach past houses, kids run off our porch and & down...   more
6) [Winter and swim meet, circa 1979--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 6
“Flea Mkt” / 79A with swim meet | ;: Provincetown houses in winter, ocean and monument in background, children climbing hill – snow on the ground, ocean in background, boy chewing gum...   more
7) [Summer recreation, circa 1979--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 7
: From our gate, Paul & Andrea, bluff – cold, close up Paul, yard, pan to harbor & life station | ;: Warren J. Silva red crane – hoists truck on its side right side up, bulldoz...   more
8) [Summer recreation, circa 1972--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 8
: Andrea in water – pan to our truck & boat, Nat tilts it, drives off, swings it around; kid demolishing roof; Mildred, Paul, & Andrea watch from boat; close up of kid; ice hous...   more
9) [Boat launch, circa 1972--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 9
: Great flounder, Champlin/Adams launch, Sea squirt in tow, marine specialties & Tom filling air, divers suiting up over underwater shots – bottles in boat, Pam & Marcia inspect...   more
10) [Moving Adams' House, 1978--Nathaniel Champlin--home movies.] Reel 10
: Side one- Provincetown 1978 Leo’s film: House moving, long shot from Leo’s to David’s shack, same blur, pan David’s North close up, beams blurred, dozer portrait – blurred, pan Leo’s...   more
Champlin, Nathaniel Collection
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Credit: Nathaniel Champlin Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Mission bell dune shack owned by the Champlin family. Provincetown, Massachusetts; 1976.
Primary Format and Extent
film (3538 ft) : si., col. ; Super 8
Collection Date Range
1969 – 1979
The collection consists of a total of 3,538 feet of amateur super 8mm film from the late 1960s-1970s, shot primarily by Nathaniel Champlin. The films document his family and neighbors who lived in the dune shacks in the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District of the Cape Cod National Seashore. They take place mostly in Provincetown, Massachusetts and include some footage taken in Newport, Rhode Island. Coverage of family recreation includes boating, fishing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, water skiing, and other summertime activities around Provincetown, Massachusetts. Champlin recorded many aerial images of the dune shacks and the Cape Cod National Seashore, in addition to historical events such as the Newport, Rhode Island Tall Ships Festival held in 1976 to commemorate America’s Bicentennial. Of particular interest are the reels documenting daily life in the Provincetown dune shacks and the rich history of the fishing community, such as the "Blessing of the Fleet" tradition.
Biographical/Historical Notes

Nathaniel L. Champlin was born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1919.  As a teenager, Nathaniel learned from John Howard Benson in his art studio and studied photography, eventually taking pictures for the yearbook in both high school and college. In 1939 he received his BA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

During World War II he participated in the Italian Campaign and Anzio Invasion as a 2nd Lt. in the army. Under the GI Bill, Nathaniel received his Master's and Doctorate from Columbia University. He later became a Professor at Wayne State University College of Education in Detroit, and taught art and photography at Cranbook Art Academy.

In 1948, while fishing with friends in the Peaked Hill Bars area of Cape Cod, Nathaniel discovered a shack which had been built in the early 1930s by Jake Loring, the operator of Loring’s Taxi, and carpenter Dominic Avila. Dominic had built the shack with wood salvaged from a 100-year old home he was paid to demolish in Truro, Massachusetts.

When Nathaniel purchased the shack from Dominic in 1953 it was derelict and he spent the next few years making repairs and salvaging building materials from houses that were being torn down in Brooklyn, NY. The shack became known as “Mission Bell” for a bell that Nathaniel obtained from a one-room schoolhouse in Michigan, and suspended on old telephone poles outside of their Cape Cod home.

Nathaniel married Mildred Kautto Champlin and they had three children: Maia Champlin Peck, Andrea Champlin, and Paul Champlin.  He began filming on super 8mm shortly after the birth of his son Paul. Over the next several decades, Nathaniel shot and edited many films which document his family's activities in Provincetown. He also made films on scuba diving and bottle collecting which were exhibited in schools and other educational settings.

Nathaniel died on March 16, 2015 at the age of 95, at which time his family still occupied the Mission Bell dune shack in Cape Cod.

Condition Governing Reproduction and Use
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See http://oldfilm.org/content/stock-footage-licensing for more information.
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