40 Items in This Collection
1) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 1
Can notes: "Bemi Trunk Movie - In + Out 1922? + 8/23/47 copy made Feb. 1962." Donor notes: "Original copy (I think) of '34 Bemi Explode from a Trunk'. August 23, 1947 Plus other So....   more
2) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 2
Donor notes: "Original copy (I think) of '34 Bemi Explode from a Trunk'. August 23, 1947 Plus other So. Tam. [South Tamworth, NH] . Reunion events of same date (Mother's 70th year). Th...   more
3) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 3
Can notes: "Cirrus Cruises 1930's. An edited SNS original" On leader: "SNS Pix Cruising on Cirrus". Sidney Shurcliff was a classmate of Alan Bemis' at Harvard. Shurcliff also pho...   more
4) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 5
Can notes:"Grown-up Stuff MAINE 1937 "Men's Cruise" + other" Donor notes: "Grownup Stuff Maine 1937 Picnic at Marshalls (black +white) early July [Cruise to the Eastward loading bo...   more
5) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 6
Donor notes: "Mixed Cruise 1941 Reel 1 Loves, windjammer" The yacht "Cirrus" is a Fisher Island Sound class sloop, sail number 11 with a distinctive red hull. She was built at Herres...   more
6) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 7
Donor notes: "Mixed cruise 1941 Reel 2" The yacht "Cirrus" is a Fisher Island Sound class sloop, sail number 11 with a distinctive red hull. She was built at Herreshoff Manufacturing C...   more
7) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 8
Can notes: "Maine Cruises 1946". Donor notes:"Kids Cruise - Ann, Margot, F…[unreadable] Parson et al to Roque with Kingmans on Hob Nob + Camerons on Blessed Event Cruise with Loves a...   more
8) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 9
Can notes: "S.T. Christmas 1927" Bemis family Christmas at their farm in South Tamworth, New Hampshire, 1927. Alan Bemis in some shots. Sunny day with snow on the ground. Snowball f...   more
9) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 10
Can notes: "Ann + Margot 1931." Donor notes: "Ann + Margot Weston March 21, 1931 Ann + Margot indoors Cohasset June 1931 Ann + Margot outdoors Kodacolor poor color Cohassett Summer...   more
10) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 11
"The Rise and Fall of Susan Lennox" (Motormaulers 1930) Can Labels: "The Rise & Fall of Susan Lennox. [At Concord, N.H. - 1930]. Motormaulers. ACB's Stanley Special in Cambridge au...   more
11) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 12
Can notes: "Junkman's Holiday (Bootleggers) Motormaulers 1932" Donor notes: "Junkman's Holiday (Bootleggers) Motormaulers 1932. March 1980 4 copies made." See also: "The Saga of the...   more
12) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 13
Can notes: Rollo's Revenge Reel 1 Motormaulers 1933 2313.0028 is duplicate of this reel. See also: "The Saga of the Motormaulers" by Alan Bemis and Sidney Shurcliff, May 12, 1980"...   more
13) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 15
Why Do Oysters Perspire? Reel 1 Donor notes: "March 1980 5 copies made. Why Do Oysters Perspire? Alan Bemis original. Reel 1 (Jewel Robbery) Motormaulers 1934 Original" 2313.0030 is a...   more
14) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 14
Can notes:"Rollo's Revenge Reel 2 Motormaulers 1933" 2313.0029 is a duplicate of this reel See also: "The Saga of the Motormaulers" by Alan Bemis and Sidney Shurcliff, May 12, 19...   more
15) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 16
2313.0016 Why do Oysters Perspire Reel 2 2313.0031 is a duplicate of this reel Donor notes:" March 1980 5 copies made. Why Do Oysters Perspire? Reel 2 (Jewel Robbery). Motormaulers 193...   more
16) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 17
2313.0017 Building High Head…Maine 1937 Donor notes: "Building High Head House MAINE 1937. Construction at High Head 1937 Schooner "Annie & Reuben" docks at High Head July Unloadin...   more
17) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 18
Donor notes: "Bemis Maine 1938 +1937? EXLPT for GAM Cruise" "Summer High Head - 1938 (+37?) Cirrus + Corbeau getting ready for sail [illegible] Ringtown- Shurcliffs on Cirrus spreade...   more
18) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 19
2313.0019 Maine Summer 1939 Donor notes: "MAINE summer 1939 [Bemis] Early July Faith Bob Loves [illegible] in Stinson Swimming in cove July 16 Seaplane cruise Mickle's boat sail...   more
19) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 20
October Thru February 1939-40 Donor notes on can: October thru February, 1939-40. Faith in October, Dec, 12, 1939 + Jan 19, 1940. Ann + Alice Jan 21, 1940 Ice + swimming in Maine Feb...   more
20) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 21
Cruising Reel 1 Donor notes on can: "CRUISING Reel 1 as edited by SNS, 1947. Shook up by ACB" Donor notes in can: "Edited by SNS in 1947 Cruising 1939 Dicksons and Shurcliffs on Gu...   more
21) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 22
Cruising Reel 2 Donor notes on can: "CRUISING REEL II as edited by SNS 1947" Donor notes in can: "CIRRUS -1930s" Meeting up w/ George Wheelwright's Valgerda in Machias Bay Big NW th...   more
22) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 23
Family Stuff--July 1939-June 1941 16mm col. 350 ft. Donor notes on can: "Family Stuff- Wayland-Faith at 6 mos. Air Views of Maine, Jan 1941 July 1939 - June 1941" Donor Notes: "July...   more
23) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 24
Seaplane flying …mostly 1940 Donor notes on can: "SEAPLANE FLYING FLYING Mostly 1940 Seaplane Cruise at High Head 1940 Luscombe 1941 Harry Proctor in Fairchild 1940 (Blue) Mike Ha...   more
24) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 25
Donor notes: "Sid Shurcliff flying w/ Harry Proctor, High Head to Rockland + return. Beautiful fog below. Excellent color Cirrus + Vieux Corbeau provisioning on Hi Hd float - Harold +...   more
25) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 26
Donor notes: "Maine Cruising #2 4 masted schooner Lubec in fog Schurcliff + Murry Fairbank Vieux Corbeau + Cirrus Smelt Brook V.C. + Khamsin + Cirrus Roque I. Loves + Wilders wi...   more
26) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 27
Donor notes: "Back 1947 Several breaks in film - 9/86 1) BBB Co Cruise -Not much of this) July 1947 2) Seabee taking off + [illegible] to Chapie + Becky 3) Cruise to St Johns Aug...   more
27) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 33
Alan/Mary Wedding 2 Views of the Frank Osgood's garden in Santa Barbara, CA, in full bloom for the wedding of Alan Cogswell Bemis and Mary Chapin ("Chapie") on July 18, 1928. Views of...   more
28) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 34
Ann+Margot 1929+1930 Donor notes: "Mary, Peggy, Whiskers + others on lawn [C.H.] + baseball in meadow April 7, 1929 Ann- outdoors posing for...   more
29) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 35
Ann+Margot/Hunting 1932-1933 Donor notes: "Margot (in Trumbull's hse [sic] upstairs Dec. 1931 Ann+Margot - Tumbull's April 1932 Start of Oct. 12th...   more
30) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 36
Ann+ Margot 1934 Donor notes: "Ann+ Margot 1934 April 29 1934 on Billy July 15---+ Tennis Oct 34 - on Billy Nov 3 34 Millwood...   more
31) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 37
Kids Wayland 1935-6 Donor notes: "Wayland 1935+36 Ann coasting (sled + Austin) Feb 1935 Alice (4 weeks old) April 5, 1935 Transplanting Red Cedar May 25, 1935 Ann + Margot under hos...   more
32) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 38
Kids Wayland 1936 Donor notes: "Wayland 1936 Ann + Margot coasting + skiing Feb 29, 1936 Alice- 1 Yr. old - March 1936 Ann + Margot 'Jack + Jill' May 14, 1936 Alice 1st steps May...   more
33) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 39
Kids Wayland 1938-39 Donor notes: "Wayland 1938+39 Alice feeding chickens + Easter Egg hunt etc. April 16, 1938 Snow scenes--Nov 26,27, 1938 Ann - bird hunting Christmas time 193...   more
34) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 40
Cruise South in Cirrus with Ted- 1935 The yacht Cirrus is a Fisher Island Sound 31 class sloop, sail number 11 with a distinctive red hull. She was built at Herreshoff Manufacturing...   more
35) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 41
Family Stuff Maine + Mass. 1937 Donor notes: "Family Stuff 1937 Alice with dogs and kids on pony Jan 1937 Kids on cycles--------May 1 1937 Airplane at Wayland Kids + Dad in Austin...   more
36) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 42
Bermuda Race- 1946 Donor notes on can: Fred Lane's Bermuda Race on Khamsin 1946. The Newport to Bermuda Race was sailed in June, 1946 from Newport, RI, to St. David's Head, Bermuda....   more
37) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 43
Family Stuff [mostly] Becky - Oct. 1946 Donor notes: "Autumn 1946 thru August 1948 Concord- autumn colors - 1946 Becky in spring -1947 Becky Nov 22 - 1947 Becky - Easter - 1948 Be...   more
38) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 48
"Alan Bemis Commentary on Motormaulers." Alan Bemis comments on all of the Motormauler films as they are shown on screen. See reels 2313.0011, 2313.0012,2313.0013, 2313.0014, 2313.001...   more
39) [Alan Bemis—home movies] Reel 32
Alan/Mary Wedding Views of the festivities associated with the wedding of Mary Chapin to Alan Cogswell Bemis, July 18, 1928. Views of the wedding party in the garden of Mr. and...   more
40) [Alan Bemis--home movies]
47 reels of 16mm film. 2 archival original VHS tapes (items 48 and 49) are at CFD1.   more
Bemis, Alan Collection
0 People like this  |  I like this too
Collection Identifier(s)
[Alan Bemis--home movies], 2313
Credit: Alan Bemis Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Crews construct High Head, the summer home of Alan Bemis, Brooklin, ME, 1937.
Credit: Alan Bemis Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Crews construct High Head, the summer home of Alan Bemis, Brooklin, ME, 1937.
Primary Format and Extent
film (13,625 ft.) : si., b&w and col. ; 16 mm.
Secondary Format and Extent
2 VHS tapes
Collection Date Range
1927 – 1948
The Alan Bemis Collection contains 47 reels of 16 mm. film shot by Alan Bemis and Sidney Shurcliff between 1927 and 1948, 2 VHS tapes, and an Ampro Precision 16 mm. projector. The collection shows various yacht cruises and voyages, offering sea and aerial views of the coast of New England. These films were used to record annual men’s and mixed cruises from Brooklin, Maine, to Passamaquoddy Bay (an inlet of the Bay of Fundy between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada) on the yacht Cirrus. Footage depicts sailing, seaplanes, and lighthouses along the Maine coast. Among the sea voyages, the collection contains many family scenes depicting winter activities like sledding and skiing, as well as birthday parties and trick family films. The collection also contains a group of Motormauler films, conceived and shot by Sidney Shurcliff. The Motormauler films are amateur films in which the Motormauler Club used $10 junk cars to create dramatic, often dangerous chase and crash scenes filmed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Biographical/Historical Notes
Alan Cogswell Bemis (1906-1991) was the third of seven children born to Albert Farwell Bemis and Faith Gregg Bemis. (See also: the Albert Farwell Bemis collection in NHF). The children were born between 1900 and 1916. Bemis attended Milton Academy, graduated from Harvard University in 1928, and received a doctorate degree in physical meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a professor of physics at MIT, and was director of MIT's Weather Radar Research Project. He worked on guided missile technology during World War II as part of a defense grant to MIT, and received a Certificate of Merit from President Harry S. Truman. He retired from MIT in 1972. Alan Bemis married Mary Chapin (Chapie) in 1928. They raised five daughters: Ann, Margot, Alice, Faith and Becky. They lived in homes in Boston, Weston, Wayland, and Concord, Massachusetts. Early summers were spent at the senior Bemis' home in Cohasset, MA, and other vacations at the family home in South Tamworth, NH. In 1930, Ken and Margy Parson from Weston, MA, invited Alan and Chapie to spend a weekend at their summer home in Brooklin, ME. Thereafter the Bemis family spent part of every year in Maine, building their summer home "High Head" on Naskeag Point in Brooklin in 1937. For further biographical information about Alan C. Bemis, see the donor file, which includes his "Random Recollections" which were dictated in 1988 and 1989. Bemis offers reminiscences of personal and family history, his wedding and life with his wife Mary Chapin Bemis, his automobile collections, boating and sailing, flying experiences, and Maine storytelling. The Collection File also includes a biography created for his Harvard class reunions, a list of owned cars, and recollections of family fun. A copy of "The Saga of the Motormaulers" by Bemis and Sid Shurcliff written in 1980 which describes the making of the Motormaulers film series is also included in the collection. Bemis's name appears in the correspondence register of the Vannevar Bush papers at the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/mss/text/bush.html. Sidney N. Shurcliff, who photographed and edited the "Motormauler" films in this collection, was a classmate of Alan Bemis's at Harvard. His father, Arthur, and Frederick Law Olmsted, founded the Harvard School of Landscape Design, the first professional program of its kind in the world. Arthur Shurcliff was the landscape designer for the gardens of Colonial Williamsburg. Sidney N. Shurcliff received his education as a landscape designer at Harvard, and joined his father in practice in the 1930s, expanding the office to become Shurcliff, Merrill & Footit. He is notable for being instrumental in the revival of interest in Olmsted's work. Papers of Arthur A. Shurcliff and Sidney N. Shurcliff can be found at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Frances Loeb Library Special Collections Sidney Shurcliff was a frequent guest of Bemis's in Maine, and also edited many of the sailing/cruising films in this collection. The papers include information about Sidney Shurcliff's interests in movie-making, sports and automobile racing. Bemis had a lifelong interest in automobiles, collecting many classic models which he restored or used. His 1913 Rolls Royce Touring Car was donated to the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine. A complete list of all cars owned is in the donor file. Additional information about his automobiles may be found in the Alan C. Bemis Automotive Papers, 1946-1969 at the Concord (MA) Public Library: http://www.concordlibrary.org/scollect/Fin_Aids/Bemis_AC_Papers.htm. The Motormaulers Club “The general plan was that the Club would meet once a year. Each member was to show up with a $10.00 automobile which he would contribute to the outing. Sid Shurcliff would dream up a movie scenario involving a chase of some kind. We would prepare the cars by removing all the glass (if indeed they had any). For sending cars off banks and for head-on collision we would rig a throttle control that could be yanked wide open as the driver bailed out at the last moment. Marshall was a maestro at high-speed bail-outs, but we all took our turn. The bail-outs were made on grass to minimize bruises. The whole operation, as well as being a pole of fun, took much planning, and two weekends for each one. On the first weekend we did little motormauling, but took all the character and plot-development shots. Then, on the second weekend we got going on the fender-benders and big final crashes. As anyone knows who has done any movie editing it is a tremendous and demanding job. Sid did it all. What a great result!” Excerpt of The Saga of the Motormaulers, written by Alan Bemis and Sidney Shurcliff in 1980, which can be found in the Collection File. The yacht Cirrus is a Fisher Island Sound 31 class sloop, sail number 11 with a distinctive red hull. She was built at Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, Bristol, RI, in 1930 (originally named Kelpie) and bought by Alan Bemis in 1935. There were 14 boats in the class. LOA 44 ft. A sister ship "Torch" (sail number 7) is on display at the Herreshoff Marine Museum, Bristol, RI. In 1954, Bemis converted Cirrus to a yawl rig. Bemis owned Cirrus for more than 50 years, sailing and racing her almost exclusively in Maine and Canadian waters. The pairing was legendary. He made annual cruises to Canadian waters each summer. In the early 1970s he became Commodore of the Cruising Club of America, at which time he organized the first winter cruises to tropical waters for the Club. More information on Cirrus can be found in the book "Wood, Water & Light: Classic Wooden Boats," text by Joel White, photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz, Norton, 1988. WorldCat For information about stone freighters and schooners that ran the Maine coast like the Annie and Reuben seen in Reel 17 of this collection, see the article: "Droghers, Limers and Packets" by Mike Crowe, in "Fishermen's Voice," Vol. 5, No. 3, March 2000 at: http://www.fishermensvoice.com/archives/mar00.html
Northeast Historic Film
The Collection is open for research.
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.
Post new comment
Your name
Your email address will be kept private