Motion Pictures

WWI Films at the National Archives in College Park, MD

refer to caption

The French Observation Post alongside the American's. 111-sc-25898

The National Archives (NARA) is the largest repository of WWI and WWI-era motion picture film in the United States, and among the largest in the world. Content of the films date from the beginning of the war in 1914 to the end of the war in 1918, through the formation of the League of Nations, and into the 1920s. The images depict military and civilian activities, events and personalities, both in the United States and abroad, especially in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Russia.

Many of these films were produced or acquired by federal agencies, most notably the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Other World-War I-era films (roughly dating from 1915-1925) can be found in several other federal Record Groups, and sizable collections of WWI-era material were donated to NARA through deeds of gift. 

While World War I films and associated finding aids, such as shot lists and content summaries, can be found in several Record Groups and donated collections, the most significant of these include:

refer to caption

Signal Corps Photographer, 111-sc-23859.

Other World War I-era  films can be found in the following Record Groups and Donated Collections, including several films produced by the Committee on Public Information (CPI, also known as the Creel Commission), which are among the films donated to NARA by University of Colorado Medical School and the American Film Institute.