WWI Films at the National Archives in College Park, MD
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:
- Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Series: Historical Films, ca. 1914 - ca. 1936 (Local Identifier: 111-H)
- Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Series: Documentary Films, ca. 1914 - ca. 1944 (Local Identifier : 111-M)
- Collection: Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., Collection, Series: Motion Picture Newsreel Films Used for a Documentary Series on World War I, ca. 1908 - ca. 1930 (Local Identifier: CBS-CBS-WWI)
- Collection: Ford Motor Company Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films Relating to the Ford Motor Company, the Henry Ford Family, Noted Personalities, Industry, and Numerous Americana and Other Subjects, ca. 1903 - ca. 1954 (Local Identifier: FC-FC)
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.
- Record Group 4: Records of the U.S. Food Administration, Series: Motion Picture Films, ca. 1917 - ca. 1918 (Local Identifier 4 )
- Record Group 33: Records of the Extension Service, Series: Motion Picture Films, ca. 1915 - ca. 1959 ( Local Identifier: 33)
- Record Group 70: Records of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Series: Public Information Films and Video Recordings, 1934 - 1975 (Local Identifier 70)
- Collection: Moviola Company Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films, 1910 - 1945 (Local Identifier: MOVIO-MOVIO)
- Collection: University of Colorado Medical School Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films, 1918 - 1919 (Local Identifier: COLO-COLORADO)
- Collection: American Film Institute Collection, Series: Assorted Films, ca. 1913 - ca. 1960 (Local Identifier: AFI-AFIF)
(note: Durbough-not in catalog, but is AFI-AFIF-496 Durborough War Pictures
- Collection: American Film Institute Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films Forming a Series of Newsreels, Documentaries, and Short Subjects, ca. 1913 - ca. 1960 (Local Identifier: AFI-AFI)
- Collection: Gertrude P. Miller Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films, 1915 - 1915 (Local Identifier: MILR-MILLER-23)
- Collection: Association Films, Inc., Series: Motion Picture Films, 1919 - 1919 (Local Identifier: ASNFL-ASNFLM)
- Collection: Roy Knabenshue Collection, 1914 - 1914, Series: Chicago Photographed from Ray Knabenshue's Dirigible Air Ship (Local Identifier: KNAB-KNAB-201)
- Collection: Larry Urbanski Film Collection, Series: Sacco (Nicola) - Vanzetti (Bartolomeo) Footage, 1927 - 1986 (Local Identifier: URB-URB)
- Collection: Louis Hill Nicholson Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films, 1918 - 1930 (Local Identifier: NICH-NICH)
- Collection: American Antiquarian Society Collection, Series: Motion Picture Films, 1923 - 1926