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The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906

By Library of Congress

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This collection contains films of New York dating from 1898 to 1906 from the Paper Print Collection of the Library of Congress. Of these, twenty-five were made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, while the remaining films are Edison Company productions. This collection contains forty-three rare, actuality motion pictures made between 1898 and 1906 in New York City. Actuality films capture real, day-to-day events of the time. Two early film companies produced these motion pictures which were viewed by the public in nickelodeons. The collection also contains two films that use actors and a contrived plot; the novelty "What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City," and the melodrama "The Skyscrapers of New York." The dramatic motion pictures were included in the collection because they contain some actuality footage. The collection highlights the urbanization of New York City at the turn-of-the-century. Some films document the start of the construction boom that would last thirty years in the city.

Customer Reviews


It is just awesome to look back in time so far. These people are all dead now and it makes you realize how short our lives are. Makes you want to be ready to give an account of your life to God. Amazing film footage!