SMU Digital Collections

A Shocking Accident, The Maniac Barber, and Life of an American Fireman

Sulphur Springs Collection of Pre-Nickelodeon Films

Stills from A Shocking Accident, The Maniac Barber, and Life of an American Fireman

Love in a Railroad Train

Love in a Railroad Train

The Counterfeiters

The Counterfeiters
Inexhaustible Cab

Inexhaustible Cab

Earthquake ruins new Majestic Theater and City Hall

Earthquake ruins new Majestic
Theater and City Hall

Laveur de devantures, Le (Pathe's English title: The window cleaner)

Le laveur de devantures

Life Of An American Fireman

Life of an American Fireman

About the Collection

Holding library: G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library

Epopee napoleonienne: Crossing Mt. St. Bernard

Overview

The Sulphur Springs Collection of Pre-Nickelodeon Films is part of the extensive moving image holdings of the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection (formerly the Southwest Film/Video Archive). The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection is part of the Hamon Arts Library.

Collection Materials and History

In April, 1993, staff members of the Southwest Film-Video Archive (SWFVA) at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, were contacted by a private individual in the small east Texas town of Sulphur Springs regarding some old films that had been moldering in a closet for some fifteen years.

When the reels of film on original 35 mm nitrate stock were acquired, cleaned, and inspected, a rich find dating back to the turn of the century was discovered. Eight reels of varying length contained a total of 33 early films predating the Nickelodeon era.

Remarkably, the surviving films are substantially intact and relatively free of nitrate decomposition. The collection, which spans 1898 through 1906, includes a number of single-shot actualities, vaudeville acts, and comedies, five multi-shot story films of the 1904-05 period, and seven panoramas taken by Edison cameramen of the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

(Worland, R. 1995. The Sulphur Springs, Texas early films discovery. Journal of Film Preservation 51: 56-64.

Panorama notorious 'Barbary Coast'

Twenty-nine films from the Sulphur Springs collection -- including seven films depicting the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake -- are being made available as part of SMU Libraries Digital Collections.

The Sulphur Springs Collection of Pre-Nickelodeon Films is one of a family of digital collections that focus on moving pictures from the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection.

For more information, see:

The films were first digitized and made available as a DVD. SMU’s Norwick Center for Digital Solutions recaptured the files from the DVD, made slight edits in Final Cut Pro, and exported the movies as Quicktime files. They were then compressed for streaming in Quicktime Pro. They are accessible here as Quicktime streaming files, which require the Quicktime 7+ plugin.

Please cite G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Southern Methodist University when using these video files.

For more information about the Sulphur Springs Collection of Pre-Nickelodeon Films and the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU's Hamon Arts Library, please contact filmarchive@smu.edu.