Now available for research and viewing:  The Harvard Botanical Museum Collection.

The Grain that Built a Hemisphere. United States. Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, Walt Disney Company. 1947.

This collection, donated by the Tozzer Library to the HFA in 2012, is made up of forty-five educational films created between 1943-1978.  The films were collected by the Harvard Botanical Museum, founded in 1858 by Asa Gray and originally called the Museum of Vegetable Products, and were used in the classroom to teach on a variety of topics, mainly focused around agriculture.  Some films were sponsored films; others look at the ethnography or history of agriculture in different societies.   Other films in the collection include a war-time production looking at corn production (nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1943) which was created by the Walt Disney Company. There are a few titles by noted anthropologists and ethnographic filmmakers Timothy Asch and Napoleon Chagnon, both examining the life & customs of the Yanomami people (see the HFA’s Documentary Educational Resources Collection for more anthropological films).   There are also sponsored films which were created to showcase the how their products are manufactured before being sent to the consumers.

Overall, this is an interesting collection focusing on educational films about agriculture.  Each film has been cataloged, and the full finding aid can be found here.

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