Category Archives: New England

Photo album: Home Movie Day 2015

Thanks to everyone who made it out for a successful Home Movie Day last weekend! This year the event was co-hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston’s historic Back Bay neighborhood. HMD15 Boston was an enjoyable evening of unique films under a crystal chandelier in the elegant NEHGS Reading Room. We topped past participant numbers and had a treasure trove of great material shared among attendees, including beautiful Kodachrome films of Maine, Gloucester and 1960’s downtown Boston with an amazingly small amount of traffic. Below are some highlights from the evening. Be sure to check out more event photos on our Flickr page.

A special thank you to our host at NEHGS, Ginevra Morse, and our staff of HMD volunteers: Sara Meyers, Derek Murphy and Adam Schutzman.

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We hope to see you next year!

Newly digitized Anne Charlotte Robertson titles

Here is an update on the Anne Robertson films that have been digitized and are available for loan.  We are working on making more available soon!

Five Year Diary reel 26 making Magazine Mouth FYD47thrift_two_frame FYD83mother_and_sister

These are generally available as DCP or files.  Some are available on DigiBeta for you oldschoolers.  As always, please contact the HFA’s Loan Officer for more information.

shorts:
Subways (1976) – 13 min.
Going to Work (1981) – 7 min.
Locomotion (1981) – 7 min.
Magazine Mouth (1983) – 7 min.
Depression Focus Please (1984) – 4 min.
Talking to Myself (1985) – 3 min.
Kafka Kamera (1985) – 3 min.
Apologies (1986/1990) – 17 min.
My Cat, My Garden, 9/11 (2001) – 6 min.

Five Year Diary newly digitized reels: Reel 3, Reel 26, Reel 40, Reel 47, Reel 83

FIVE YEAR DIARY (approx. 27 min per reel):
The Five Year Diary explores many aspects of soundtrack. Many reels have synch sound – mag stripe Super 8. Sometimes the soundtrack is spotty, other times it continues for the entire reel. Audio cassettes were used as well, either on their own or in conjunction with SOF (sound on film). Some tapes were used multiple times for many reels. A narration was usually performed live, and several reels have Anne’s audio narration, which she recorded in the 1990s for posterity and so her narrated film could travel without her.

Reel 1: The Beginning – Thanksgiving, November 3 – December 13, 1981
Vegetarianism, bingeing, Thanksgiving with parents. (ACR)
In the first reel of the Five Year Diary, we watch Anne grow up, consider food and fat, and don her yellow leotard in front of the camera for the first time. (LC)
SOF and audio cassette

Reel 2: Definitions of Fat and Thin, December 13 – 22, 1981
Anne consults the dictionary in this one – what is “fat?” what is “thin?” Inanimate objects are animated, and Anne experiences problems with her camera. (LC)
SOF and audio cassette

Reel 3: Christmas and New Year ’82, December 20-January 9, 1982
The first of many year-end holiday reels. Cooking, cleaning, pixilation. (LC)
SOF and audio cassette

Reel 9: April Fool / Happy Birthday 33, March 17 – March 27, 1982
Pixilation. Sleeping, cooking, resolving to quit smoking. (LC)
Audio cassette

Reel 22: A Short Affair (and) Going Crazy, August 23 – September 1, 1982
Anne finds a lover, loses him, mourns him, and has a nervous breakdown. (LC)
Audio cassette and narration

Reel 23: A Breakdown and After the Mental Hospital, September 1 – December 13, 1982
Anne’s nervous breakdown continues until she is hospitalized. One track was recorded during the mania; in the second track, Anne reflects, years later, on this troubled time. (LC)
Audio cassette and narration

Reel 26: First Semester Grad School, February 28 – May 20, 1983
Two years into the Diary, Anne began graduate school at Massachusetts College of Art. Reel 26 was shot silently; the soundtrack is an audio recording she made during a graduate review. She discusses her work with Super 8 auteur and professor Saul Levine and a second faculty member. Ideas brought up in the discussion were later implemented in Reel 22 and 23 and in the presentation of the work in general. (LC)
audio cassette

Reel 31: Niagara Falls, August 19 – 28, 1983
Anne takes a road trip to Niagara Falls trip with her family in this exceptionally beautiful Diary reel. (LC)
audio cassette and narration

Reel 40: Visiting Grandmother, My Insanity, & Wyoming, July 17 – August 26, 1984
Anne travels west with her camera to visit family. (LC)
SOF

Reel 47: I Thought the Film Would End, October 21 – November 2, 1986
The would-be penultimate Diary reel. Anne ruminates about the upcoming end of the Diary – and mourns it, of course. Familiar themes of Dr Who, drinking, comedy, and a nice trick-or-treat Halloween sequence. (LC)
“There is a tendency to film your life like it is scenes.” (ACR)
Sound on film.

Reel 80: Emily Died, May 14 – September 26, 1994
Anne’s niece Emily dies. Anne goes into a deep depression. (LC)
audio cassette and narration

Reel 81: Mourning Emily, September 27, 1994 – January 29, 1995
Anne mourns the death of her young niece, Emily. (LC)
audio cassette and narration

Reel 83: [Untitled, final finished reel] December 24, 1995 – March 19, 1997
It’s been 16 years, and finally the Diary ends, an unintended ending that visits familiar territory.
SOF

(ACR) = text by Anne Charlotte Robertson

(LC) = text by Liz Coffey

 

The Five Year Diary (1981-1997)

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This week I’ve been watching some episodes of Anne Robertson’s Five Year Diary with a visiting researcher.  It’s been great getting back into this work.  There were quite a few exciting finds among reels I’d never seen, including one with a soundtrack recorded during a review at Mass Art.  Anne discusses her work with her professors, Saul Levine and a second, as yet unidentified, man.  This episode is somewhat early in the work (1983), but the discussion is relevant to the work as a whole.

Part of my goal with watching more reels of the Diary is to prioritize reels for digitization.  Presently, 8 reels of the work have been digitized and are available for screenings.  It is our goal to digitize the entire work; we are prioritizing and hope to have more reels available this fall.

The final reel of the Diary (Reel 83, 1997), which was only accidentally so, includes some images that remind me of earlier reels.  There is some focus on weight, a theme from the beginning, as well as the family gravestones, holidays, and, as always the moon.  I’m going to have to watch the entire work – is there an episode without the moon?  The moon and Anne are the constant characters in the film.  Anne travels; her companion the moon meets her there.  Anne goes through cycles of mental stability; the moon waxes and wanes.

The Diary is most obviously a thorough evaluation of the self, but despite Anne’s obsessions about her own body and life, she is also a solid viewer of the natural world.  The moon is the face of it, but we see the seasons closely monitored, plant life, the weather.  Paradoxically, her romantic obsessions are found on television, and on programs that are anything but celebrations of nature.

Here in Cambridge, the summer is drawing to a close.  It’s made most obvious by the return of the students, clearly demonstrated by traffic and restaurant crowds, but Anne’s films remind me to look to the trees that are beginning to brown, the flowers that are going to seed, the vegetables that will require harvest before the frost.

~Liz Coffey

FYD 2 reading definitions of fat and thin

Anne Charlotte Robertson Papers

 

In addition to her films, Anne Robertson left us a wealth of accompanying papers, including:

  • scripts
  • diaries
  • film recipts
  • festival entry papers
  • clippings
  • items made for film screenings
  • correspondence

A few winners from today’s work are below.  I especially like William Davis’ notes about the Five Year Diary chapter A BREAKDOWN and AFTER THE MENTAL HOSPITAL

 

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available Anne Robertson titles

 

Hello.  I’ll bet you’ve been wondering which Anne Charlotte Robertson films are available for loan.  Here is the list!

shorts:
Subways (1976) – 13 min.
Going to Work (1981) – 7 min.
Locomotion (1981) – 7 min.
Magazine Mouth (1983) – 7 min.
Depression Focus Please (1984) – 4 min.
Talking to Myself (1985) – 3 min.
Kafka Kamera (1985) – 3 min.
Apologies (1986) – 17 min.
My Cat, My Garden, 9/11 (2001) – 6 min.

FIVE YEAR DIARY (approx. 27 min per reel):
Reel 1 The Beginning – Thanksgiving, Nov. 3 – Dec. 13, 1981
Reel 2 Definitions of Fat and Thin, Dec. 13 – 22, 1981
Reel 9 April Fool / Happy Birthday 33, 1982
Reel 22 A Short Affair (and) Going Crazy, Aug. 23 – Sept. 1, 1982 – 27 min.
Reel 23 A Breakdown and After the Mental Hospital, Sept. 1 – Dec. 13, 1982 – 26 min.
Reel 31 Niagara Falls, Aug. 19 – 28, 1983 – 25 min.
Reel 80 Emily Died, 1994 – 27 min.
Reel 81 Mourning Emily, 1995 – 25 min.

Please contact our Loan Officer for more information.  Titles are available digitally or on tape.

Maybe we will make a box set available at some point.  If this is something you would be interested in purchasing, please let us know in the comments so we may gauge interest.

Work, meanwhile, on the collection soldiers on.  We have many more DIARY episodes to digitize and show.  Work on the collection continues.  Stay tuned…

Here is our working list of the FIVE YEAR DIARY reels, titles by ACR:
Five Year Diary – reel 1: The beginning – Thanksgiving
Five Year Diary – reel 2: Definitions of fat and thin
Five Year Diary – reel 3: Christmas and New Year ‘82
Five Year Diary – reel 4: My Father Died
Five Year Diary – reel 5: Mourning
Five Year Diary – reel 6: The Lights of the Bardo
Five Year Diary – reel 7: Home Alone
Five Year Diary – reel 8: Leaving My Father’s Office
Five Year Diary – reel 9: April fool / Happy Birthday 33
Five Year Diary – reel 10: Easter
Five Year Diary – reel 11: Data Entry
Five Year Diary – reel 12: Reunion
Five Year Diary – reel 13: Visiting North Carolina
Five Year Diary – reel 14: North Carolina & More Data Entry
Five Year Diary – reel 15: Even More Data Entry
Five Year Diary – reel 16: Soon to be Unemployed
Five Year Diary – reel 17: End of the Job
Five Year Diary – reel 18: Raspberry Season
Five Year Diary – reel 19: Heat of Summer
Five Year Diary – reel 20: Blackberry Season
Five Year Diary – reel 21: Still Berrypicking
Five Year Diary – reel 22: A short affair (and) going crazy
Five Year Diary – reel 23: A breakdown (and) after the mental hospital
Five Year Diary – reel 24: Christmas & New Year ‘83
Five Year Diary – reel 25: Getting Fat Again
Five Year Diary – reel 26: First Semester Grad School
Five Year Diary – reel 27: Visiting North Carolina Again
Five Year Diary – reel 28: Leaving the Apartment and Moving Home
Five Year Diary – reel 29: New York City & the Berry Season
Five Year Diary – reel 30: Visiting Grandmother
Five Year Diary – reel 31 – Niagara Falls
Five Year Diary – reel 32: Losing Weight
Five Year Diary – reel 33: A Crush on Doctor Who
Five Year Diary – reel 34
Five Year Diary – reel 35: Christmas & New Year ‘84
Five Year Diary – reel 36: Another Nervous Breakdown
Five Year Diary – reel 37: After the Mental Hospital Again
Five Year Diary – reel 38
Five Year Diary – reel 39: Yet Another Breakdown
Five Year Diary – reel 40: Visiting My Grandmother, My Insanity, & Wyoming
Five Year Diary – reel 41: California, Home & Wyoming
Five Year Diary – reel 42: Christmas, New Year ‘85 & Gaining Weight
Five Year Diary – reel 43: Breaking Again & Visiting Grandmother
Five Year Diary – reel 44: Last Semester of Grad School
Five Year Diary – reel 45: Christmas, New Year ‘86, Then Employed Again
Five Year Diary – reel 46
Five Year Diary – reel 47: I Thought the Film Would End
Five Year Diary – reel 48: The Fifth Anniversary
Five Year Diary – reel 49: Lunar Phases
Five Year Diary – reel 50: Christmas & New Year ‘87
Five Year Diary – reel 51
Five Year Diary – reel 52: Preparing for a Big Show
Five Year Diary – reel 53: CinnamonAmy Cat Died
Five Year Diary – reel 54: Still Mourning
Five Year Diary – reel 55: Breakdown Wasn’t Filmed
Five Year Diary – reel 56: Christmas, New Year ‘88, Robin Hood
Five Year Diary – reel 57: Employment & Birthday 39
Five Year Diary – reel 58: California Show
Five Year Diary – reel 59: Big Religious / Political Letter
Five Year Diary – reel 60: NYC Peace March
Five Year Diary – reel 61: More Doctor Who
Five Year Diary – reel 62: In a Performance
Five Year Diary – reel 63: Family & Gardens
Five Year Diary – reel 64: Visiting Grandmother
Five Year Diary – reel 65: Big Show in New York
Five Year Diary – reel 66: Hanukah – Christmas & New Year ‘89
Five Year Diary – reel 67: So Much Doctor Who
Five Year Diary – reel 68: Plenty of Doctor Who
Five Year Diary – reel 69: Guess Who & Breakdowns
Five Year Diary – reel 70: Christmas – New Year ‘90 Resolutions
Five Year Diary – reel 71 – On Probation
Five Year Diary – reel 72: Short Takes & Visiting Grandmother
Five Year Diary – reel 73: Off Probation & Tour of New York
Five Year Diary – reel 74
Five Year Diary – reel 75
Five Year Diary – reel 76 – Fall to Spring
Five Year Diary – reel 77
Five Year Diary – reel 78
Five Year Diary – reel 79
Five Year Diary – reel 80 – Emily Died “second edit”
Five Year Diary – reel 81 – Mourning Emily
Five Year Diary – reel 82
Five Year Diary – reel 83
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unidentified artist identified!

Hello!  We are processing a collection that includes a lot of home movies, which is very exciting.  The person who collected these films bought home movies on ebay and other venues, so their point of origin is sometimes unknown.

The home movie in question today seems to have been shot in the vicinity of Keene, NH and points north, ca. 1931.

Do you recognize this sculptress or the bust she is working on?

(edited, 8/26/14 )

I wrote to the Saint-Gaudens national historic site, and they identified the artist.

The woman depicted is Frances Grimes (1869-1963) who was a long-time assistant first to Herbert Adams and then to Augustus Saint-Gaudens. She lived in New York City, but retained housing (usually rented) here in Cornish as well. She was a Trustee of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial founded by Mrs. Saint-Gaudens after her husband’s death in 1907. I believe she is working on one of the Platt daughters. ” ~ Henry J. Duffy, Ph.D.,Museum Curator

 

 

NE home movie sculptress