How to Use This Resource

PROFILES

Individual profiles are inspired by Annette Föster’s model of the “professional itinerary,” which she calls a “careerography.” 1 Relying on primary documents, digitized resources, archival materials (film prints, paper collections, government records, and more), and alternative sources such as family recollections and memoirs, profiles give shape to an individual’s particular career, with a focus on her filmography and avenues for further research.

Each profile includes a bibliography (and filmography, when applicable) that often features a separate Archival Paper Collections section, detailing the various archival holdings related to a given woman. Whenever possible, we have linked directly to the appropriate finding aid or related webpage to help facilitate further research. If no finding aid is available online, we have linked to the holding organization’s homepage or catalogue landing page.

The filmographies include known holdings for all extant films with direct links to each film archive when available. The majority of the listed archives are FIAF-affiliated organizations (indicated by an abbreviation), although we do list other archives when possible. Researchers should contact each archive to confirm the status/holding of a given title. Our filmographies also include information on any available DVDs, streaming media, and/or unfinished work.

WFPP focuses on the silent era, and profiles concentrate on this period even if a woman worked into the sound era. On a case-by-case basis, we might make an exception to this rule. We are aware that sound came later to some regions and that careers did not pick up in some national industries until the sound era, i.e., 1930s-1950s. We also make an exception, as explained in the United States overview essay, for films shot non-sync (shot silent), often into 1940s.

Start exploring the careers of individual women by browsing by occupation or region.

OVERVIEW ESSAYS

These longer peer-reviewed essays focus on a particular national cinema, a specific profession, or theme, and are intended to go beyond a single woman’s career. Overview essays provide wider historical background on the social situation of women, the state of a particular national industry, and the political, social, and cultural context of a given region, occupation, or thematic topic.

Start exploring specific occupations within a particular national industry, like film colorists in France or Swedish film exhibitors.

PROJECTIONS

Projections is a new platform for short posts and essays, multimedia experiments, and digital-friendly approaches to silent film research and feminist scholarship. Here, we feature content that does not fit the profile or overview essay format, which could include self-reflexive essays, online curatorial projects, image galleries, data visualizations, multimedia analyses of a particular film, interviews, research updates, and more. This content should in some way reflect the overall mission of WFPP and our focus on silent-era women filmmakers, their careers, and feminist historiography more broadly.

We encourage posts that utilize and highlight the following resources and tools: The AFI CatalogueThe Programming Historian, and Project Arclight (see also: The Arclight Guidebook to Media History and the Digital Humanities [downloadable PDF]).

Start exploring recent multimedia scholarship via a post on seeing Sapphic sexuality in the silent era.

RESOURCES.

This section of the website offers a broad range of useful tools and resources (digital, print, and audio-visual) for further research and engagement with silent cinema and the work of early women filmmakers.

Start exploring this section by watching a film mentioned in a profile, consulting a list of related databases and research tools, browsing our list of unassigned names, or using our compiled bibliography in your own work. 

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A note on images: Throughout the website, we feature stills from a variety of archival sources and commercial organizations, as well as images in the public domain, high-resolution screenshots, and stills from personal or private collections. WFPP is not an image clearinghouse. Readers need to contact the credited source listed in each caption for permission to use or more information. If no source is credited, and the caption mentions a newspaper or trade journal, the image most likely came from Media History Digital Library, Wikimedia Commons, or Internet Archive. We will not respond to requests for information concerning image sources.

Notes:

  1. Annette Förster, Women in the Silent Cinema: Histories of Fame and Fate (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press/EYE Filmmuseum, 2017), 11.