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Pearl Bowser Audiovisual Collection

Names:
Andrade-Watkins, Claire  Search this
Bambara, Toni Cade  Search this
Dash, Julie  Search this
Gerima, Haile  Search this
Greaves, William, 1953-2005  Search this
Gunn, Bill, 1934-1989  Search this
Jafa, Arthur  Search this
Jones, Robert Earl, 1904-2006  Search this
Massiah, Louis  Search this
Micheaux, Oscar, 1884-1951  Search this
Moses, Ethel  Search this
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976  Search this
Sanchez, Sonia, 1934- (poet, reader)  Search this
Snead, James A., 1953-1989  Search this
Spence, Louise, 1945-  Search this
Tucker, Lorenzo  Search this
Donor:
Bowser, Pearl, 1931-  Search this
Extent:
approximately 100 Motion picture films
213 Sound cassettes (7 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion picture films
Sound cassettes
Sound cassette
Oral histories (document genres)
16mm motion picture film
Vhs (videotape format)
Place:
England
Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Roanoke (Va.)
Memphis (Tenn.)
Date:
bulk 1920-2001
Biographical / Historical:
Pearl Bowser is a filmmaker, producer, author, lecturer, and highly acclaimed scholar of African American film who is recognized as an authority on the works of Oscar Micheaux, a noted writer, director, and producer of race films from 1919 to 1948.

Born Pearl Johnson on June 25, 1931, in Sugar Hill, Harlem, New York, she was named after her mother (also Pearl Johnson), a domestic worker who had been raised in a Catholic nunnery. On occasional Saturdays, the younger Pearl would accompany her mother to work in apartments in lower Manhattan, where she would assist her by folding handkerchiefs for a small allowance. After moving to a lower part of Harlem when she was about four years old, she met Harlem entrepreneur "Bumpy" Johnson, for whom she and other children in the neighborhood did odd jobs such as counting coins or attending to his ice-cream stand. Johnson, who would sometimes give the children joy rides in his Cadillac, occasionally allowed Pearl and the other children to borrow books from his extensive library, provided that they read them and submitted to a quiz.

As a child, Bowser had several racist encounters. For example, one of her white kindergarten teachers at her elementary school wore gloves in the classroom as to not touch Black pupils. She was also occasionally teased for having a gap between her teeth but felt insulated from sustained bullying because she had several older brothers who sometimes protected her. On a separate occasion, when she was about nine years old, her mother sent her on a trip from New York to the South to visit relatives. Although her mother had purchased tickets for her to be in a Pullman car, when she changed trains in Washington, DC., she was forced to ride in the car behind the engine, which left her covered in soot.

An avid reader, Pearl excelled in elementary and high school and received a scholarship to attend Brooklyn College, where she majored in biology. She supplemented her income by recording the numbers in one of Bumpy Johnson's shops. Disappointed with the quality of the education she was receiving, Bowser withdrew from Brooklyn College, eventually landing a job at CBS where she worked on a team that analyzed Nielsen ratings.

In 1955, Pearl married fellow New Yorker LeRoy Bowser. By the mid-1960s, although Pearl and LeRoy Bowser had separate interests, they both were working simultaneously in the civil rights movement. While LeRoy was active in Brooklyn CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and went to the South in the summer to teach for what was the beginning of HeadStart, Pearl, along with other production activists, took to the streets documenting African American culture and issues—working to bring these films to schools. Additionally, Bowser wanted to write a cookbook to earn funds for Brooklyn's CORE organization. She was approached by David Davis, the editor of Tuesday Magazine. Tuesday had distribution in the Herald Tribune across the country as a Sunday supplement. As the urban-world magazine exploded in Black communities, "Joan" Bowser's two-page pictorials on Southern cooking with a set of recipes became very popular in the five years she wrote them. Bowser retained copyrights to the articles, and easily completed her cookbook a short time later.

Bowser's colleague at ABC, Charles Hobson, found a used book written by Peter Noble about Black films and Oscar Micheaux. The volume was slim and contained what little information contained in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) files. Hobson and his colleagues wanted to write a book about the topic, and they assigned Bowser to begin the research. As part of the project, Bowser went to California to interview actors who may have been in early Black films or may have worked with Micheaux. What she learned began her intensive scholarship into Micheaux and his fellow filmmakers.

In 1971, she organized her first film festival, the Black Film History Series. In 1979, she organized the nation's first American women's film festival in New York City. She also presented a major retrospective, Independent Black American Cinema 1920-1980, which toured the country during 1981 and 1982. She also directed the Journey Across Three Continents film and lecture series, which toured the country from 1983-1985. Bowser also served as president of the prestigious Flaherty Film Seminar in 1987. In 1989, she, alongside Grant Munro, programmed the 35th Flaherty Film Seminar, which featured films such as Finzan, Zajota and the Boogie Spirit, Daughters of the Dust, and many more. She has also been a judge at the world-renown Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESCPACO) in Burkina Faso (formerly known as Upper Volta).

In the 1980s Bowser was awarded an independent artists grant by the Ford Foundation to travel west and collect oral histories from individuals in Oscar Micheaux's orbit, loosely following the route he would have travelled decades earlier. Stopping in cities such as Roanoke, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; and Jackson, Mississippi, she collected dozens of oral histories from actors, actresses etc. that knew Oscar Micheaux. Through this research she became an eminent figure in the Black independent film industry. Working as a programmer, she travelled around the United States and the world showing films by domestic and Black filmmakers within the Diaspora.

Despite her wealth of experience working as a programmer, it wasn't until the 1990s that Bowser made her directorial debut with the documentary film Midnight Ramble. Funded by American Experience, the film looks at African Americans and Hollywood movies from 1910 through the 1950s. In 2000, she, along with Louise Spence, co-authored Writing Himself into History: Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films and His Audiences, a book about the pioneering filmmaker. Additionally, she is founder and director of Chamba Educational Film Services, a film distribution company that specialized in distributing films by African American filmmakers. In the early 1980s, she renamed her company/collection as African Diaspora Images, a collection of historical and contemporary films documenting Black film history. She subsequently joined Third World Newsreel, where she was director of their theater department.

In 2012, Pearl Bowser donated her extensive collection of books, sound cassettes, films, film memorabilia, and papers to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Sources:

1940 United States Federal Census; New York, New York, New York, population schedule, p. 61B, house number 1486, family 195, Pearl Bowser; Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012 accessed: 10 Sept 2022); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm: m-t0627-02665

Bowser, Pearl. Pearl Bowser Oral History. Interview by Tuliza Fleming and Jennifer Lyon, July 21, 2011.
Provenance:
Acquired as a donation from Pearl Bowser in 2012.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Access to collection materials requires an appointment.
Occupation:
Filmmakers  Search this
Actors -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Documentary films  Search this
Film festivals  Search this
African American actors  Search this
African American actresses  Search this
African diaspora  Search this
Race films  Search this
African American motion picture producers and directors  Search this
African American women authors  Search this
Meetings  Search this
Conferences  Search this
Lectures and lecturing  Search this
Amateur films  Search this
Motion picture soundtracks  Search this
Oral history  Search this
Radio broadcasts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound cassette
Oral histories (document genres)
16mm motion picture film
VHS (videotape format)
Citation:
Pearl Bowser Collection, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Identifier:
NMAAHC.A2012.79.AV
See more items in:
Pearl Bowser Audiovisual Collection
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3209e9c6d-3045-4a0a-941e-6519385b18d5
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-a2012-79-av

The Medal Maker [motion picture]

Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Information, Technology and Society  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Numismatics  Search this
Collection Creator:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (film)
Type:
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Date:
circa 1930
Scope and Contents:
One reel of black-and-white, silent film, approximately 600 feet, 16mm, entitled THE MEDAL MAKER. With videotape user copy.
Local Numbers:
1997.3079 (NMAH Acc.)
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access to videotape copy only, on site by appointment.
Collection Rights:
Reproduction may be restricted due to copyright or trademark. Contact Archives Center staff for more information.
Topic:
Numismatics  Search this
Medals  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Collection Citation:
Archives Center Miscellaneous Film and Videotape Collection, 1930-1978, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Archives Center Miscellaneous Film and Videotape Collection
Archives Center Miscellaneous Film and Videotape Collection / The Medal Maker
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep80241c602-7b0b-4c07-a22b-642ca3d8d426
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0358-ref546

Archives Center Poster Collection

Creator:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History  Search this
Extent:
120 Posters (14 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Posters
Date:
1917-1998, undated
Summary:
An artificial collection of posters on various subjects, at present organized according to donor and/or subject. Examples of contents include motion picture posters and propaganda posters.
Scope and Contents note:
An artificial collection of posters on various subjects from various sources, including curatorial units, the public, and SI staff. Series one consists of miscellaneous posters, typically acquired one or two at a time. The remaining series contain posters acquired from individual sources, usually all relating to one topic. Detailed cataloging information for many of these posters can be found following this finding aid. This collection is augmented periodically by new acquisitions.
The movie posters, all except two from the 1990s, represent a wide range of popular films, including both adult and children's films, live action and animated, and studio and independently made films.
Arrangement:
Collections divided into four series.

Series 1: Miscellaneous Posters, 1917-1990

Series 2: World War One Posters, 1917-1919

Series 3: Motion Pictures Posters, 1963-2016

Series 4: Soviet Propaganda Posters, 1959-1960
Biographical / Historical:
Motion pictures have been exhibited in the United States since debuting at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. The public=s love affair with Athe movies@ has never waned. Beginning with silent films with simple plots the motion picture industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry where the small simple film costs millions of dollars and a great portion of a motion picture budget is designated for advertising. Movie posters have been an integral marketing tool for the motion picture from its inception. Movie posters attempt to capture the essence of the film in one clear defining image and image that will hopefully remain in the consumers mind. Early movie posters boasted original artwork with bright colors and bold lettering. Beginning in the 1950s, movie posters began to use actual photographs from the movie itself as the primary artwork for the movie poster. In the latter 20th century almost all movie posters were photographic in nature. With the expansion of motion pictures into the home video market from the early 1980s onward, movie posters became not only a marketing tool for the movie theatre but for the video store as well.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Nelse L. Greenway, July 6, 2001, and Martha Rosen, May 29, 2002.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Film posters  Search this
Propaganda  Search this
Genre/Form:
Posters -- 20th century
Posters -- Soviet Union
Posters -- Motion pictures -- 20th century
Citation:
Archives Center Poster Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0751
See more items in:
Archives Center Poster Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8db9b853e-e481-411d-a2cb-6104ea49ab83
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0751
Online Media:

Motion Picture Posters

Creator:
Rosen, Martha  Search this
Collection Creator:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History  Search this
Extent:
107 items in 9 folders Items
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1963-1998
Scope and Contents:
This collection was collected from movie theaters and video stores in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and with few exceptions, exclusively covers the decade of the 1990s. The collection contains movie posters from a wide range of motion pictures; animated, children's, adult, studio, and independently made films and consists of full size, six-sheet posters with two small four-sheet size posters. The collection is arranged alphabetically by motion picture title.
Historical:
Motion pictures have been exhibited in the United States since debuting at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. The public's love affair with the movies has never waned. Beginning with silent films with simple plots the motion picture industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry where the small simple film costs millions of dollars and a great portion of a motion picture budget is designated for advertising. Movie posters have been an integral marketing tool for the motion picture from its inception. Movie posters attempt to capture the essence of the film in one clear defining image and image that will hopefully remain in the consumers mind. Early movie posters boasted original artwork with bright colors and bold lettering. Beginning in the 1950s, movie posters began to use actual photographs from the movie itself as the primary artwork for the movie poster. In the latter 20th century almost all movie posters were photographic in nature. With the expansion of motion pictures into the home video market from the early 1980s onward, movie posters became not only a marketing tool for the movie theatre but for the video store as well.

Donor did not want to have her name in collection title so the donation was added into this artificial collection.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Martha Rosen, 2001.
Collection Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Archives Center Poster Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0751, Series 3
See more items in:
Archives Center Poster Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a9bafcb5-57ad-4fdd-b551-e61216147ee0
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0751-ref545

Gloria Swanson's Affair w/ Joe Kennedy Ruined Her Life 😳 Queens of the Screen | Smithsonian Channel

Creator:
Smithsonian Channel  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2015-12-28T22:16:01.000Z
YouTube Category:
Entertainment  Search this
See more by:
smithsonianchannel
Data Source:
Smithsonian Channel
YouTube Channel:
smithsonianchannel
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_3KHr-2axKW8

What did Tulsa’s Greenwood District look like in the mid-1900s?

Creator:
National Museum of American History  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2021-05-28T21:15:50.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
American History  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianAmHistory
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianAmHistory
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_aL12R_sH_hI

Harold M. Anderson Black Wall Street Film Collection

Creator:
National Museum of American History  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2021-05-28T21:15:54.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
American History  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianAmHistory
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianAmHistory
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_eXlL_97fbvg

Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight (silent film footage)

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2011-11-03T17:07:51.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
See more by:
sitesExhibitions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
YouTube Channel:
sitesExhibitions
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_71wMhQ2V2tQ

Rural Wagon Delivering Mail

Creator:
National Postal Museum  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2009-06-03T16:30:41.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Postal service;Letter mail handling;Stamp collecting  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianNPM
Data Source:
National Postal Museum
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianNPM
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_QzXNNHnWfg8

"Multi-Position Letter Sorting Machine" (MPLSM)

Creator:
National Postal Museum  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2011-11-10T19:00:14.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Postal service;Letter mail handling;Stamp collecting  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianNPM
Data Source:
National Postal Museum
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianNPM
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_p8sTsfUJAK8

1972 Belgrade Part 1

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2018-01-12T19:55:06.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_1LzTyVxHVzw

1960 Paris, France Part 3

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2014-12-29T04:05:26.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_1hrYCOMq0ik

1958 Antigua part 2 - Guatemala

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2013-07-12T18:37:00.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_1lKjPQ3jOCM

1976 Tokyo, Japan Part 7

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2016-05-13T18:13:49.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_33eSzzdOeyM

1976 Tokyo, Japan Part 9

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2016-06-17T15:53:50.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_46Fk8_BqWe8

1967 Railroads are Fun: Circus Trains

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2016-05-06T17:06:12.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_57bzkoDarIo

1958 Downtown San Jose - Costa Rica

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2013-04-18T14:50:34.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_5NkKQ9avlYE

Taj Mahal circa 1950

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2008-01-31T15:59:24.000Z
YouTube Category:
Travel & Events  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_9Ja3Th9FiFg

Train Travel from Kandy to Colombo, Sri Lanka (ca. 1913)

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2012-11-05T14:43:34.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_9_-gQpRYk3A

1946 Road to Panama -- United States

Creator:
Human Studies Film Archives  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2013-07-12T19:04:29.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Anthropology  Search this
See more by:
HSFAFilmClips
Data Source:
Human Studies Film Archives
YouTube Channel:
HSFAFilmClips
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_A6JlElpB_jw

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