Poughkeepsie in the “movies” in 1913

Moving Images of Poughkeepsie February 1913

We know from newspaper articles at the time that Edwin S. Canman, manager of the United Educational and Industrial Film Company of New York City, was in Poughkeepsie filming between February 6 and February 27, 1913. The “movie” (the word was often used in quotation marks, the word moving picture being more common) was shown to a small audience of the Mayor and local businessmen on Sunday, March 9 at the Collingwood Theater. It then ran for the general public for four days, from Monday, March 10 through Thursday, March 14.

The film company seems to have done a number of such films in various cities, under the banner “Civic America.”

It appears that this is only one reel of what would have been a total of three or four reels.

Also shown, for “the first time outside of New York City” were “Talking Pictures” or “Synchrophone” which involved the playing of the silent movie timed precisely with a traditional record playing of the individuals on screen singing and speaking.

The man playing the part of the criminal captured by the police was the manager of a woman in a Vaudeville Act at the time, coincidentally. The manager of Eva Allen was a Mr. Bergeron.

Below are notes on file at the Dutchess County Historical Society from the 1970s.

February 7, 1913 ad in the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle invites participation in the movie
Summary and newspaper clippings

Below are notes on file at the Dutchess County Historical Society from the 1970s.

In a Pawling, N.Y. barn for over half a century, dust was collecting on a hand made tin container which held a flammable nitrate moving picture film of Poughkeepsie in [1913]*. Six-hundred feet, or 22 minutes, of human, animal and horseless carriage action that happened before the Kaiser started out to conquer the world.

March 7, 1913 ad in the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle invites viewers.

A few years ago, the late James Ruberg of Pawling found this film and gave it to William J. Schrauth, perhaps because he knew the film contained some pictures of Williams’s grandfather and his father, a former mayor of Poughkeepsie. William Schrauth and Hubert (Bud) Spross made inquiries to find out how this old, brittle film could again be projected. Finally, they contacted Jerome Deyo, the audio-visual archivist of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park and Mr. Deyo took the film to the National Archives in Washington where they copied it and reduced it from 35 mm. to 16 mm.

The original film is on display at the National Archives.

Like the releasing of the genie from Alladin’s lamp, this coiled, unusable antique now can bring to view its nostalgic treasures of yesteryear. Forty-seven locations are shown including the Collingwood Opera House, Dutchess Play House, Smith Brothers’ Restaurant, The Nelson House, VonderLinden’s, Schrauth’s Ice Cream Parlor, Franks’ Brewery, Poughkeepsie High School on Washington Street and two Grade Schools.

Prominent people are identified, among them, W.W. Smith, the “Trade” of cough drop fame; William Schicklye, President of the Fallkill Bank; Jacob Schrauth; William Mulvey and Harry Matteson. Hundreds of school children walk by and salute the camera. These students would now be over 70 years old.

    * the notes from 1970s incorrectly say 1912

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