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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > The Life of a City

[Detail] Interior N.Y. subway, 14th St. to 42nd St. 1905.


Collection Overview

The forty-three films in The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906, represent the earliest period of film production in the United States. The collection features "actuality" films which capture everyday life scenes from the turn-of-the-century. This group of motion pictures highlights the growing metropolis of New York City at the dawn of the twentieth century.

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Historical Eras

These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection although they may not be all-encompassing.

  • Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
  • Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930

Related Collections and Exhibits

These collections and exhibits contain thematically-related primary and secondary sources. Also browse the Collection Finder for more related material on the American Memory Web site.

Other Resources

Recommended additional sources of information.

Search Tips

Specific guidance for searching this collection

All of the films in the collection have a bibliographic record. Along with other information, each bibliographic record includes a comprehensive summary prepared by the Edison Company describing the footage in the film. You may want to review these summaries before accessing a film, since the large file sizes may cause a lengthy download time.

To find items in this collection, search by Keyword or browse by Subject Index or a List of Film Titles

For help with search words, go to the Around the World in the 1890s Subject Index.

For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.