Solomon Sir Jones films
Scope and Contents
The Solomon Sir Jones films consist of 29 silent black and white films documenting African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928. The films measure 12,800 feet (355 min). All films are B-wind positive prints, except one roll that contains approximately 150 feet of orange base B-wind positive.
Jones filmed Oklahoma residents in their homes; during their social, school and church activities; in the businesses they owned; and performing various jobs. The films document several Oklahoma communities, including Muskogee, Okmulgee, Tulsa, Wewoka, Bristow and Taft. The films also document Jones's trips to Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, New York City, South Carolina, Colorado, and overseas to France, England, Palestine, Switzerland, Italy, Northern Africa, and Germany. Slates between scenes identify locations, dates, and subjects.
Jones frequently filmed at various locations by positioning himself outside a building while people exited the building in a line. This perspective provides footage of people as they walk by the camera, usually looking directly at it. Footage of churches includes congregants exiting the service and socializing outside; footage of schools often includes students playing outside or doing exercises; and footage of people at their home includes them outside on their porches or in their yards. Aside from church and scheduled school activities, people presumably exited at Jones's request for the purpose of being filmed by him.
- 1924 - 1928
29 reels: motion picture film 16mm.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
All original and surrogate films are restricted and may be consulted only with permission of the appropriate curator. Each film is available as digital video in the Beinecke Library's Digital Images Online database; links are provided at the film level. DVD reference copies are available in Box 1 listed at the end of the finding aid.
Existence and Location of Copies
Each film has a corresponding 16mm negative, 16mm fine grain master print, and various digital file formats.
Conditions Governing Use
The Solomon Sir Jones Films is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Swann Galleries on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2009.
Arranged numerically by film number assigned before Yale's 2009 acquisition.
0.2 Linear Feet (29 reels)
Language of Materials
The Solomon Sir Jones films consist of 29 silent black and white films documenting African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928. Jones filmed Oklahoma residents in their homes; during their social, school and church activities; in the businesses they owned; and performing various jobs. The films document several Oklahoma communities, including Muskogee, Okmulgee, Tulsa, Wewoka, Bristow and Taft. The films also document Jones's trips to Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, New York City, South Carolina, Colorado, and overseas to France, England, Palestine, Switzerland, Italy, Northern Africa, and Germany. Slates between scenes identify locations, dates, and subjects. The films measure 12,800 feet (355 min).
Solomon Sir Jones (1869-1936)
Solomon Sir Jones, Baptist minister, businessman, and amateur filmmaker. Jones was born in Tennessee to parents who had once been enslaved. He grew up in the South before moving to Oklahoma in 1889. Jones became an influential Baptist minister, building and pastoring fifteen churches. He was head of the Boyd Faction of Negro Baptists in America and was a successful businessman.
After the Beinecke acquired the Solomon Sir Jones film, they received significant conservation treatment and preservation reformatting at Cineric, Inc. A condition assessment revealed that all film rolls are missing head and tail leader. There are substantial surface stains and deep scratches on both emulsion and base side of the film. All splices were examined for the pitch and/or were redone. Some splices were done with tape wrapped over the perforation holes; repair caused minimal frame loss. All other splices lost about 2 frames when redone. There are many partially ripped frames. The first 10 feet of each roll has more handling damage. Some sections where the perforation is pulled on both sides cannot be used at all. The film is brittle and the perforation holes are very fragile. The emulsion peels off easily. Overall roll 2, 6, 11 and 21-27 are in better condition while roll 1, 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16 are in very bad shape, the rest falling somewhere in between.
The preservation reformatting work completed includes new 16mm negatives made with a wet gate optical printer (this eliminated some scratches); new prints were made from new negatives on a contact printer. All rolls were first hand cleaned due to the fine metal dust that came from the deteriorated aluminum reels, and the necessary repairs of the above listed damages were completed. Heavily damaged sections were removed and are stored as a separate reel.
The Media Preserve telecined all new 16mm negatives for the creation of digital files for preservation and access. These digital files are available for access.
The Collection Contents contains edited slate transcriptions and content description supplied by the archivist. Jones was creative in his slate construction since he often ran out of letters and had to use others or omit them all together. In these cases, the transcription was edited to reflect the intended words. Spelling errors were researched and corrected. When omitted but known, state abbreviations are supplied for uniformity. The supplied time codes correspond to the videos available.
Condition assessment information for each film is listed in the finding aid at the film level.
- African American Baptists -- Oklahoma
- African American business enterprises -- Oklahoma
- African American churches -- Oklahoma
- African American families
- African Americans
- African Americans -- Oklahoma
- African Americans -- Social life and customs
- Audiovisual materials
- Home movies
- Jones, S. S., Rev., 1869-1936
- Motion pictures (visual works)
- Oklahoma -- Muskogee
- Oklahoma -- Okmulgee
- Oklahoma -- Social life and customs
- United States -- Description and travel
- Guide to the Solomon Sir Jones Films
- by Molly Wheeler
- August 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
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New Haven, CT 06511
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