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Solomon Sir Jones films

 Collection
Call Number: WA MSS S-2636

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.

Dates

  • 1924 - 1928

Creator

Language

English

Physical Description

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.

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.

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by film number assigned before Yale's 2009 acquisition.

Extent

0.2 Linear Feet (29 reels)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.jonesss

Overview

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 former slaves and 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.

Existence and Location of Copies

Each film has a corresponding 16mm negative, 16mm fine grain master print, and various digital file formats.

Physical Description

29 reels: motion picture film 16mm.

Processing Information

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.
Title
Guide to the Solomon Sir Jones Films
Author
by Molly Wheeler
Date
August 2012
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977