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Cecile Starr papers relating to Mary Ellen Bute

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 679

Scope and Contents

The Cecile Starr Papers Relating to Mary Ellen Bute consist of Starr's research files on the filmmaker Mary Ellen Bute and audiovisual recordings of and about Bute. The papers document Starr's research and fundraising to produce a documentary film about Bute (never completed) as well as Starr's work to publicize and distribute Bute's films, especially after Bute's death.

Dates

  • 1935-2008

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 7, 10-11 (audiovisual formats): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Cecile Starr Papers Relating to Mary Ellen Bute is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Cecile Starr on the Edith and Richard French Fund, 2009.

Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. Research Files, 1935-2008. II. Audio Recordings, 1976-2006. III. Video Recordings, 1977-1999.

Extent

4.65 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

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.starr

Overview

The Cecile Starr Papers Relating to Mary Ellen Bute consist of Starr's research files on the filmmaker Mary Ellen Bute and audiovisual recordings of and about Bute. The papers document Starr's research and fundraising to produce a documentary film about Bute (never completed) as well as Starr's work to publicize and distribute Bute's films, especially after Bute's death.

Cecile Starr (1921-)

Filmmaker, critic, and producer Cecile Starr was born July 14, 1921 in Nashville, Tennessee. She studied film at Columbia University, where she taught from 1955-1961. She has worked as a consultant and educational coordinator for the Lincoln Center, the New School for Social Research, Hunter College, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the United Nations World Health Organization. She married film producer Aram Boyajian in 1957.

Mary Ellen Bute, 1906-1983

Mary Ellen Bute was a film animator, director and producer. She was a pioneer in adopting electronic techniques for film animation. Early in her career she made animated films in the "visual music" style that synchronized abstract images and music. Her later films were live action and included adaptations of works by James Joyce and Thornton Wilder.

Bute was born in Houston, Texas in 1906. She studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadephia and lighting design at Yale University. Her early influences included Leon Theremin and Gerald Warburg and she collaborated with Theremin to produce a paper titled "Light as an art material and its possible synchronization with sound" (1932). Most of Bute's films were produced by Ted Nemeth Studios or Expanding Cinema Studios and her collaborators included Norman McLaren and Melville Webber. Later in life Bute was a founding member of the Women's Independent Film Exchange.

Bute's films include: "Synchromy" (1932 or 1933), "Rhythm in Light" (1934), "Synchromy No. 2" (1935), "Dada" (1936), "Parabola" (1937), "Escape" (1937), "Spook Sport" (1939), "Tarantella" (1940), "Polka Graph" (1947), "Color Rhapsody" (1948), "Imagination" (1948), "New Sensations in Sound" (1949), "Pastorale" (1950), "Abstronic" (1952), "Mood Contrasts" (1953), "The Boy Who Saw Through" (1956, producer), "Passages from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake" (1965-1967), and "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" (1977-1980, unfinished). Bute's projects also include two adaptations of plays: "Lazarus Laughed" by Eugene O'Neill and "Skin of Our Teeth" by Thornton Wilder (both unfinished).

In 1940 Bute married camera operator and painter Theodore (Ted) Nemeth and they collaborated on many of her projects. Ted Nemeth Studios focused on commercial films and Nemeth also handled the distribution of Bute's films. Bute and Nemeth had two sons: Theodore Jr. and James.

Processing Information

Box 9, folders 102-116 are unused. Original audiocassettes are contained in box 7, folders 74-88.
Title
Guide to the Cecile Starr Papers Relating to Mary Ellen Bute
Author
by Lisa Conathan
Date
2009
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

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

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.