Of course we were all thrilled to learn that George W. Veditz’s classic “Preservation of Sign Language” (1913) ASL Presentation made it into the top 25 cut (out of > 2,000 nominated films) for the 2010 Library of Congress National Film Registry).
Veditz was INSTRUMENTAL in getting the funds and momentum going for the NAD Motion Picture Project, which ran from 1910-1921 (click for link to all the videos with text discriptions) (to see the first one made- EM Gallaudet go to Gallaudet Video Library). It is a thrill to see the NAD Motion Picture Project receive this big honor and recognition via the National Film Registry selection as the the films celebrate their centennial. The NAD Motion Picture project began 100 years ago!
I had a few questions about the Library of Congress’ press release about this year’s National Film Registry (it stated Veditz’s film was 2 min when its actually > 14 min long) and I wasn’t clear about what the Registry is since it was my understanding that the NAD Motion Picture Project had already donated all their films to the Library of Congress sooooo ….
I VPed and emailed Stephen Leggett at the Library of Congress and low and behold he replied promptly and positively. Got lots of good answers below so I hope folks will take a moment to read it so we have the FULL picture about the NAD Motion Picture collection and the Library of Congress and the big honor of selecting Veditz for the 2010 National Film Registry.
Biggest thanks to Mr. Leggett for his response, for all the work he is doing at the Library of Congress and for caring about Veditz, ASL, Deaf Culture, and film.
Before i give u Mr. Leggett’s reply – let me give u a suitable quote from good ole George:
”We possess and jealously guard a language different and apart from any other in common use – a language which nevertheless is precisely what all-wise Mother Nature designed for the people of the eye, a language with no fixed form or literature in the past, but which we are now striving to fix and give a distinct liter…ature of its own by means of the moving picture film.” George Veditz 1910
Reprinted here with permission:
From: Leggett, Stephen C
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 14:43:18 -0500
To: Patti Durr
Subject: RE: National registry 2010
Thanks for your call about George Veditz’s Preservation of the Sign Language–I was just finishing up an email reply.
We will be recognizing the 14-minute version.
The films in that series would not have been given to the Library at that time, owing to the fact that most films during that era were issued on flammable nitrate stock. Until 1942, film owners gave LC a copy to gain their copyright and have it registered; the Library then returned the films. Thanks for your list of the 16 films. From a quick check of the card catalog, Gallaudet Univ did give the Library copies of 14 programs (a 16mm projection print and 16mm master positive of each) in the series in 1947 (everything but Glimpse of Battlefield and Irishman Flea and…). 16mm film stock was not introduced by Kodak until 1923 so there may be 35mm versions out there somewhere. We will likely check around and see if other copies (35mm, negatives etc.) exist because one of the things we do after a title is named to the Registry is to ensure that it has been preserved to the best possible quality.
A film does not have to be in the Library of Congress film collection to be named to the registry. Selection of a title to the Registry means that the Librarian and National Film Preservation Board consider the film important in American film history.
Glad to honor and recognize the film–we felt it was an extremely worthy addition to the Registry, given the film’s historical and cultural significance.
I have cc’d Donna Ross who also works with the Registry. Feel free to contact Donna or I if you have other questions. Happy New Year!
Best, Steve leggett
Liaison Specialist/Program Coordinator
National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) http://www.loc.gov/film
National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) http://www.loc.gov/nrpb
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Also visit the web site of the NFPB’s charitable affiliate, the National Film Preservation Foundation at http://www.filmpreservation.org
And coming soon: the National Recording Preservation Foundation