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George Pratt cinema oral histories

Identifier: SV-0002

Scope and Contents

In 1958, George Pratt (1914–1988), a film historian and Assistant Curator of Film at the George Eastman Museum, began interviewing many of the celebrated Hollywood stars and directors whom he met at the museum’s biannual Festival of Film Artists ceremonies. These contacts led to further interviews with some of the biggest names in early Hollywood. Among his subjects were the legendary silent stars Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish; the ingenious silent-era comedian Buster Keaton; Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson, one of the earliest screen cowboys; Hollywood cinematographers James Wong Howe and Arthur Edeson; the groundbreaking Black actor Rex Ingram; and the hugely influential directors Cecil B. DeMille and Frank Borzage. These oral histories offer intimate details of filmmaking during cinema’s earliest decades, and the rare opportunity to hear the voices of stars whose careers peaked before the sound era, and those whose careers continued to flourish well after.

In 1997, these recordings were the subject of a project that produced ¼" reel-to-reel preservation masters by the National Film and Sound Archives of Australia.

The 2020 digitization and sharing of this archival audio was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant number MA-30-19-0681-19.


  • Creation: 1957 - 1962



28 Digital File(s)

Language of Materials



Guide to the George Pratt Cinema Oral Histories
Ken Fox
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Silver Voices Repository

George Eastman Museum
Richard and Ronay Menschel Library
Rochester NY 14607 United States