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Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford


Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford



A man and a woman standing next to each other, Library of Congress Harris and Ewing collection

Title devised by Library staff based on similarity to other images of Fairbanks and Pickford in collections.
Date based on date of negatives in same range.
Gift; Harris & Ewing, Inc. 1955.
General information about the Harris & Ewing Collection is available at
Temp. note: Batch seven.

Mary Pickford was a Canadian-American actress, writer, and producer who was one of the first movie stars in the world. She was known as "America's Sweetheart" and "The Girl with the Curls" because of her signature hairstyle. Mary was born in Toronto, Canada, on April 8, 1892. Pickford began her career in the film industry at the age of nine, and over the course of her career, she appeared in more than 250 films. She co-founded the film production company United Artists with Charles Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Douglas Fairbanks, and she was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was also an early member of the Motion Picture Directors Association. Mary was of English and Irish descent. She began in the theater at age seven. In 1907, she adopted the family name Pickford and joined the David Belasco troupe. In 1909, she appeared in 40 movies for D.W. Griffith's American Biograph company. In 1913 she joined the Famous Players Film Company of Adolph Zukor. She then joined First National Exhibitor's Circuit in 1918. Since 1919, when she helped to establish United Artists, she worked as a producer and co-founder, with Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., who would become her second husband. Pickford retired from the screen in 1933 but continued to produce. She died in 1979.

The Harris & Ewing, Inc. Collection of photographic negatives includes glass and film negatives taken by Harris & Ewing, Inc., which provide excellent coverage of Washington people, events, and architecture, during the period 1905-1945. Harris & Ewing, Inc., gave its collection of negatives to the Library in 1955. The Library retained about 50,000 news photographs and 20,000 studio portraits of notable people. Approximately 28,000 negatives have been processed and are available online. (About 42,000 negatives still need to be indexed.)

By 1908 there were 10,000 permanent movie theaters in the U.S. alone. For the first thirty years, movies were silent, accompanied by live musicians, sound effects, and narration. Until World War I, movie screens were dominated by French and Italian studios. During Great War, the American movie industry center, "Hollywood," became the number one in the world. By the 1920s, the U.S. was producing an average of 800 feature films annually, or 82% of the global total. Hollywood's system and its publicity method, the glamourous star system provided models for all movie industries. Efficient production organization enabled mass movie production and technical sophistication but not artistic expression. In 1915, in France, a group of filmmakers began experimenting with optical and pictorial effects as well as rhythmic editing which became known as French Impressionist Cinema. In Germany, dark, hallucinatory German Expressionism put internal states of mind onscreen and influenced the emerging horror genre. The Soviet cinema was the most radically innovative. In Spain, Luis Buñuel embraced abstract surrealism and pure aestheticism. And, just like that, at about its peak time, the silent cinema era ended in 1926-1928.





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No known restrictions on publication. For more information, see Harris & Ewing Photographs - Rights and Restrictions Information

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