Seeing And Hearing History


The American Colonies illustrates the main aspects of colonial life. Social history predominates in these views while the concluding portion lays the foundation for the independence movement. The Years of Revolution does not attempt to treat the military history of the war; instead, the pictorial account deals with the daily activities and the emergence of new political, social, and economic ideas. Military subjects are not overlooked, however, and a valuable sequence on American uniforms should help to clarify concepts about this subject. Under a New Government traces our national history from the close of the Revolution to our participation in the next conflict. Various scenes indicate the important political, economic and diplomatic developments of this eventful period.

The producers of this filmstrip series, Museum Extension Service, designed them for classroom teaching where they can be put to good use in high school courses in American history. The picture stories are well organized, thoughtfully presented, and admirably illustrated. The full-color pictorial material consists of illustrations, paintings, portraits, murals, decorations, advertisements, cartoons, and photographs.

Two Wars

California, Texas and the Mexican War is Unit XIV of The Pageant of America Filmstrips produced by the Yale University Press Film Service (386 Fourth Avenue, N.Y. 16). Pictures and prints explain the causes and principal events of the Mexican War. Of the 36 picture frames, nine are ofbattle scenes of the war. The remaining portions describe the rounding out of the national borders and the growth of California following the Gold Rush. This excellent strip meets a definite need and can be unreservedly recommended for American history classes in the higher grades.

A motion picture survey of the Civil War scans the main events of that conflict. This 16mm sound film is a color production from Encyclopaedia Britannica Films (Wilmette, Ill., regional distributors). Patterned after the earlier, successful study of the American Revolution, this also is a skillful effort. With animated maps to explain strategy and on-the-spot views of places where the decisive events occurred, the film can serve as a practical introduction or review.

Economic Growth

The Pageant of America Filmstrip series also explores American economic history. Early Americans on the High Seas (Unit XII) and Farmer, Rancher and Cowboy (Unit XVIII) cover the subjects in a comprehensive and stimulating manner. The first of these 35mm filmstrips follows the adventures of American seamen from colonial times to the coming of the Civil War. It clearly brings out the activities and importance of fishermen, whalers and foreign traders in distant ports.

The second of the filmstrips observes agrarian life from the crude methods of the early settlers to the mechanized farmer of the present. This valuable survey deals with the farmer and cattle rancher without further reference to specialized forms of agriculture. Both strips are uncommonly valuable surveys. The picture material has been well selected and superbly reproduced in black and white.

Another aspect of economic development is considered in The Age of Reform , Unit XVII of the Pageant of America Filmstrips. Photographs and prints disclose the impact of Big Business and the consequent complaints and regulations. Adhering to a chronological presentation, the strip is a straightforward report of the course of political and economic reform from 1880 to 1912.