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Carry Wagner Home Movie Collection

The owner of an antique store in Greenwich Village, (The Charm Shop on West 4th Street) Carry Wagner (1896-1993) traveled extensively in order to purchase jewelry and other items for her business. She recorded these trips on 16 mm color film, leaving behind a remarkable record of the world that she visited in the years following World War II. The daughter of Jewish emigres from Eastern Europe, she grew up on the Lower East Side, and as a young woman became involved in the women's suffragette movement and the trade union struggles that were taking place in NYC at the time. At one point she worked in the Massachusetts mills. During the forties and fifties she began traveling extensively. The seventy reels of color film in this collection range from footage shot in apartheid South Africa, to scenes of bombed out German cities in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Highlights include extensive footage of travel via cruise ship, before air travel became commonplace, as well as footage of Franco's Spain, and Morocco and Algeria prior to independence.

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    Image of Carry Wagner at her store in Greenwich Village, The Charm Shop.

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The Carry Wagner Collection was the HFA’s first collection of amateur film, donated by Harriet Stella, a friend of Wagner, in 2005. The seventy reels of Kodachrome in this collection contain footage shot in such varied locales as South Africa, Germany immediately after WWII, Madeira, Algiers, Malta, Rhodes, Israel, Turkey, Corsica, Japan, Ceylon and more.

Access

This collection is fully inventoried, and a list can be found in the Harvard Library catalog. Select reels have been digitized and are available for remote viewing below. The HFA is undertaking a project to digitize this collection, and new reels will become available as this project progresses.

Inquires on research viewing and re-use of footage in this collection should be directed to the Collections Archivist.


Hong Kong, Japan. Carry Wagner home movies. Reel 41 (1953). HFA item #9579
Digital scan from 16mm created at Harvard Media Preservation Services, 2019.


Japan, Phillipines, Thailand. Reel 42. Carry Wagner home movies. (1953). HFA item #9581
Digital scan from 16mm created at Harvard Media Preservation Services, 2019.


Guatemala. Carry Wagner home movies. Reel 3 (1940). HFA item #9532
Digital scan from 16mm created at Northeast Historic Film, 2017.


Nassau. Carry Wagner home movies. Reel 5 (1940). HFA item #9534
Digital scan from 16mm created at Northeast Historic Film, 2017.

Related Materials

Carry Wagner's films were used by Joel Katz to create Dear Carry in 1997. Katz's film interweaves two stories of travel told through films and letters.


Dear Carry (Joel Katz, 1997). HFA item #9784