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Max Tennis Home Movie Collection

Born in Boston's West End, Max Tennis (1893-1987) graduated from Harvard Medical School and spent his professional life working in Boston as a pediatrician. He was also part of the Boston theater scene, and became the house physician to the Shubert Theater where he befriended Agnes Moorehead and Vincent Price. Whether he was traveling in the South Seas, China or Latin America, he traveled with a 16mm film camera and recorded what he saw in black-and-white or Kodachrome. Max Tennis visited China and Japan in 1933 and was studying medicine in Berlin when Hitler came to power. Providing a valuable record of Asia and Europe prior to World War II, the films he recorded during his travels include images of Nazi storm troopers in Nuremberg and shots of the Japanese fleet on the coast of China. During the war, Tennis traveled around the US. His footage also features Syria, Turkey, Mexico, the Pacific Islands, South Sea Islands, Bali, Africa and Israel.

About the collection

The Max Tennis Collection was donated to the HFA in 2007 by Leo and Barbara Karas, Max Tennis' grandniece and her husband. In total, the collection includes ninety-one 16mm film reels, sixty shot in color.

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.


Japan. Max Tennis home movies (1932). HFA item #11269
Digital scan from 16mm created at Harvard Media Preservation Services, 2019.

Austria & Hungary. Max Tennis home movies (1933). HFA item #10611
Digital scan from 16mm created at Harvard Media Preservation Services, 2019.