Documentary’s longue durée: Beginnings, formations, genealogies
by Charles Musser
If digital media has transformed contemporary documentary practices – creating new ways of storytelling, spectatorship, and representation as well as new ways of working – then we might also ask how this revolution in technology helps us to think differently about documentary’s early history, its longue durée. Documentary as a formation was conceived within the framework of a specific media practice – the cinema. According to familiar English-language histories, the so-called ‘documentary tradition’ began with Nanook of the North (1922). Lewis Jacobs hailed Robert Flaherty’s Nanook as ‘the classic progenitor of the documentary idiom and certainly the most influential in that form’. He went on to assert that ‘within a short time its innovative spirit, its affirmation of a theme that evolved naturally from the interaction of man and his environment became the model for the creative drives and innovative skills of other nonfiction filmmakers’. Everything before Nanook was ‘precursors and prototypes’. Erik Barnouw likewise began his distinguished history of the nonfiction film with the ‘prophet’ Lumière and then leapt forward to documentary proper with the explorer Flaherty. Reflecting more recent historiographic trends, Elizabeth Cowie broadened these claims to avoid narrow great-men theories of historical change, asserting that the documentary ‘emerged in the work of filmmakers in Europe and North America in the 1920s as an aesthetic project of recorded reality represented’. Documentary arises ‘closely linked to the development of both modernity and modernism’. Others have pushed the origins of the documentary genre back to First World War films such as The Battle of the Somme (1916).
Is the documentary tradition not quite – or just barely – 100 years old? If the documentary is a major cultural form, it seems highly unlikely that this robust mode of audio-visual nonfiction suddenly emerged in the 1920s (or even the 1910s). Accounts of documentary’s abrupt emergence should strike us as both problematic in their historical reach and theoretically flawed. This need for a more expansive history begs the questions ‘when and how did it begin?’ For starters, a fuller understanding of documentary’s history requires us to separate the documentary tradition from the history of modern motion picture technology. For several decades, the two overlapped and were treated as inextricably linked. Yet over the last twenty to thirty years, it is evident that documentary practices quickly left the film medium behind and moved on to depend on analog and then digital video. Digital media transformed innumerable modes of communication and expression and opened up entirely new possibilities, but what Lewis Jacobs called the documentary tradition has not just continued, it has flourished.
Likewise, there were robust nonfiction practices that utilised motion pictures before ‘documentary’. On one hand, there were shorts or ‘scenics’ and on the other there were illustrated lectures, which were often feature length. Rather than treat this shift from illustrated lectures and scenics to documentary as a rupture in which filmmakers ultimately discovered the appropriate treatment of nonfiction materials, it behooves us to see continuity and transformation. In short, as the documentary mode goes through successive transitions, there is increasing value in stepping back and investigating a longer time frame – rather than the 50 years of Barnouw and Jacobs, what if we looked at something like 300 years? This is in the spirit of the Annales school of Fernand Braudel and its current head Roger Chartier. Although Braudel saw the longue durée involving millennia; Chartier has been particularly concerned with lectures et lecteurs (readings and readers) over the course of several centuries, an analogous time frame from what I am proposing here. Such a perspective deemphasises the event – in this context perhaps the emergence of the Documentary Film Movement in England or the introduction of cinema verité in France, Canada, and the US. While these nonfiction practices have certainly undergone repeated, often quite radical change in both media and their deployment between the 1730s and the 2020s, fundamental continuities are evident. Ongoing preoccupations with such underlying tenets as evidence and truth as well as oscillations between objectivity and personal subjective perspectives have persisted across centuries.
One approach to a history of the documentary tradition involves an examination of screen practices – of the projected image and its sound accompaniment. This has facilitated an attentiveness to changing modes of production and representation as well as changing technologies – including but not limited to successive ‘mediums’ such as lantern slides, celluloid motion pictures, and video. The reality was that the documentary did not involve a new medium (motion pictures) or new technologies but a modest if significant reworking of the illustrated lecture. Viewed within the framework of mainstream cinema this change was a residual, peripheral one; but its impact on feature-length, nonfiction programming was profound. Not surprisingly, Robert Flaherty and Nanook of the North remains a useful place to start.
In 1914 Flaherty was preparing to lead a geological survey expedition into Canada’s northern territories for Sir William Mackenzie. There had been recent, ambitious expeditions to Antarctica (Capt. R.F. Scott’s race to the South Pole), the Arctic (Capt. F.E. Kleinschmidt for the Carnegie Museum), and Africa (Paul Rainey’s African safari) which had been heavily documented via still and motion pictures using professional cinematographers. These pictures had been incorporated into a variety of high-profile illustrated lectures, which proved commercially successful. Why should Flaherty not do the same? Flaherty’s efforts were successful enough to produce a gala opening night screening at Toronto’s Convention Hall:
The pictures of Eskimo life in Baffin Land [were] secured and exhibited by Mr. Robert J. Flaherty, head of Sir William Mackenzie Arctic Expeditions. Every scene brought applause from the large audience of scientists, archaeologists and laymen to whom the pictures were a source of wonder and instruction.
As well as the motion pictures there were many views showing the simple arts of the Eskimo in engravings and drawings. Mr. Flaherty explained each picture.
Flaherty then embarked on another Arctic expedition with his camera. As Paul Rotha and others have reported, Flaherty used this material to produce a film-only program. When the negative ended up in smoke, Flaherty toured with this new illustrated lecture using the surviving work print. Eventually returning to Hudson Bay under the auspices of Revillon Frères to film Nanook of the North, Flaherty reworked many of the scenes that he and others had previously shot of Eskimo life: a walrus hunt, harpooning a seal through its air hole, an Eskimo family in its igloo, and so forth.
With Nanook of the North, the lecture and the lecturer were replaced by intertitles – spoken commentary had been turned into written text. Lacking a lecture, it was no longer an illustrated lecture, so what was it? Variety did not know what to call it – characterising it as a ‘freak’. The New York Times and advertisements for the picture could only describe the film by what it was not: ‘it was something different than a photoplay, educational short, or travel picture’. It would be almost a decade before people knew what to call it – a documentary. The term was also applied to scenics and other forms of short nonfiction such as Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler’s Manhatta (1921).
This shift from illustrated lectures to feature-length nonfiction programs using intertitles had become increasingly common in the second half of the 1910s, in particular with war films. In the early months of the war, the Chicago Tribune sponsored On the Belgium Battlefield (November 1914), a 75-minute feature-length film shot by the Tribune’s staff photographer Edwin F. Weigle. At the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, Weigle accompanied his films with a running commentary. As the picture was put into theaters across the country, respected lecturer Joseph G. Camp provided the accompanying remarks in Atlanta. The rapid dispersion of such pictures presented challenges in terms of the accompanying commentary – the hiring and training of lecturers. A feature-length film, The Battle of the Somme (August 1916), offered a powerful account of the war using intertitles rather than miscellaneous lecturers standing by the screen. As a result, the same film could be shown in many different venues at the same time. Other feature-length war films, notably the Creel Committee’s eight-reel Pershing’s Crusaders (April 1918) and America’s Answer (July 1918), did the same. Not all purveyors of illustrated lectures followed Flaherty and became documentary filmmakers, but it was not uncommon. Nonfiction feature-length programming could finally be integrated into the motion picture industry’s system of distribution and exhibition – though non-theatrical markets would, of course, remain extremely important.
The illustrated lecture was a vibrant mode of nonfiction communication that possessed all the essential elements of documentary – excepting that text was presented live by a lecturer at the time of exhibition rather than incorporated into the film as intertitles or (very soon) recorded narration. If the ‘illustrated lecture’ was the immediate predecessor to documentary, as we look backwards in time towards documentary’s origins, where might this lead? By the 1880s the illustrated lecture was a vibrant form that involved the projection of photographic lantern slides accompanied by a lecture and often incidental music. In the 1890s and the 1900s, many of these practitioners began to integrate motion pictures into their lantern slide programs. By the early 1910s, some illustrated lecturers used films exclusively. The illustrated lecture as a practice thus easily accommodated a shift in medium – from photographic slides to celluloid motion pictures – just as documentary has readily accommodated a shift from motion pictures to video. Here is further evidence that the documentary tradition readily transcends specific media.
Analysing documentary and its longue durée within a theoretical framework of screen practice works well enough for the post-1880 era, but the further back one goes in time, the more problematic it becomes. It is all too simple to start with the invention of the magic lantern and the earliest lantern shows that can be considered nonfiction. From the 1670s onward lanternists offered programs on the life of Christ using hand-painted lantern slides; somewhat later Jesuit priests used the lantern to explicate their travels to China and elsewhere. By linking the lantern show to these early uses of projected images, one could ‘logically’ add two more centuries to the documentary tradition. However, cherry-picking evidence and fitting it into a pre-existing paradigm is a highly problematic research method. Before the availability of digital humanities techniques in which scholars could deploy random word access of newspapers and other written materials to gather textual evidence, it was generally impossible to develop an extensive, nuanced accumulation of data that facilitated in-depth analysis. For instance, a search of American newspapers reveals that the term ‘illustrated lecture’ was only gradually embedded in the cultural landscape in the 1850s and 1860s. Moreover, the illustrated lectures of the 1840s-1870s cannot be mapped onto the technologically-inflected dispositif of screen practice.
Bill Nichols has noted that ‘documentary relies heavily on the spoken word’, and this insight proves particularly useful as we seek to map out the documentary tradition and its longue durée. Foregrounding the lecture rather than the illustration – the word rather than the image – can offer a more successful way forward, at least in the American context. In this respect, a nod towards sound studies can be helpful. Here again, Nichols’ approach to defining documentary as an historical construction seems particularly germane. He suggests
Changes in an understanding of what a documentary is comes about in different ways. Most change, however, occurs because of what goes on in one or more of the following four arenas: (1) institutions that support documentary production and reception, (2) the creative efforts of filmmakers [i.e. practitioners], 3) the lasting influence of specific films [i.e. programs], (4) the expectations of audiences.
To these, three more sources of change can be added: (5) the introduction of new technologies, including the materials or media that these practitioners deploy; and, (6) changes in modes of production and representation (which do not always originate with the filmmakers); and, (7) changes in language or terminology. The impetuses for change outlined by Nichols also help to explain why there are distinctive strands of documentary, organised around state institutions and regulations, language and other socio-economic and cultural factors. Thus, this article focuses on the American experience. These findings will hopefully suggest somewhat analogous histories in other cultural formations and national traditions. Not only did these traditions have different moments and mechanisms of emergence and development, they have often been assessed by historians in quite distinctive ways.
The lecture – with illustrations
What preceded the ‘illustrated lecture’? It was the lecture that used illustrations, and so was illustrated; and these began to appear in the United States in the 1730s. The lecture itself was not new. The term ‘lecture’ occurred with some frequency in the earliest newspapers of Britain’s North American colonies, but it was consistently associated with the sermon and was part of religious services. These lectures enlightened members of a congregation through the word of God, providing a means to convey God’s truth as revealed in the Bible. Such lectures were particularly pervasive in Boston and New England. As Perry Miller remarked, ‘Puritan life, in the New England theory, was centered upon a corporate and communal ceremony, upon the oral delivery of a lecture….’ When itinerant preacher George Whitefield toured the American colonies, he delivered numerous lectures that offered spiritual ‘evangelical Truths, treated of in a Manner su[i]ting the Oracles of GOD; that is to say, with Gravity, Plainness, and good Judgment’.
These lectures certainly engaged in what Bill Nichols has called the discourse of sobriety, but in a strictly religious sense. This changed when the lecture moved out of the church and took on a new form and quite different meaning. These lectures with illustrations were not merely a particular kind of lecture, they were the traditional lecture’s dialectical anti-thesis. The first to hold Harvard’s Hollis Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, Isaac Greenwood used his 1734 summer vacation to give a course on Astronomy that was illustrated by a mechanical model of the solar system – making him the first to give public lectures in the United States. Greenwood was a protégé of Cotton Mather, who tried to reconcile his Puritanical religion with Science. Although Greenwood assured the public that his presentations would confirm the principles of religion, as David Leonard has noted, he actually offered ‘the basic foundation of a mathematical system of nature which ultimately denied the basic notions of the Puritan’. Befriended by Benjamin Franklin, he gave a similar set of lectures in Philadelphia in 1740. Public lectures on natural or experimental philosophy became quite common in the American colonies from 1750 onward – including Franklin’s associate Ebenezer Kinnersley, who gave a series of lectures on ‘the newly discovered Electrical Fire’, and Lewis Evans who offered ‘A Course of Natural Philosophy and Mechanics’. Evans’ course consisted of ‘13 lectures’ and was ‘illustrated by Experiments’, including a mechanical model of the solar system. Kinnersley would regularly give lectures accompanied by experiments and other illustrations on different aspects of electricity for another twenty-five years.
Public lectures on Experimental or Natural Philosophy involved the exhibition of various apparatuses or ‘exhibits’ as well as demonstrations and experiments. They were true audio-visual experiences in which the visuals – what the audience was witnessing – were crucial support for the truth of the lecturer’s assertions. Like his fellow lecturers, William Johnson was engaging religious dogma, noting: ‘As the knowledge of nature tends to enlarge the human mind, and give us more exalted ideas of the GOD of NATURE, it is presumed that this course will prove to many an agreeable and rational entertainment.’ However, Johnson’s lectures were not simply challenges to a literal reading of the bible, they were also in dialogue with rival scientific presentations, for he claimed that ‘many errours that have crept into this branch of Natural Philosophy will be expunged, and the true theory thereof established on the solid foundation of reason and experimentation’. Truth was a crucial goal – not just advocating for a deistic theology that rejected supernatural revelation and the interference of God with the laws of the universe, but claims of a new and more definitive scientific truth in relation to prior wrong-headed theories.
This new form of the lecture was a crucial but perhaps underappreciated aspect of the Enlightenment – particularly the American Enlightenment, which is often dated from around 1750. Scholars have generally examined the Enlightenment within the framework of intellectual history that is said to involve a republic of letters with an emphasis on texts and reading. Yet in enlightening a broader public, books and letters were not enough. These lectures did what no printed text could do: they offered real seeing-is-believing evidence to back up the verbal assertions. They addressed the attentive public beyond pulpits and pews by appealing to human observation, reason, and analysis rather than religious text and orthodoxy. In short, they constructed a counter public that directly and indirectly challenged different forms of biblical literalism. No wonder that the question of truth has haunted the documentary tradition in America. It was what was at stake as documentary’s longue durée had its start; a rigorous seemingly objective truth that could be seen with one’s own eyes and explained through scientific reasoning rather than asserted through God’s word (a literal interpretation of the bible).
Not only were key components of documentary’s dispositif already in place, but many key descriptors associated with documentary were as well. As Michael Warner has noted,
There is no speech or performance addressed to a public that does not try to specify in advance, in countless highly condensed ways, the lifeworld of its circulation. This is accomplished not only through discursive claims, of the kind that can be said to be oriented to understanding, but also at the level of pragmatics, through the effects of speech genres, idioms, stylistic markers, address, temporality, mise-en-scène, citational field, interlocutory protocols, lexicon, and so on.
The scientific underpinning of the public lecture continued well into the nineteenth century, with an array of related but expanding topics including medicine, midwifery, astronomy and navigation, chemistry, botany, geology, and pneumatics.
Not surprisingly, the antithetical tension between the church-based lecture and the secular lecture with illustrations was such that this dialectic created a space that was filled with intermediate forms, including secular lectures that lacked illustrations. In short, the lecture itself was liberated from prior constraints. One new genre that emerged was the political lecture, often referred to as an oration, which became popular in the early 1770s. A citizen of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, congratulated a friend in Boston for the city’s introduction of an annual oration on governance and hoped other towns would soon follow its lead. He warned, however, that ‘we must expect that the enemies of liberty will use their utmost endeavours to prevent political lectures or orations being established…’. In March 1772, a citizen of Braintree, Massachusetts, requested John Adams to lecture on some branch of government. Ministers began to give lectures outside the context of a religious service and take on topics of more general interest. Preacher turned radical free thinker Elihu Palmer lectured frequently from the mid-1790s, but initially promoted them as ‘orations’, ‘moral discourses’, and an ‘Investigation of Truth’. Early in the nineteenth century, he began to describe many of his presentations as ‘political lectures’. Like the lectures of more conventional ministers, these relied on pure speech with no illustrative material.
Lecturers took on an expanding variety of topics: C.W. Peale lectured regularly on Natural History at his father’s Philadelphia Museum – using many of its objects as exhibits. Thomas Swann gave oft-repeated lectures on ‘the grand science of horsemanship’ – accompanied by demonstrations, including those of ‘the broad sword for cavalry movements by Mrs. Scott’ and an ‘Exhibition of a Fox Chase’. When Chief Red Shirt delivered ‘a Long Talk, respecting his life and the wrongs which his tribe has suffered by the whites since their first settlement in this country’ at New York’s American Museum, at least one newspaper characterised it as ‘a public narrative or lecture’. Peale’s New York museum responded with ‘a Novel Exhibition of ancient customs and ceremonies, by a party of Indians of the Sandusky tribe dressed in their appropriate costumes’. These included various scenes of traditional life including war dances and a scalping demonstration. Meanwhile, public lectures on medical and science-related topics, illustrated with appropriate experiments and various representations, continued but were increasingly under the umbrella of local colleges and universities.
With lectures proliferating in the 1820s, two women embodied opposing poles of the public lecture. Anne Clarke came from a middle-class family experiencing financial hardship and made her living as a teacher and tutor. In late 1823, she delivered a series of lectures on Ancient History, ‘illustrated by Maps and a Chart upon a new plan’ from her Philadelphia school room. She subsequently lectured in many cities and towns in the Northeast. One Boston commentator reported,
The lecturer, by means of charts and pictorial illustrations, grouped together the most important features in the history of the world, from the deluge to the present time, and furnished a picture at once ingenious, entertaining and instructive. Her manner was unostentatious, yet pleasing, her style of composition, perspicuous and flowing, and her enunciation clear and distinct. We believe she gave universal satisfaction.
Ten years later, she had added transparent paintings to her repertoire of illustrations – a media choice adopted by a number of other lecturers as well.
Francis Wright, first known to many Americans as the author of the play Altorf (1819), was born in Scotland and became an American citizen in 1825. From the late 1820s, she toured many parts of the United States, lecturing on a range of radical ideas including feminism, abolition, and social reform. As the New York Observer remarked
Miss Frances Wright delivered a lecture on knowledge on Monday night, 5th inst. at the City Hotel, to a large audience. She is a woman of fine address, but conceals her infidel principles under a false species of virtue, morality, liberty, equality and the like, aiming at the ridicule of vital religion, and reproaching the pious, faithful preachers of the Gospel.
Wealthy and well-connected, Wright spoke forcefully and dynamically from the rostrum and had no need of illustrative materials. She helped to set the stage for the anti-slavery lectures that began to appear in the 1830s.
The American Enlightenment had restored literature, arts, and music as important disciplines worthy of study in colleges. In Boston, a Mr. Philipps lectured on the art of singing, using vocal illustrations. In Baltimore, after delivering a lecture on ‘the genius and writings of Lord Bryon with illustrations and criticisms’, Dr. Barber quickly followed it up with another on ‘the genius and poetry of Cowper’. Public lectures on distant lands were also becoming more common. In Philadelphia Mr. Evans delivered a course of twelve lectures on the ‘Manners and Customs of the various countries of the world, illustrated with numerous and elegant drawings, Maps and other extensive apparatus’.
The illustrated lecture
As public lectures became more frequent, it proved useful to signal the difference between those that deployed simple oratory and those that relied on illustrative material of various kinds. In the United States, the earliest precise use of the ‘illustrated lecture’ label was probably a much reprinted 1841 report from London for a demonstration of an Electro-Magnetic Printing Telegraph: ‘A new application of the extraordinary powers of electro-magnetism was yesterday, for the first time, the subject of an illustrated lecture at the Royal Polytechnic Institution.’ The label’s appearance coincided with early instances of technological reproducibility: the introduction of the telegraph as well as photography to the American public through the daguerreotype. Yet there was no neat convergence. There were few if any lectures on photography – people simply went to have their picture taken. Moreover, Americans did not immediately embrace the terminology: it took nearly a decade. Two of the earliest instances of American usage: Mr. Holt gave ‘a highly interesting and beautifully illustrated lecture on Palestine’ in Belfast, Maine on 6 February 1849 while William C. Richard gave ‘a course of three popular and illustrated lectures upon the Atmosphere’ in Augusta, Georgia – ‘illustrated by nearly 100 Brilliant Experiments’ – in late November 1849. The rising popularity of the term ‘illustrated lecture’ was linked to the increased use of such related designations as ‘illustrated books’ and ‘illustrated magazines’ which became common in the 1840s.
The term ‘illustrated lecture’ was not frequently deployed until the early 1850s. The emergence and codification of ‘illustrated lecture’ as a signifier can be seen in exhibitions headed by Maungwudaus, a chief of the Chippewa Indians, and J. Wesley Jones with his Pantoscope. Touring the United States with his family in late 1848, after returning from an extensive European tour, Maungwudaus gave two lectures:
The Lectures with their illustrations of the Indian character and customs, delivered by one of their own number in his own native costume, will impart a far better impression than can possibly be given by a white man lecturing upon the Indian character, or even by some Indians themselves, who disgust the audience by their uncouth noise and gestures.
The illustrations included a number of Indian dances as well as the Indian method of nursing babies, a scalping scene, a council of peace, and shooting at targets with bows and arrows and a blowgun. Elsewhere his evening entertainment was referred to as a ‘public performance’ or an ‘exhibition’. By 1851, however, Maungwudaus was advertising his program as an ‘illustrated lecture’ and did so consistently for the next four years.
Billing himself as ‘Artist, Traveller and Lecturer’, J. Wesley Jones debuted his Pantoscope at Boston’s Amory Hall a few days before Christmas 1852. Jones had crossed the American continent, taking as many as 1,500 Daguerreotypes. From these he had a group of painters (‘the best artist[s] of this country’) copy many of these images for his Pantoscope panorama to produce ‘the largest painting in the world’. It ‘represents the entire route over the ROCKY MOUNTAINS via SALT LAKE CITY and through the Mines and Towns and Cities of CALIFORNIA, with the manners, customs and peculiarities of the Indians, Mormons, Miners and Californians, Their Fights, Dances and Privations’. Jones lectured with this remarkable exhibition two and sometimes three times a day before audiences of roughly 200-250 people. Undoubtedly a large-scale moving panorama (though never explicitly described as such), in which at least sections suggested train travel, the paintings and Jones’ commentary received enthusiastic praise. One way in which the showman was also able to keep filling Amory Hall was by arranging group excursions via the fledgling railroad system from surrounding towns; these patrons thus combined real and virtual travel; this doubling of the viewer-as-passenger experience thus generated its own form of novelty. On occasion the Boston press would characterise Jones’s presentation as an ‘illustrated lecture’. By 1853 he was exhibiting his Pantoscope in New York City and advertising his presentations as ‘illustrated lectures’.
The illustrated lecture was a presentation of a certain kind, regardless of the illustrative material being displayed. Maungwudaus’ presentations involved ‘an accurate picture of real INDIAN LIFE’ and were ‘on an extensive scale and in a most comprehensive manner’. Jones offered his patrons a continuous journey: one clergyman who had travelled a similar route praised his exhibition for offering a ‘faithful transcript of that country’. The photo-based paintings were frequently praised for their ‘truthfulness’, for offering a true picture, ‘nature itself’ with ‘incidents [that] are life-like’. These descriptors (‘real’, ‘accurate’, ‘truthful’, ‘life-like’, ‘comprehensive’, as well as the strongly implied ‘authentic’) enriched the documentary tradition’s informing logic.
As might be expected, these newly characterised illustrated lectures were on an ever-expanding range of subjects. A Mr. Shaw ‘deliver[ed] an illustrated lecture on Phrenology, which may be worthy the attention of friends of the science’. Dr. Boynton gave an illustrated lecture on Geology titled The History of Creation, using 18 large paintings covering more than 3,000 feet of canvas. In 1859, Mrs. D.P. Bowers, a well-known actress, gave an illustrated lecture on Song and Passion – one of many such programs in which music provided the illustration.
The illustrated lecture confronts photography and technological reproducibility
Not only did the ‘illustrated lecture’ coincide with the introduction and development of photography, proponents of photography used many of the same descriptors and tropes. From its beginnings, the discourse around photography as offering a truthful image overlapped with the rhetoric associated with the illustrated lecture. In 1840 Edgar Allan Poe wrote:
If we examine a work of ordinary art, by means of a powerful microscope, all traces of resemblance to nature will disappear – but the closest scrutiny of the photogenic drawing discloses only a more absolute truth, a more perfect identity of aspect with the thing represented. The variations of shade, and the gradations of both linear and aerial perspective are those of truth itself in the supremeness of its perfection.
Poe’s assertion engages truthfulness in two aspects, one of which has been a curse to documentary studies – that of absolute truth and a perfect correspondence to nature. The other, largely ignored, is more helpful. The photographic image is more truthful in relation to the painted image. It is relative and comparative – just like the claims Maungwudaus made for his illustrated lectures and many other public speakers made for their demonstrations/exhibits. Nevertheless the illustrated lecture and photography operated in two different realms that rarely if ever overlapped. In this regard J. Wesley Jones was atypical.
Jones’ Pantoscope underscores the fact that Daguerreotypes – and so photography more generally – were ill-suited to act as illustrations for the illustrated lecture. This began to change as John A. Whipple, a prominent Boston daguerreotypist, and William B. Jones developed the albumen process which allowed them to transfer a photographic image onto a glass surface. Even before they patented it in June 1850, Whipple was exhibiting ‘Something New’. As one journalist noted, ‘By an excellent and powerful set of instruments, the exhibitor is enabled to reproduce daguerreotypes the size of life upon an illuminated screen.’ Whipple, however, avoided any suggestion that his presentation was a lecture. He was displaying several different scientific novelties or ‘Wonders of Modern Optical Science’.
Philadelphia photographers Frederick and William Langenheim were also developing the Albumen process that allowed them to transfer a photographic image onto a glass surface in 1849. By 1850 they were advertising these for the magic lantern. In one report they announced
The new magic-lantern pictures on glass, being produced by the action of light alone on a prepared glass plate, by means of the camera obscura, must throw the old style of magic lantern slides into the shade, and supersede them at once, on account of the greater accuracy of the smallest detail which are drawn and fixed on glass from nature, by the camera obscura, with a fidelity truly astonishing. By magnifying these new slides through the magic lantern, the representation is nature itself again, omitting all defects and incorrectness in the drawing which can never be avoided in painting a picture on the small scale required for the old slides.
Somewhat surprisingly there is little evidence that illustrated lectures using photographic lantern slides entered public life at this time. One exception: Charles Gayler delivered a series of illustrated lectures on Elisha Kent Kane’s Artic voyages at the Brooklyn Athenaeum in March and April 1858. These images, likely acquired from the Langenheims, may have featured some actual photographs (perhaps a portrait of Kane), but many were hand-colored photographic reproductions of naturalistic drawings – a style later perfected by Joseph Boggs Beale.
The projection of photographic lantern slides for nonfiction programs only achieved critical mass in late 1860 – with what became widely known as the stereopticon. The stereopticon is a name that was restricted to American discourse but signaled what might be considered a new media form. This new media form brought together three essential components: first, the photographic image; second, a new and much more powerful light source; and third, sharp lenses. This quickly led to the presentation of whole series of programs – many were travel-related, since the stereopticon seemed able to transport its audiences to distant places.
The stereopticon was developed by John Fallon of Lawrence, Massachusetts, in the late 1850s. Unlike Whipple, Fallon did not present this new lantern system himself but delegated this task to two people who had experience in the entertainment field. After some informal, little publicised screenings, Fallon’s Stereopticon had its commercial debut in Philadelphia under the direction of Thomas Leyland, a Fallon associate, and Peter E. Abel, who worked on the business side of the local theatrical business. A week of afternoon and evening screenings followed its premiere at the Concert Hall on 22 December 1860. Their advertisements promoted ‘Gigantic Stereoscopic Pictures’ that surpassed ‘anything hitherto presented to the public’ as the images were produced ‘with surprising and almost magical accuracy’. The Saturday Evening Post responded, ‘[I]t produces in a wonderful degree the impression that you are gazing upon the real scenes and objects represented.’
The Fallon team ventured to the home of the Langenheims and the center of photographic activity in the US, where they found an enthusiastic audience. By the 1860s, there were two complementary yet unintegrated practices that shared similar sets of descriptors. Both appealed to science and truth: the illustrated lecture and the stereopticon exhibition, which projected photographic images before a public, were programs that could easily appear in the same venues. Why this sharp distinction? Perhaps because in the mid-nineteenth century, there were three overarching modes of presentation, which remain familiar to us even to this day:
–The Lecture. The lecture along with the sermon and oratory were forms of speechifying.
–The Exhibition. Paintings and photographs were typically exhibited. Although painters or photographers could exhibit their own work, exhibitions generally involved the presentation of other people’s work to the public.
– Performance. Theater and other forms of entertainment typically involved performers and performances.
These categories were not necessarily exclusive. The circus was sometimes called an exhibition and sometimes a performance – but not a lecture, even though there was a ringmaster who addressed the audience.
As with dissolving views, advertisements and newspaper notices consistently referred to the stereopticon as being exhibited – or the featured element of an exhibition, without any mention of a lecture. An unusually extensive review of Abel & Leyland’s Stereopticon called the show an ‘entertainment’ four times and employed variants of ‘exhibit’ and ‘exhibition’ a total of seven times. The focus was on the ‘Stereoscopic Photographic Pictures’ and the ‘extraordinary dimensions’ of the image. The term ‘lecture’ never appears. However, stereopticon exhibitions generated an array of descriptors that overlap with those employed for the illustrated lecture: truthfulness, educational agency, a faithful picture (authenticity and fidelity), accurate and precise portrayal, and so forth. This network of terms appeared repeatedly: a New York Tribune advertisement for ‘the great STEREOPTICON’ declared that ‘the Stereoscopic Views exhibited were truly beautiful, true to life and nature as such views always are, and the mode of exhibiting greatly increasing their distinctness and beauty’.
There was a split. For the illustrated lecture, the commentary – the spoken word or lecture – was deemed primary. For exhibitions of paintings or stereopticon slides, the image was paramount. This does not mean that they lacked verbal accompaniment. An art show might have the equivalent of a docent, while stereopticon exhibitions seemed to have had ‘delineators’. In the 1860s, a new, unexpected binary emerged with the illustrated lecture on one side of the divide – as a subset of the lecture. On the other was the stereopticon – a subset of the visual. However, stereopticon shows rarely involve the sustained, complex treatment of a subject that we associate with documentary – or with many illustrated lectures such as Jones’ Pantoscope with its depiction of a ‘continuous journey’. Yet the stereopticon also embodied modern technologies of reproducibility in ways that the illustrated lecture, the recent name for a century-long practice, did not. Here was a new dialectic. A new synthesis would take almost two decades to emerge.
Integrating the stereopticon and the illustrated lecture
A critical process in the development if not also the formation of modern-day documentary practice occurred when the stereopticon as exhibition and the illustrated lecture as lecture came together. This integration was a gradual and uneven process that congealed around a large number of screen presentations focused on Yosemite Valley and Yellowstone National Park in the early to mid 1870s. Given that the environmental documentary is one of the most important and dynamic nonfiction genres of today’s documentary, this is of particular interest: it suggests that environmental topics were near the origins and in some sense the catalyst for bringing exhibition and lecture – pictures and words – together in balance and harmony. For instance, photographer T. Clarkson Taylor of Wilmington, Delaware, travelled to Yosemite in the summer of 1869. That December he gave a ‘stereopticon exhibition’ titled California and the Yo-Semite Valley at Philadelphia’s Mercantile Library. The advertisement for his evening entertainments clearly emphasised the photographs – the term ‘lecture’ was not used: his programs were ‘illustrated with beautiful Illuminated Photographs, covering 500 square feet, and now exhibited, for the first time in this city’. The following month Taylor exhibited in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This time, it was announced that he ‘Will delivered two Lectures’, the second now simply titled The Yosemite Valley: ‘These lectures will be illustrated by forty photographic views taken by himself during the past summer, and magnified by the Stereopticon.’ Although the terms exhibition and lecture were brought together in conjunction with the stereopticon presentation, the ‘illustrated lecture’ label was not actually deployed.
The application of the term ‘illustrated lecture’ to lectures with stereopticon began to appear with tentative regularity after 1875. Professor William L. Marshall of Fitchburg, MA, presented a highly successful ‘illustrated lecture’ on Yellowstone at Boston’s Art Club in late 1876. One year later he presided over a similar event at New York’s Cooper Institute with 4,000 people in attendance. ‘His remarks were illustrated with Stereopticon views’, but the tension between the lecture itself and the projected images was evident: ‘The stereopticon views were so much admired that several times the lecturer had to request the audience to restrain its applause that he might go on with the lecture.’ By decade’s end, the term ‘illustrated lecture’ was routinely used to promote and describe his programs.
A new term – ‘stereopticon lecture’ – was being occasionally deployed by 1879, one that further emphasised the integration of word/lecture with image/lantern photograph and thus a subtle shift in the meaning of ‘illustrated lecture’ itself. The documentary tradition reached a new phase of development, as illustrated lectures might also be called lantern lectures or stereopticon lectures. The illustrated lecture had finally embraced the tools of technological reproducibility. The paintings, charts, models, and moving panoramas that had been used for illustrative materials had been largely replaced and comparatively standardised by the deployment of lantern slides. The descriptors that were associated with both the illustrated lecture and the stereopticon exhibition were brought together in an expansive, dialectical unity.
This investigation of documentary’s longue durée has argued that the documentary tradition is almost 300 years old – a constantly evolving practice: in the English colonies of North America, it emerged with the American Enlightenment. These roots in the Enlightenment are something documentary’s longue durée doubtlessly shares with other national traditions, though significant details – or more than details – will differ. Were lectures on ‘natural or experimental philosophy’ as fundamental a factor in documentary’s origins with other national formations – and the corresponding confrontation with religion? Did the question of truthfulness enjoy the same centrality from the outset? Was the stereopticon exhibition/illustrated lecture binary of the 1860s and 1870s evident in other national traditions? Is it wrong to assume that the broad, technologically driven changes in the dispositif were shared across local and national practices even if the timing was somewhat different? This would include the shift to photographic reproducibility of the image as illustration, and later the incorporation of motion pictures; the shift from lecture to intertitles and intertitles to recorded sound. In any case, the periodisation of documentary will inevitably look and feel differently within the framework of a 300-year history. Jones’ Pantoscope can now be seen as an early instance of the autobiographical or personal presentation as examined by Jim Lane and others. This autobiographical tradition would continue in the illustrated lectures of John Stoddard, Burton Holmes, and numerous military officers who turned their Kodak photographs into lantern slides and gave their personal accounts of the Spanish-American War. Likewise, many of the concerns of ethnographic documentary are already apparent in Maungwudaus’ illustrated lectures as well as the still earlier public presentations by Red Shirt and contemporaneous Native Americans. Simply put, historical perspective can prove invaluable.
An examination of documentary’s longue durée also has implications for how we approach the history of motion pictures. We can look at several broad-based cultural practices and see how they are impacted by motion pictures – rather than the other way around. Not only how motion pictures impacted the documentary tradition but how the cinema transformed and came to dominate theatrical culture. In fact, when the illustrated lecture was transformed into what we readily recognise as documentary, the illustrated lecture did not disappear but continued alongside it in a more residual mode. When it comes to theatrical culture the dynamics between live performance and cinema are particularly complex. There might be value in returning to A. Nicholas Vardac’s Stage to Screen and reimagine a history of performance culture. We might even try to construct a history of experimental or avant-garde media practices that preceded as well as post-dates the cinema. Tom Gunning has tied cinema of attractions to later avant-garde cinema, but it can just as easily be traced back to John Whipple’s Wonders of Modern Optical Science or Robertson’s Phantasmagoria. Has the new film history championed by Thomas Elsaesser become old and been overtaken by the need for new paradigms necessitated by our current circumstances? Might we deemphasise the history of specific media and focus more on the way existing cultural practices are reformed by those new media? Documentary and its long durée suggests that this might be the case.
Charles Musser is Professor of Film & Media Studies, American Studies, and Theater & Performance Studies at Yale University. Having published extensively on American early cinema, he authored Politicking and Emergent Media: US Presidential Elections of the 1890s in 2016. Musser has also written on such neglected areas of documentary as left-wing filmmaking in the 1940s and 50s. His own documentaries include Before the Nickelodeon: The Early Cinema of Edwin S. Porter (1982), Errol Morris: A Lightning Sketch (2014), and most recently Our Family Album (2019). He received the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Lifetime Career Achievement Award in 2020.
Barnouw, E. Documentary: A history of the non-fiction film. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
Borton, T. Before the movies: American magic-lantern entertainment and the nation’s first great screen artist, Joseph Boggs Beale. London: John Libby, 2014.
Braudel, F. ‘Histoire et Sciences Sociales: La Longue Durée’, Annales, 13:4, 1958: 8-37.
Chartier, R. Lectures et Lecteurs dans la France d’Ancien Régime. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1987.
Chartier, R. ‘Introduction’ in The culture of print: Power and the uses of print in early modern Europe, edited by R. Chartier and translated by L. Cochrane. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014: 3-12.
Cheyney, E. History of the University of Pennsylvania, 1740-1940. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940.
Cowie, E. Recording reality, desiring the real. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 2011.
Eckhardt, C. Fanny Wright: Rebel in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.
Elsaesser T. Film history as media archaeology. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016.
Ferguson, R. The American enlightenment, 1750–1820. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994.
Ganter, G. ‘Mistress of Her Art: Anne Laura Clarke, Traveling Lecturer of the 1820s’, The New England Quarterly, #87:4, 2014: 709-746.
Hambrick-Stowe, C. The practice of piety: Puritan devotional disciplines in seventeenth-century New England. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.
Holmes, B. The Burton Holmes lectures. 10 vols. Battle Creek: Little-Preston Company, Ltd, 1901.
Hongisto, I. et al. ‘Introduction: The Ring of the True in Contemporary Media’, NECSUS, #6:1, 2017: 61-75; https://necsus-ejms.org/introduction-ring-true-contemporary-media/.
Huhtamo, E. Illusions in motion: Media archaeology of the moving panorama and related spectacles. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013.
Jacobs, L. The documentary tradition: From Nanook to Woodstock. New York: Hopkinson and Blake Publishers, 1971.
Lane, J. The autobiographical documentary in America. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.
Leonard, D. ‘Harvard’s First Science Professor: A Sketch of Isaac Greenwood’s Life and Work’, Harvard Library Bulletin, #29:2, 1981: 135-168.
Mather, C. The Christian philosopher: A collection of the best discoveries in nature, with religious improvements. Boston: 1721.
Miller, P. The New England mind: The seventeenth century. New York: McMillan, 1939.
Musser, C. ‘Toward a History of Screen Practice’, Quarterly Review of Cinema Studies, #9:1, 1984: 59-69.
_____. ‘Problems in Historiography: The Documentary Tradition Before Nanook of the North’ in The British Film Institute companion to documentary, edited by B. Winston. London: BFI/Palgrave MacMillan, 2013: 119-128.
_____. Politicking and emergent media: US presidential elections of the 1890s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016.
Nichols, B. Introduction to documentary, 2nd edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.
_____. Representing reality: Issues and concepts in documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.
Poe, E. ‘The Daguerreotype’, Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, #4:3, 1840: 2.
Rotha, R. Robert J. Flaherty: A biography, edited by J. Ruby. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.
Schivelbusch, W. The railway journey: Trains and travel in the 19th century. New York: Urizen Books, 1979.
Smither, R. ‘”A wonderful Idea of the Fighting”: The Question of Fakery in The Battle of the Somme’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, #13:2, 1993: 149-168.
Sterne, J. The audible past: Cultural origins of sound reproduction. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.
Stoddard, J. John L. Stoddard’s lectures, 12 vols. Boston: Balch Brothers, 1903.
Vardac, A. Stage to screen – Theatrical method from Garrick to Griffith. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949.
Warner, M. ‘Publics and Counterpublics’, Public Culture, #14:1, 2002: 49-90.
Wells, K. ‘Fallon’s Stereopticon’, Magic Lantern Gazette, #23:3, 2011: 2-34.
 Jacobs 1971, p. 8.
 Ibid., p.12.
 Barnouw 1974, pp. 3-50.
 Cowie 2011, p. 1.
 Smither 1993, p. 160. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_the_Somme_(film) (accessed on 10 December 2016).
 Braudel 1958, pp. 8-37; Chartier 1987; Chartier 2014. Chartier’s interest in early modern Europe may mean that our time frames overlap, but this essay is concerned with lectures and lecturers (conférences et conférenciers) rather than lectures et lecteurs (readings and readers). As this example of linguistic phylogenesis must suggest, documentary’s long durée involves distinct if overlapping histories.
 A recent issue of NECSUS was devoted to issues around truth in nonfiction media including documentary. See Hongisto et al 2017.
 Musser 1984, pp. 59-69.
 ‘Movies of Eskimo Life Win Much Appreciation’, Toronto Globe, 31 March 1915: 8.
 Paul Rotha 1983, p. 26.
 ‘Nanook of the North’, Variety, 16 June 1922: 40.
 ‘Nanook of the North’, New York Times, 12 June 1922: 18. Advertisement, Moving Picture World, 13 May 1922: 182.
 Advertisement, Atlanta Constitution, 29 November 1914: 5; see also ‘Frederick Palmer To Repeat Lecture Here’, Minneapolis Tribune, 20 February 1917: 12.
 Of course, by the time the term ‘documentary’ was broadly accepted ca. 1930, the film industry had moved on to the production of sound films. At that point, the words that had appeared in the intertitles once again became sound accompaniment. See Walter Futter’s Africa Speaks (1930).
 Although I tried to trace the early history of documentary within the context of screen practice in Musser 2013, unresolved historiographic problems that arose in that article have led to this current essay. Conceivably there is more direct connection in the European tradition.
 Nichols 1991, p. 21.
 Although sound studies has concentrated on forms of technological reproducibility (Sterne 2003), recorded sound did not have a significant presence in the documentary tradition until roughly 1930. Live sound, however, was often a determinative feature of documentary prior to that date.
 Nichols 2010, pp.15-16; see also Nichols 1991, pp. 3-31.
 See for instance, ‘Advertisements’, Boston News-Letter, 16 March 1711: 2; New England Weekly Journal, 16 December 1740: 2.
 Miller 1939, p. 298; see also Hambrick-Stowe 2014, particularly pp. 93-135.
 This description of Whitefield’s lecture in Charleston, South Carolina was published in the Philadelphia newspaper American Weekly Mercury, 13 November 1740: 1.
 Leonard 1981, p. 135. New England Weekly Journal, 1 July 1734: 2.
 Mather 1721.
 Leonard 1981, p. 165.
 Cheyney 1940, p. 12.
 Announcement, Pennsylvania Gazette, 6 December 1750: 2; announcement, Pennsylvania Gazette, 18 April 1751: 3; advertisement, New York Gazette, 22 July 1751: 3.
 ‘For the Entertainment of the Curious’, Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg, VA), 17 October 1766: 3.
 Ferguson 1994.
 While Chartier is primarily concerned with readings and readers, he also emphasises its dynamic relation to oral culture. Lectures were often published and not only read but sometimes read aloud. However, the crucial truth-generating use of live illustrations would have been absent from such recitations.
 Warner 2002, p. 81.
 ‘Boston, April 27’, Providence Gazette and Country Journals, 2 May 1772: 3.
 ‘Braintree’, Boston Gazette, 16 March 1772: 5.
 ‘Political Lectures’, New York Commercial Advertiser, 1 January 1802: 3.
 ‘Museum’, General Aurora Advertiser (Philadelphia), 29 November 1799: 3.
 Advertisement, Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), 10 October 1806: 3.
 ‘American Museum’, New-York American, 22 January 1829: 3; Woodstock Observer (VT), 3 February 1829: 3.
 ‘Peale’s Museum and Gallery of the Fine Arts’, New-York American, 22 January 1829: 3. Peale had two waxworks made of Indians who visited his Philadelphia Museum in 1796, which he then installed in his galleries (The General Advertiser [Philadelphia], 14 August 1797: 3).
 Ebenezer Kinnersley, David Rittenhouse, and others were giving lectures at the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in the early 1770s. Announcement, Pennsylvania Gazette, 28 February 1771: 3. See for instance, ‘Columbia College’, New-York Evening Post, 9 November 1807: 4; ‘University of the State of New York’, American Citizen (New York), 16 November 1807: 2.
 Ganter 2014.
 ‘Lectures on History’, Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia), 3 December 1823: 3.
 ‘Historical Lecture’, American Traveller (Boston), 8 January 1830: 3.
 ‘Historical Lectures’, Vermont Watchman and State Gazette (Montpelier, VT), 29 July 1833: 4.
 ‘Communication’, New-York Observer, 10 January 1829: 3.
 For more on Wright, see Eckhardt 1984.
 ‘Anti-Slavery Lecture’, Boston Courier, 25 May 1833: 2.
 ‘Lectures’, Boston Commercial Gazette, 7 January 1822: 2.
 Advertisement, Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 13 March 1826: 3.
 ‘Lectures on Natural Science’, National Gazette and Literary Register (Philadelphia), 28 November 1831: 2.
 ‘The Electro-magnetic Printing Telegraph’, Manchester Guardian, 7 August 1841: 4; ‘From Late English Papers’, National Aegis (Worcester, Massachusetts), 20 October 1841: 1. The term ‘illustrated lecture’ was occasionally deployed in the United Kingdom during the previous decade. See ‘Society of Arts’, The Times (London), 12 December 1838: 6; ‘Dramatic and Musical Chit Chat’, Illustrated London News, 15 July 1843: 42.
 Republican Journal [Belfast, Maine], 9 February 1849: 3; Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, 29 November 1849: 2.
 The London Illustrated News began publication in May 1842.
 Advertisement, Hartford Daily Courant, 21 December 1848: 3.
 Salem (MA) Observer, 23 March 1850: 3.
 Advertisement, Cleveland Daily Herald, 8 July 1851: 2; advertisement, American and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, MD), 15 May 1852: 3; advertisement, Newark Daily Advertiser, 8 October 1855: 3.
 Boston Bee, 22 December 1852: 2.
 Advertisement, Boston Herald, 24 December 1852: 3.
 Huhtamo 2013, pp. 6-15, 245-261.
 ‘Cheap Excursions’, Boston Daily Herald, 30 April 1853: 2. The cost of a round-trip train ride from Newburyport and admission to the Panorama was $1.25. See Schivelbusch 1979, p. 153 ff.
 ‘Grand Excursion’, Boston Herald, 25 March 1852: 2.
 ‘The Lecture Season’, New York Herald, 1 November 1853: 1.
 Cleveland Daily Herald, 8 July 1851: 2.
 ‘Clergyman…’, Boston Herald, 16 March 1852: 2.
 ‘Indian Dances’, Boston Bee, 14 January 1853: 2; ‘Chimney Rock…’, Boston Bee, 21 January 1853: 2.
 ‘Lecture on Phrenology’, North American, 27 February 1844: 2.
 ‘The Lecture Season’, New York Herald, 16 March 1853; ‘Lectures on Geology’, Richmond Enquirer, 1 January 1859: 3.
 ‘Amusements’, Baltimore Daily Exchange, 15 December 1859: 1.
 Poe 1840.
 ‘Whipple’s Dissolving Views’, The Daily Atlas (Boston), 15 February 1850: 2. Patent no. 7,458, Improvement in Producing Photographic Pictures upon Transparent Media, issued 25 June 1850.
 Advertisement, Boston Herald, 13 March 1850: 3.
 The Langenheims, quoted in ‘To the Fine and Useful Arts’, The Art-Journal (London) April 1851: 106.
 ‘City Items’, New York Tribune, 5 April 1858: 6.
 Borton 2014.
 Wells 2011, pp. 2-34. See also Musser 2016, pp. 62-75.
 ‘Amusements, Something New Under the Sun’, Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 December 1860: 8.
 ‘The Stereopticon’, Saturday Evening Post, 5 January 1861: 2.
 ‘Amusements, Music, &c’, Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 February 1861: 5.
 Advertisement, New York Tribune, 5 May 1863: 8.
 Advertisement, Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, 4 December 1869: 2.
 ‘Lectures’, Brooklyn Eagle, 26 January 1870: 1. Taylor, who ran a school in Wilmington, Delaware and had given illustrated lectures using the stereopticon, died on 25 October 1871. (‘Scientific Lectures’, Delaware Republican, 5 February 1866: 2; ‘Died’, Philadelphia Inquirer, 27 October 1871: 5.)
 An Evening in Wonderland’, Boston Daily Advertiser, 13 November 1876: 4.
 ‘The Yellowstone Park’, New York Herald, 8 December 1877: 12.
 Lane 2002.
 Stoddard 1903; Holmes 1901. For a survey of personal and autobiographical illustrated lectures on the Spanish-American and Philippine American War see Musser 2016, pp. 154-168.
 Vardac 1949.
 Elsaesser 2016.