The Life of a City – Early Silent Films of New York City

The Library of Congress has some neat playlists on YouTube that history teachers should explore. One of those playlists is titled The Life of a City: Early Films of New York. This playlist includes 24 silent film clips of events like the opening of the East River bridge, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Parade, and the first automobile parade in downtown Manhattan.

The films on their own don’t tell you a whole lot about what you’re seeing. However, the descriptions included below each video on YouTube are full of information about what you’re seeing, when it was filmed, and who filmed it.

Applications for Education

One of the ways that students might use these videos is to include them in a side-by-side “then and now” display. They could create those displays in Google Sites or any other website builder that supports side-by-side video displays.

Some of the videos would be excellent to use in multimedia timelines about the development of New York City. And the automobile parade video featured above would be good to include in a timeline about the development of the automobile industry. Timeline JS is a great tool for making multimedia timelines. I have a tutorial on how to use it included in this Practical Ed Tech posting.


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!