Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio

In cinema’s nascent years, the art of filmmaking was being pioneered and many new and exciting developments would occur in conjunction with this new form of storytelling. Among the many facets of filmmaking history is the history of motion picture studios, working to create and distribute their work.

Many myths in relation to early film studios exist, often neglecting the importance and history of the Vitagraph Studios. It was Vitagraph that established the studio system and broke ground in the hiring of many on- and off-screen talents, in addition to perfecting the filming process. Additionally, Vitagraph would grow to distribute films all over the world.

Vitagraph initially began in Brooklyn, New York, in 1897, as the American Vitagraph company before relocating to Hollywood. A prolific film production company by 1907, it was bought by Warner Bros. in 1925. Under its employ were stars like Florence Turner, Maurice Costello, Jean the Vitagraph Dog, Dolores Costello, Constance and Norma Talmadge, and more.

Vitaphone: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio, written by Andrew A. Erish, offers a fascinating look at the history and influence of Vitagraph. In his research, Erish consulted with a wide range of primary source material in order to retell the story of Vitagraph and its film pioneers. Published by the University Press of Kentucky, this book is a wonderful read focused upon the importance and impact of Vitagraph.

Vitaphone: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio is available for purchase through the University Press of Kentucky.