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At a Glance
Scope and Contents
The David Flaherty papers contains David Flaherty's personal and family correspondence, scripts, accounts, notes, manuscripts, etc. of the films which he directed, dating from 1913 to 1965. The correspondence files contain incoming and outgoing letters from/to his family including his brother, Robert J. Flaherty, whom he worked with after returning from World War I, prior to the 1940s. Other materials in the papers also include the scripts, notes, lists, correspondence related to the documentary short films he produced for the Jack Frost Sugar Company between 1945 and 1948, as well as films he produced and/or proposed for the Vermont Development Association and an independent film company in the 1950s. The materials in the collection provides an insight into the family life of David Flaherty as well as his contribution to the production of early documentary films.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
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You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
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Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); David Flaherty papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials concerning David Flaherty's work with his brother Robert J. Flaherty, and his position as Secretary-Treasurer of the Robert Flaherty Foundation will be found in the Robert J. Flaherty Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Flaherty, David. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1966. Accession number--M-66.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/89.
March 2020 PDF replaced with full finding aid, YH
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
David Flaherty was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, on November 27, 1897. He was the youngest son of Robert H. Flaherty, who was a mining engineer, and Susanna Kloeckner Flaherty, and the younger brother of Henry Russell Flaherty and Robert Joseph Flaherty, a documentary film pioneer. David grew up in Port Arthur, Ontario. During World War I, he was a clerk in the U.S. Army for two years and joined his brother, Robert Joseph Flaherty on his first film expedition to Canada after returning from the war and assisted him in his film productions. He also contributed in organizing the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. He later also spent some time in France writing at the encouragement of his brother. After returning to the U.S., he began producing advertising short documentaries for the Jack Frost Sugar Company in the 1940s, as well as "Green Mountain Land" for the Vermont Development Association in 1950. He later worked at a small independent film company in the 1950s. In 1966, David Flaherty died at the age of 68, in Brattleboro, Vermont.