UW News

May 27, 2010

It’s about Denny Hall, sort of: Help identify this week’s Lost & Found Film

Editor’s Note: The UW Audio Visual Services Materials Library has more than 1,200 reels of film from the late 1940s through the early 1970s, documenting life at the University through telecourses, commercial films and original productions. Some of the short films are easily identifiable, but many more remain mysteries. Who shot these films and why? Can you help answer those questions? Faculty and staff can use the comments field at the end of the story to send ideas. Those outside the University can e-mail filmarc@u.washington.edu.  

The film is called New Ivy for Denny Hall, but Denny doesn’t make an appearance until the very end of our four-minute clip. What we see instead is a sign pointing the way to the Museum of History & Industry, followed by a view of the museum and then a long segment showing in detail a diorama, “The Denny Party crossing the Rockies in 1851 as described in Roberta Frye Watt’s Four Wagons West.” The diorama, by August Kohler, used to be on display at the museum.

The clip continues with portraits of what appear to be Seattle city founders and paintings depicting the great Seattle fire and the original Territorial University downtown. Only as it comes to a close do we get a view of Denny Hall. The clip comes from a film made in about 1958. The rest of it goes on to show the renovation of Denny Hall, scenes of downtown Seattle and ends with footage of SeaTac airport and planes taking off.

Film Archive Specialist Hannah Palin is interested in any information available about Philip Jacobsen, who produced the film. Another Lost & Found film, Malburg, was also produced by Phil Jacobsen and Associates and she would love to know more about him and his production company. The film seems to trace the history of Denny Hall, but without sound, it is difficult to know for sure. She would be interested in learning more about why the film was produced and where it was shown. Also, any information about the diorama would be great.

Palin learned a lot about last week’s film, Octopus, from Alyn Duxbury, emeritus professor of oceanography, who said that film was taken at the Friday Harbor Labs in in the 1940s. But give it a look — maybe you know even more.