Collection ID:

Collection context


George Eastman Museum
The James Reese collection consists of artwork, awards, scripts, and materials from film labs, all of which are related to Reese's work. It also consists of 16mm prints of his films, as well as films he collected.
1.5 cubic feet
English and Collection materials are in English
Preferred citation:

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

James Reese Collection, 1941-1983, bulk 1954-1983, George Eastman Museum, Moving Image Department, Stills, Posters and Paper Collections


Scope and Content:

The James Reese collection consists of scripts, photographs, films, illustrations by Reese, awards, and materials from film laboratories. The materials are predominantly professional rather than personal. They do not cover the entirety of his career; most of the materials are from Reese's time at SUNY Brockport, and there are some materials dating from his time with General Electric. Geographically, the collection covers work done in the United States and Mexico.

A particular strength of the collection is material related to film production, with numerous timing cards and information from film-processing labs.

Biographical / Historical:

James Harold Reese (often credited as “Jay Reese”) was born onMay 20, 1914. His early career in film production was dedicated to industrial films, but towards the end of his life he explored his interest in ethnographic, sociological, and nature films.

Reese attended the University of Washington, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the university basketball team. He received a Bachelor of Arts inAugust 1938and a Master of Arts in English inAugust 1939with a thesis titled "Emerson and Spinoza: a Comparative Study of Their Metaphysics and Ethics and Emerson's Position as a Monistic Thinker.”

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Reese served as Production Supervisor of the Motion Picture Unit of General Electric's Heavy Military Electronics Department in Syracuse, New York. While at General Electric Reese was involved in a number of industrial film productions, including the Golden Eagle award-winningHands of Industry(1962).

Reese was employed by the College at Brockport, State University of New York (SUNY Brockport) from1966to1974. When he left, he was listed in staff directories as Assistant Director of Cinematography, ECC (Educational Communication Center). During his time there he was involved in the production of numerous films about the university and the local environment, as well as more personal interests. These films include a series on the Bergen Swamp shot over the course of several seasons, an orientation film for SUNY Brockport entitledWhat is a College?(ca. 1968), and the Golden Eagle award-winning,The Faces of Jocotepec(1970) about the disappearing native cultures of Mexico.

James Reese passed away onOctober 11, 1993.

Acquisition information:
The collection was donated by the estate of James Reese in 1994, 1998, and 2005.

The collection is divided into five series, based on topic or medium: Art/Photographs, Awards, Film Lab/Production Materials, Films, and Scripts. The films are stored separately from the other materials, which are housed in one standard-sized archival box and one medium-sized flat box. Prior to processing, all materials that were not films were stored in a single standard-sized archival box. This rehousing was done for reasons of size and safekeeping. The details of the five series that comprise the collection are as follows:

  • Series 1, Art/Photographs,1956-1983
  • Series 2, Awards,1960-1970
  • Series 3, Film Lab/Production Materials,1969-1975,undated
  • Series 4, Films,1941-1973, undated
  • Series 5, Scripts,1954-ca. 1973, undated
Physical location:
Collection materials are located onsite.



Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

James Reese Collection, 1941-1983, bulk 1954-1983, George Eastman Museum, Moving Image Department, Stills, Posters and Paper Collections

900 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607, United States