Human Studies Film Archives

Guide to the J. C. Glessner films of Iraq, circa 1928-1957


Collection ID:
Glessner, J. C. (Jefferson Carlyle), 1895-1962
circa 1928-1957
Moving image materials are silent; supplementary materials are in English
Physical Description:
Film reels
1 hour 51 minutes
black-and-white color silent positive; 1600 feet

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
Footage shot in Mesopotamia (Iraq) while Glessner worked as a missionary for the United Mission. Indigenous peoples filmed include the Iraq Bedouin, Yezidi, Kurds, Arabs, and Turkamen. Documentation covers a wide range of daily subsistence and domestic, ceremonial, and religious activities including: outdoor church services, animal husbandry (sheep), harvesting and threshing of wheat, water wells and wheels, Bedouin tents and dancing at Sulimani, Yezidi festival and whitewashing of a Yezidi shrine, circumcision ceremony, women carrying pans of yogurt on head to Bagdad, operations of a brick factory in Bagdad, tarring roads, and building Glessner home as well as other mission buildings. Footage annotated by Mrs. Glessner and daughter, Lois, in 1983.
Supplementary materials: 3,4
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.


Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee
Custodial History
Previously titled "Reverend J.C. Glessner's Footage of Iraq ca. 1928-1957"
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from Lois Kratz in 1981.
Processing Information
Titles are supplied by the archivist for untitled films.

Digital Content

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Preferred Citation
J.C. Glessner films of Iraq, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution

More Information

Local Number

Local Number
HSFA 1981.3.1


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Middle East Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Iraq Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
silent films Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Human Studies Film Archives
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