Tom Davenport collection,1973-1995

Creator: Davenport, Tom.
Collection Number: 20025
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Abstract: Tom Davenport is an independent filmmaker and film distributor living in Delaplane, Va. He began work in film with documentary filmmakers Richard Leacock and Don Pennebacker in New York and made his first independent film in 1969. In 1970, he returned to rural Virginia and started an independent film company with his wife Mimi Davenport as co-producer and designer. The collection includes materials documenting the making of Tom Davenport’s films It Ain’t City Music, about country music; Born for Hard Luck, about Arthur Jackson (also known as Peg Leg Sam), a harmonica player, singer, and comedian who performed in medicine shows; The Shakers, about the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community, New Gloucester, Me., and the Canterbury Shaker community, Canterbury, N.H.; Being a Joines: A Life in the Brushy Mountains, about the Joines family of North Carolina; A Singing Stream: A Black Family Chronicle, which documents the Landis Family of Creedmore, N.C., and other local gospel singing groups; the series From the Brothers Grimm, retellings of classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales set in Delaplane, Va.; The Ballad of Frankie Silver, which tells the story of Frances Silver, who was hanged for the murder of her husband Charles Silver; Remembering the High Lonesome, about John Cohen, a filmmaker and photographer, and his work in rural Kentucky in the 1950s; When My Work Is Over,which tells the story of African American storyteller Louise Anderson; and the recording of a concert performed by the New Lost City Ramblers string band in February of 2000. Included are grant applications, transcripts, field notes, correspondence, financial material, study guides, production related notes, and publicity related to each of these films. There are also audiotapes and audio cassettes that contain interviews and other sound used for these films; moving image materials used in the creating of these films; materials relating to other film projects directed by Tom Davenport; printed materials relating to Davenport; posters advertising Davenport’s films; and other items.

Repository: Southern Folklife Collection

Collection Highlights: Collection containing several hundred reels of audio tape and thousands of feet of moving image material, as well as correspondence, field notes, production logs, photographs, promotional material, and other documentation relating to films made by Tom Davenport. Several of Davenport’s films pertain to African-American subjects, notably Born For Hard Luck, which looks at the life and times of medicine show performer, songster, and blues man, “Peg Leg” Sam Jackson, and A Singing Stream, which examines the musical life and traditions of the Landis family and their gospel singing group, The Golden Echoes.