George C. Stoney (1916- ), a documentary filmmaker who specialized in socially relevant films, was a mentor and teacher to generations of filmmakers and media activists worldwide and a pioneer in the movement for the creation and use of public access television to enact social change. The collection consists of papers chiefly relating to George C. Stoney’s professional work as a documentary filmmaker, teacher, and early advocate of public access television.
Correspondence, 1944-1993 (bulk 1960-1990), is chiefly work-related in content, though many of Stoney’s correspondents were long-time friends and colleagues and wrote personally as well. Letters, 1944-1945, from Stoney to his future wife, Mary Bruce (1926-2004), are chiefly personal in nature and include love letters, but also, to a lesser extent, describe Stoney’s experiences as a photo intelligence officer with the 8th United States Army Air Forces in England, France, Belgium, and Germany. Correspondence between Stoney and his long-time companion Betty Puleston (d. 2009), 1967-1968, also blend description of personal and working life. Subject files comprise the bulk of the collection and include materials relating to films Stoney wrote, directed, and/or produced for the Southern Educational Film Production Service and George C. Stoney Associates. Topics include sexually transmitted disease; outreach programs of the Methodist Church; cardiovascular healthcare; education; community mental health; race relations in the South; police training; old age and retirement; midwifery; urban redevelopment in New York, N.Y., Philadelphia, Pa., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Washington, D.C.; and other social issues.
Some of Stoney’s early work as a journalist and social researcher is also documented in essays, a report on race relations in Mississippi, and materials relating to his work for the Farm Security Administration. Subject files also document classes and workshops Stoney taught, especially at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and his involvement with the growth of public access and local cable television, the Challenge for Change project of the National Film Board of Canada, the Alternate Media Center, and the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers. Additionally, there are film treatments and research materials for prospective projects and printed and other material relating to the documentary film and cable television industries. Loose papers, 1980-1990s, consist of memobooks that likely relate to Stoney’s filmmaking, and clippings, reports, readings, conference advertisements, miscellaneous printed materials, handwritten notes, and writings by others that are not clearly connected to his film projects or cable and public access advocacy work. Photographs depict the documentary filmmaking process for several of Stoney’s films, public access projects and the Alternate Media Center, the work of Farm Security Administration photographers in the South in the early 1940s, and Stoney’s family life.
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