Anne Makepeace Production Materials of Edward S. Curtis Documentary


Descriptive Summary

Title: Anne Makepeace Production Materials of Edward S. Curtis Documentary
Dates: 1882-2000
Collection Number: MS.9
Creator/Collector: Makepeace, Anne Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952
Extent: 15 linear feet of documents, 234 videocassettes (32 boxes)
Repository: Autry National Center
Abstract: The collection contains materials used in the making of the documentary film Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians by Anne Makepeace.
Language of Material: English


Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit or contact library staff at The library does not have the equipment to play the Betacam SP videocassettes in the collection.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

Anne Makepeace Production Materials of Edward S. Curtis Documentary. Autry National Center

Acquisition Information

Deposited to the Braun Research Library, circa 2003.

Biography/Administrative History

Anne Makepeace is a writer, producer, and director of feature and documentary films. Her films have won numerous awards and been aired on networks around the world. She is the writer, director, and producer of "Coming to Light, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians," a biographical documentary film about Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952). In 1990, Makepeace began research on what would become a decade-long project to produce a film about Curtis. During the pre-production phase of the Curtis film, Makepeace wrote, directed and produced her first documentary, "Baby, It's You." Through this experience, she developed an intense interest in documentary filmmaking. Thus, when budget cuts at the National Endowment for the Humanities would no longer provide funding for dramatic productions, Makepeace reconceived the Curtis feature film as a historical documentary. Makepeace and her production team spent years conducting extensive research of primary sources and published materials in dozens of libraries, archives, museums, and private collections. Filming and post-production took place in 1998-2000, during which time Makepeace and her crew traveled throughout the United States and Canada to interview indigenous peoples and Curtis scholars. Makepeace was born in Middlebury, Connecticut. She studied at Stanford University, earning a B.A. in English (1969) and an M.A. in education (1971). She was an educator and, through her use of film and video in the classroom, developed an interest in filmmaking. She returned to Stanford to study documentary film, completing her M.A. in film studies in 1982. Her thesis film, Moonchild (1985), was sold to HBO, Bravo, PBS, and other networks around the world. Makepeace's other films include Whistle in the Wind (1987); Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991); Night Driving (1993); Ishi the Last Yahi (1995); Baby, It's You (1998); Coming to Light, Edward S. Curtis and The North American Indians (2000); Robert Capa in Love and War (2003); Eleanor Roosevelt, Close to Home (2005); and Rain in a Dry Land (2006). Her films have been screened at festivals and museums around the world. She has been the recipient of many awards for her films, including an Emmy for "Robert Capa in Love and War." Makepeace has been funded by the Pulitzer Foundation, Sundance Documentary Fund, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Showtime Networks, HBO, PBS, A&E, and the American Film Institute. Makepeace has been a two-time writer/director fellow at the Sundance Institute and served on the Sundance 2001 Film Festival's documentary jury. In addition, she has been a resident of the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the Blue Mountain Center.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection contains materials used in the making of the documentary film Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians by Anne Makepeace. The collection contains the documentary’s production materials, such as filming directions, footage shot for the film, and archival footage from other sources. The majority of the collection consists of research materials relating to Edward S. Curtis, his family, and acquaintances; his documentary and photographic work, particularly The North American Indian; and the Indian peoples he encountered. These materials include correspondence, articles, published works, manuscripts, photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera. The materials in the collection are photocopies, videocassettes, typescripts, and handwritten notes. Although the content of the materials span the years 1882-2000, almost all items prior to 1990 are photocopies.

Indexing Terms

Indians of North America -- Portraits
Indians of North America -- Rites and ceremonies
Indians in motion pictures
Indians in documentary films
Documentary films
Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952
Coming to light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian In the land of the headhunters North American Indian

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