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Chapman (John) papers
Mss 322  
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Collection Details
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  • Access Restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Title: John Chapman papers
    Identifier/Call Number: Mss 322
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 17.83 linear feet (3 half-size document boxes, plus 62 films and 17 videocassettes)
    Creator: Chapman, John, 1946-1983
    Date (inclusive): 1970-1989
    Abstract: The John Chapman papers comprises a mix of materials pertaining to independent filmmaker John Chapman (1946-1983). Materials include film footage, photographs and slides taken on location in Central America, dating from roughly 1978 to 1983.
    Physical Location: Special Research Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Use Restrictions

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Chapman papers, Mss 322. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Betty Bottoms, April 2016.

    Biographical Note

    John Chapman was born in Santa Monica, California in 1946 to a working class family. After graduating high school, he enrolled in Santa Barbara City College, majoring in education and becoming involved in various local non-profit organizations. He eventually became a full time teacher at Santa Barbara Jr. High, and taught demonstration classes at University of California at Santa Cruz. Adept at organization of anti-war movements, Chapman travelled to Central America, which informed his later independent film career documenting social strife and civil wars. Before his focus on film as a career, Chapman worked in numerous environmental causes and served as the Executive Director of the Energy Reform Group, which raised funds for a conference on Energy for the City of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Adult Education. He also assisted in production of the film Apocalypse Now, working as an extra, double, assistant casting director, and assistant director on second unit and post production. Chapman collaborated with Joan Baez and PBS to produce "There But For Fortune: Joan Baez in Latin America," and became a director of photography for Pan American Films and CBS News.

    Scope and Content

    The John Chapman collection is comprised of a mix of materials pertaining to the life, career, and travels of independent filmmaker John Chapman. These materials include film footage, press releases, articles, photographs and slides taken on location in Central America. These materials date from roughly 1978 until 1983 after Chapman's death, and offer insight into the process and inspiration of an independent filmmaker.
    Slides and moving pictures include scenes from a revolutionary period of Nicaragua in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The subjects of the slides are of military conflict, outreach to local children, and everyday life. Files include magazine articles, interviews, memorial tributes, passport, promotional flyers, requiems, resume, film proposals, and correspondence with film studios. The films in the collection was mostly shot on 16mm, and includes footage used for Chapman's work documenting political unrest in Central America.


    The collection has been divided into two series: Series 1. Work/Biographical Files, and Series 2. Audiovisual. Work/Biographical Files contain graphic as well as textual material. Audiovisual consists primarily of 16mm film, as well as a smaller number of videocassettes.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Independent filmmakers
    Independent film -- Production and direction
    Color photographs
    Color slides
    Film reels
    Printed ephemera
    Chapman, John, 1946-1983 -- Archives