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San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Photographs by the Miles Brothers, 1906
BANC PIC 19xx.181--PIC  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Organization History
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Photographs by the Miles Brothers
    Date: 1906
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 19xx.181--PIC
    Creator: Miles Brothers
    Extent: 43 glass plate negatives 35 digital objects
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English

    Information for Researchers


    Original glass plate negatives restricted. Use viewing prints with call no. BANC PIC 19xx.181--PIC.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner 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.
    Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Photographs by the Miles Brothers, 1906, BANC PIC 19xx.181--PIC, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Digital Representations Available

    Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information


    Organization History

    The Miles brothers (Harry, Herbert, and Earl C.) were film exhibitors who established the first motion picture exchange in the United States in San Francisco in 1902. Prior to this they and other exhibitors had to purchase movies directly from the makers. Brother Harry came up with the idea of renting films to exhibitors, an idea that forever changed the growing industry.
    Under the Miles Brothers Motion Picture Company, the brothers produced "actualities," filmed records of local views and current events. They were also active in foreign film distribution and the development of early storefront theaters (nickelodeons). In 1906, they constructed an elaborate studio in San Francisco with the intention of making narrative films. Had the earthquake and fire not destroyed their facility (before a single film was produced), they might have become major producers. They continued to make actualities through 1907, establishing a reputation for filming important boxing matches. The exchange was still in business as of 1915 on Mission Street in San Francisco, as noted in “Miles Brothers, Pioneers” ( The Moving Picture World, July 10, 1915, p. 248).
    Souces: Bell, Geoffrey. The Golden Gate and the Silver Screen. Rutherford, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1984. p. 100-104. Musser, Charles. The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907. New York, Charles Scribner's, 1990. p. 484.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of 43 glass plate negatives from which copy prints have been made. The photographs are primarily of street scenes and buildings damaged or destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire. Also included are two shots of the Miles brothers, two of boxer Jim Jeffries, and a few unidentified photos. Most of the photographs bear the company's name and a photograph number. The original glass plates are not available for use.
    Sources: Bell, Geoffrey. The Golden Gate and the Silver Screen. Rutherford, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1984. p. 100-104
    Musser, Charles. The Emergence of Cinema: the American Screen to 1907 . New York, Charles Scribner's, 1990. p. 484