Tuesday, December 28, 2010


A film about sign language is taking it's place among a select group of 25 to be preserved by The Library of Congress as part of the National Film Registry. Among the 25 films are The Exorcist, Airplane and a two minute film from 1913 called Preservation. It features George Veditz, president of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) demonstrating in sign language the importance of defending the right of deaf people to sign as opposed to verbalizing their communication. This was one of the first motion-picture recordings of American Sign Language. Veditz made this film specifically to record sign language for posterity at a time when oralists were making inroads in the education of the deaf. You can see the film here.

The Library of Congress selects just 25 films each year for preservation because nearly half of the films made before 1950 and some 90% of those made before 1920 have been lost.