As my time at the archives slowly approaches two years, I learned details (car models, clothing, movies on the marquee of theaters, theme park attractions, etc.) help narrow down the date for footage that otherwise did carry labels or other indicators. Sometimes relying on these details proved beneficial, while others not so much. In the swan song for Barron Richter’s donated films in the Home Movie Collection, both of these became true.
After setting up the Home Movie Collection hard drive, I resumed watching one of the last Barron Richter film files. Apparently, Richter and a couple of his friends took a road trip to Sand Dunes Indiana State Park (as evidenced by the “Entering Sand Dunes Indiana State Park” sign). The friends engaged in beach hijinks like running up and down the dunes, tossing footballs across them, and spying on fellow beach patrons. Nothing unusual in particular. Attached to the footage, Richter made another amateur film with his friends. Unfortunately, the lack of sound did not help the film at all and results in losing the story behind the film.
The next batch of footage contained an overabundance of a baby filmed. At this point, I thought I discovered a mislabeled file that belonged to Nancy Richter’s files due to the black and white footage. The films mostly consisted of the baby doing “baby things” and the adults reacting to him. Thankfully, someone placed a sign for future audiences that confirmed the baby’s identity as Barron Richter at seven months old (his parents filmed him again a month later, too).
Though I knew not of where the Richter family lived, they continued to film Barron’s second Christmas experience and possibly one a couple of years later. The toddler inquisitively interacted with Christmas decorations, but not mischievous. As more footage rolled in, Barron’s age increased and family filmed more events of the extended Richter family. Apparently, one of them joined either his school’s Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) or he actually joined the United States Naval Academy!
The only clue towards the identity of the institution this individual belonged involved a cannon. The shiny brass cannon itself did not hold a special significance other than sitting near a flagpole. Instead, the plaque in front of it yielded pertinent information.
The plaque informed readers that they stood in Camp Bronson, named after Navy Lieutenant Clarence King Bronson (July 21, 1888 – November 8, 1916). Lieutenant Bronson tragically died in a premature bomb explosion during flight at Naval Proving Grounds in Indian Head, Maryland. I tried to find where Camp Bronson was located but to no avail.
A similar situation happened a later portion of the film file. The videographer became fixated on a Jeep at one point. Since so much footage fixated on the vehicle, I decided to find out its identity. Eventually, I found a perfect match in the Willys-Overland Jeepster, a vehicle manufactured from 1948 to 1950. While it does not put an exact year for the film, it does narrow down the years.
Fotunately, I managed to finish the Richter footage before the end of my shift. I packed the hard drive away and returned back to the stacks. Afterward, I bid everyone farewell and left for the day.
In review, I finished reviewing all of Barron Richter donated films. Tomorrow, the archival staff prepares a farewell party for Kryslynn Collazo as she transfers to another department on campus. She will be missed. Until then, enjoy the evening and stay safe! Bye!