Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Quiz Rules
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

Before and After the Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco

Film still, San Francisco disaster, Am. Mutoscope Biograph Company, 1906, LoC

Part of the Library of Congress American Memory project, this site features 26 films of San Francisco, produced from 1897 to 1916, both before and after the Great Earthquake and fire. Seventeen of the films depict life in San Francisco before the 1906 disaster, including an arrest in Chinatown, a panoramic view of the city from a balloon, and various other scenes of buildings and special attractions in the city.

Seven films describe the earthquake and fire, and two films show a rebuilt city and give a tour of the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915. Each film includes a roughly 500-word descriptive summary of the contents of the film. The site also includes a 250-word descriptive essay on pre-earthquake San Francisco and an approximately 750-word essay on America at the turn of the 20th century. A selected bibliography notes 32 scholarly works on San Francisco's earthquake.

This site is keyword searchable and contains a subject index and an alphabetical list of film titles. For those exploring San Francisco's history, urban history, or natural disasters, this is a useful site.