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329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

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Bill Stamets Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2005-08
Extent of collection
329 reels of Super 8mm film totaling approximately 81,896 feet; 29 reels of 8mm film totaling 2,560 feet; 9 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 8,101 feet; 2 reels of 35mm film totaling 445 feet; 9 U-matic videocassettes; 3 VHS; 2 boxes of paper ephemera
Inclusive Dates
1947 - 2000
Bulk Dates
1976 - 1996
The films in this collection were made and collected by Chicago area film critic and filmmaker Bill Stamets. The bulk of the collection consists of Super 8 films and outtakes shot by Stamets in the 1970s and 1980s. They depict political events primarily in the city of Chicago, including former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's two election campaigns, inaugurations, and time in office; numerous street protests and marches; and cultural festivals around the city.
The Bill Stamets Collection consists primarily of Super 8 footage shot by Stamets of life in Chicago in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. Many of the films depict political figures of the time such as former Chicago mayors Richard J. Daley and Harold Washington, including the latter's two election campaigns, inaugurations, and time in office. Also shown are numerous street protests, marches, and cultural festivals like Bluesfest and Taste of Chicago. Much of the material appears to be compiled outtakes. 

Also in the collection are nine 16mm prints of experimental films collected by Stamets. The prints are former distribution prints and as such reflect the wear and tear from public screenings. The films contain works by two artists: Tom Palazzolo and Stan Brakhage. The works by Palazzolo are Hey Girls, Jerry's, and Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think). The Brakhage films are Window Water Baby Moving, Deus Ex, and the four-part Scenes from Under Childhood.
Stamets, Bill (was created by)
Bill Stamets (b. 1953) is a Chicago-area freelance writer, photographer, and small gauge filmmaker. He has written (and continues to write) for the Chicago Reader and Chicago Sun-Times, and wrote the chapter on film in Art in Chicago: 1945-1995. He has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, University of Chicago, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Films by Stamets include Novo Dextro: Purity and Danger, Chicago Politics: A Theater of Power, Harold is Gone, and Iowa and Its Presidents.
Custodial History
The nine 16mm films were collected by Bill Stamets from a variety of sources including from experimental film distributors. Stamets' own films were kept at his home until he donated them to CFA in 2014. Stamets donated his father's 8mm home movies in 2023.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives.
Use Restrictions
CFA holds a one-half joint tenancy interest with the filmmaker in the copyright of the materials.
Stamets, Bill
150th 1989
1976 St. Patrick's
1983 Campaign
1983 Known Faces Campaign
1984 Bluesfest