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Historic Ithaca is proud to be a part of Lit. Women, a part of Silent Movie Month with the Wharton Studio Museum

Sep 27th, 2022

Finger Lakes Film Trail Presents “Lit. Women of Silent Film”  Events October 14-16 during Silent Movie Month in Ithaca 

ITHACA, NY September 26, 2022 (ITHACA, NY): The Finger Lakes Film Trail, in partnership with  Wharton Studio Museum and Historic Ithaca, proudly announces “Lit. Women of Silent Film,” a  new event series taking place from October 14-16, 2022. October is Silent Movie Month in  Ithaca since 2012. 


“Lit. Women of Silent Film” examines the critical creative roles three Ithaca women authors  played in the early film industry through discussions, guided walking tours, a screening of Tess  of the Storm Country (1922) starring Mary Pickford, and two self-guided headphone walking  plays produced by the Cherry Arts and Wharton Studio Museum (WSM). 


The “Lit Women of Silent Film” weekend continues Wharton Studio Museum and Historic  Ithaca’s (HI) ongoing collaboration in honoring the sites associated with Ithaca’s moviemaking  and moviegoing past. This past spring WSM and HI produced “Biggest Little Movie City: Ithaca’s  Theaters Then and Now,” a multimedia exhibit about Ithaca’s early 20th-century movie palaces,  along with a related guided walking tour. This guided walking tour is being reprised as one of  the “Lit. Women of Silent Film” events. 


Diana Riesman, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Wharton Studio Museum in Ithaca,  said, “We’re thrilled to continue our exploration of Ithaca’s contribution to the early movie  industry during October’s Silent Movie Month. This year we’ve planned the “Lit. Women of  Silent Film” weekend around the work of three Ithaca women authors whose writing got  translated to the silver screen. Film buffs and film scholars have been rediscovering how central  women’s creative work was to the early film industry. The “Lit. Women” weekend is part of that  dialogue of rediscovery. I think cinephiles and book lovers in particular are going to enjoy  learning about how big of an impact these authors had on popular culture at the time through  their writing and films.” 


“It’s a natural fit for Historic Ithaca to be a partner in presenting the “Lit. Women of Silent Film”  weekend," says Historic Ithaca's Executive Director Susan Holland. "Historic Ithaca helped save  Ithaca’s historic State Theatre from the wrecking ball, and the theater is Ithaca’s only remaining  movie palace still open as an entertainment venue. The downtown theater tours we give, and  our co-production with Wharton Studio Museum of the “Biggest Little Movie City” exhibit this  past spring at the Tompkins Center for History and Culture, give people a chance to connect  with historic preservation in a fun and meaningful way. Programs such as “Lit. Women of Silent  Film” key directly into Historic Ithaca’s mission to keep that history alive as a vital part of  Ithaca’s identity as a cultural destination and a home for creatives.” 



For details visit: 


Lit. Launch Party (FREE) 

Friday, October 14, 2022, 6:00-7:30PM 

Odyssey Bookstore 

115 West Green Street, Lower Level, Ithaca, NY 

An opening reception introduces the “Lit. Women of Silent Film” weekend and its focus on three Ithaca  women writers—Grace Miller White, Maude Radford Warren, and Ruth Sawyer—whose literary works  inspired silent films during the early days of the film industry. The informal meet-and-greet format  encourages conversations about the critical role women played in the early movie business, not only as  writers, but as directors and producers, and of course as serial queen stars and movie ticket buyers. 


Downtown Ithaca Historic Theater Tour (Tickets $12) 

Saturday, October 15, 2022, 10:30-11:30AM 

Guided tour starts at “The Biggest Little Movie City” panel at Harold Square on the Ithaca Commons In the mid-1910s, Ithaca could well have been called the Biggest Little Movie City. The Wharton, Inc.  Studios cranked out silent serial moving pictures at Renwick Park (now Stewart Park). An avid movie 

going public made weekly visits to The Star, Lyceum, and other “movie palaces” to follow the serial  exploits of their marquee idols. Explore some of these sites—a few still extant and others captured only  by photographs and memories—on a guided downtown tour with historic preservationists to recapture  the heyday of Ithaca’s movie-palace era. 


“From Novel to Screen: Ithaca’s Literary Women of Silent Film” Presentations and Q&A (FREE) Saturday, October 15, 2022, 2:00-3:30PM 

Marcham Hall, 836 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca, NY 

In the early days of the film industry, independent studios cranked out hundreds of silent films every  year to an avid moviegoing public. Many of these films were made to appeal to women, and the work of  women writers was a natural source of film screenplays. Join film scholar Barbara Tepa Lupack,  playwright Aoise Stratford, and local historian Patricia Longoria for a discussion of the extraordinary lives  of three Ithaca women writers—Grace Miller White, Maude Radford Warren, and Ruth Sawyer—whose  books were adapted into silent films at a time when the political and social roles of women were  undergoing dramatic changes. 


Mary Pickford’s Tess of the Storm (1922) Film Screening (Tickets $8-11) 

Saturday, October 15, 2022, 7pm 

Cinemapolis, 120 East Green Street, Ithaca, NY 

One of the most popular actresses of the silent film era, Mary Pickford secured powerful roles in early  Hollywood as a producer and co-founder of United Artists. Pickford starred in two versions of the  popular Tess of the Storm Country, adapted from the novel by Ithaca author Grace Miller White. View  Pickford’s 1922 version, which, although not filmed in Ithaca, dramatizes the lives of people who lived in 

the city’s “Rhine” neighborhood centered on the Inlet and inspired by Grace Miller White’s childhood  growing up on a cottage on the west shore of Cayuga Lake. 


Self-guided Walk This Play Tours ($5 suggested donation per download) 

Ithaca’s West End and Stewart Park, Ithaca, NY 

Download a self-guided headphone walking play tour and follow the path of Ithaca’s movie-making era.  Produced by The Cherry Arts and Wharton Studio Museum, “Storm Country” (2016) and “The Missing  Chapter” (2018) headphone walking plays allow you to listen to the audio on your own schedule. “Storm  Country” is an experiential, dramatic retelling of the life and work of Grace Miller White. “The Missing  Chapter,” adapted from the Wharton Studio’s popular 1916 serial Beatrice Fairfax, leads playgoers on an  adventure through Stewart Park, where Wharton, Inc. Studio was located. 


About the Finger Lakes Film Trail 

In 2018, with support from Humanities New York, WSM helped launch the Finger Lakes Film Trail,  an inter-county collaboration of three important film sites in central New York: the George Eastman  Museum in Rochester, Wharton Studio Museum in Ithaca, and the Case Research Laboratory and  Cayuga Museum of History and Art in Auburn. The Trail highlights the singular accomplishments of New  York’s film pioneers George Eastman, Theodore and Leopold Wharton, and Theodore Case. For more  information visit 


About Wharton Studio Museum in Ithaca 

The Wharton Studio Museum’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the role Ithaca and the region  played in the history of American filmmaking. Annually WSM produces Silent Movie Under the Stars;  Silent Movie Month; a film festival for youth called Quiet on the Set!, and collaborates on screenings,  exhibits, presentations, workshops and educational outreach. Also central to WSM's mission is  developing a section of the historic Wharton Studio building located along the Cayuga Waterfront Trail  in Stewart Park into the Wharton Studio Park Center, featuring exhibit space, a cafe and lakefront  terraces. 

WSM is a member of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) and a founding partner in the  Tompkins Center for History and Culture (TCHC), where WSM has its first permanent exhibit. 

Find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: @whartonstudiomuseum; on Twitter @wsm_silentfilm;  and tumblr as cinephiles-ithaca 


About Historic Ithaca 

Historic Ithaca’s mission as a nonprofit preservation organization is to promote and preserve the built  environment through education, advocacy and action. Since 1966, Historic Ithaca has engaged Tompkins  County communities in valuing buildings, landscapes and historic sites through tours, lectures,  educational programs, workshops and the delivery of preservation services. Advocacy and action are at  the forefront of efforts to celebrate, sustain and maintain the historic and yet-to-be historic resources  for future generations. Historic Ithaca’s longstanding retail store, Significant Elements, is firmly  committed to environmental sustainability and preservation of our collective cultural heritage. The 

store’s inventory includes architectural salvage, antiques and vintage décor donated by community  members, contractors, businesses and institutions. Sales support the programs of Historic Ithaca and  Significant Elements. Historic Ithaca’s Work Preserve, a job readiness and placement program, began in  2010 and offers participants the opportunity to build transferable job skills and gain financial  independence. 

For more information, visit

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube: @historicithaca 


Support for “Lit. Women of Silent Film” 

Finger Lakes Film Trail’s “Lit. Women of Silent Film” weekend is produced by Wharton Studio Museum  and Historic Ithaca. 

Presenting Sponsor is Odyssey Bookstore. Ports of New York is a Collaborating Sponsor. 

Wharton Studio Museum’s Silent Movie Month is made possible by its Presenting Sponsor Bousquet  Holstein, PLLC, and by Collaborating Sponsor Travis Hyde Properties. 


The programs of Historic Ithaca are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the  support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 



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