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Lost in Light is a videoblog about small gauge filmmaking featuring weekly posts of home movies, work by artists, articles by preservationists and film scholars, video tutorials and other film gems.




Chicago Wedding, 1948

click image to view in Flash | Quicktime | MPEG-2

Here in West Michigan, my student, Evan, brought me a box of wonderful footage of his family’s home movies, a number of which we’ll be featuring here. The first is the wedding of grandparents in the late 1940s, and includes images of Evan’s great-grandparents – one of those amazing events to have preserved on film.

Evan explains:

It’s the wedding of Ken and Jan Rattenbury (maiden name – Baxter)
The date is actually Sept. 18th, 1948 at St. Benedict’s in Chicago.
Behind the camera is Gardner Kreiser, the bride’s 2nd cousin.

Evan also shared the emails his grandparents sent with more details about the wedding (I love emails from grandparents):

Dear Evan, The pictures are Mine and your Grandmother’s Wedding on Sept 18, 1948. The pictures were made by Jan’s Uncle Gardner. The pictures are mostly the family. The two old ladies are your great-grandmothers. The lady with the pink flowered hat is my mother (Alice Rattenbury), and the car was our good friend Eddie Roger’s who took us away. Hope that is enough. Love grampa

Hi Evan: It’s your gramma. I just saw the movies and they are super. Haven’t watched any of them since your folks first sent the VCR’s. Terri Spies was my maid of honor, Uncle Bruce (Rattenbury) was Best Man (lady in red and the guy next to her in the second shot of her), my grandmother and Grampa’s grandmother were the oldest people in the movie. So many of our friends and relatives are gone!!! My dad (John Baxter) was the one with the sexy mustache, The church was St. Benedict’s down on the corner where we lived in Chicago.

Click the “MPEG-2” link above for a high-resolution version of this film, provided by the Internet Archive.


Comment from Matt G
Time: April 8, 2008, -5

This is amazing to see – I just got back from mass at the church a few moments ago and it looks pretty much the same as it did then.

It’s made even more interesting because I was married there just over 6 months ago – change around the clothes and the cars and not much has changed at St. Ben’s in nearly 60 years

Comment from Robert Croma
Time: April 16, 2008, -5

Superb Forties detail. And hyper-real in colour.

Incredible and profound that Ken and Jan Rattenbury are able to relive these scenes all these years later – and so many of their friends and family members no longer alive.

Beautifully shot and fantastically preserved.