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The Cockerell Nature Films

An introduction and guide to the digitized Cockerell nature films from the CU Boulder Libraries Archives.

About this Guide

This guide highlights the film collection in the T.D.A. Cockerell Papers. This collection includes over 60 reels of early film that all date between 1920 and 1950. The films center on scientific topics, as both T.D.A. and Wilmatte Cockerell were biologists. The Cockerell's themselves did not shoot the footage but often commissioned films. They also collected them from other publishers to use in education and outreach. This page will orient you to the Cockerells and the content of the film collection, as well as link you to all of the digitized films. Use the tabs above to delve deeper into certain topics in the collection.

About the Cockerells

T.D.A. and Wilmatte Cockerell lived in Boulder from 1906 through the 1930s. T.D.A. taught zoology at CU Boulder and Wilmatte taught biology at Boulder's State Preparatory High School. They traveled extensively around the world as entomologists, collecting and describing insects. They were also engaged is a variety of outreach activities using film, including employing film in conservation. As teachers, they were early advocates of using film for educational purposes and in the classroom.

Digitized Films

Below is a list of all the digitized films from the collection, organized roughly by topic. You can further explore these topics by using the tabs at the top to learn more about individual films, highlights, and the film processes exhibited in this collection. The Cockerells were, first and foremost, biologists, but other films in the collection highlight local mountaineering, scenes around Boulder, anthropological topics, and other miscellaneous films that are difficult to classify.

Colorado Films

Colorado Mountaineering
Mountain Climbing in the Front Range (1939-1941)
Mountain Climbing: Longs Peak via Cable Route (1938-1939)
Colorado Mountaineering: Indian Peaks and Longs Peak (1938-1942)
In the Front Range of the Rockies (1939-1941)
Around Boulder
Antoinette Bigelow in Gold Hill and Boulder (1930-1939)
New Garden Picture, Mr. Fine's (1935-1940)
Mountain Climbing in the Front Range (1939-1941) [the first 2 minutes show the CU Boulder campus]








Zoological Films
General Wildlife
Austrialian Wildlife (1932)
Roadrunner Battles Rattlesnake (1944)
Wild Life on the Deserts of America's Great Southwest (1934)
The Nature School Visits Santa Cruz Island (1930-1935)
Colorado Prairie Wildlife, reel 2 (1935)
Guests of the Flowers (c. 1930) [Colorado Bees]
Some Water Insects: A Silent Teaching Film (1945)
Our Common Enemy (1921) [Flies]
Leafcutter Ants (1940-1948)








Stanford Bird Reel IV (1933-1934)
Birds of Prey: A Silent Teaching Film (1931)
The Costa Hummingbird in the Colorado Desert (1945-1946)
Snowy Egrets of Avery Island Louisiana (1951)
The Hummingbird (1940-1941)
Chipmunks, Grey Squirrels, and Pollinators (1930-1940)
Young Gorillas (1930-1940)








Botanical Films
From Flower to Fruit: A Silent Teaching Film (1933)
New Garden Picture, Mr. Fine's (1935-1940)
The Nature School Visits Santa Cruz Island (1930-1935)
Blossoming Flowers (1945-1950) [time lapse]
Tulip (1920-1930)
Old Roses and New Roses (1930-1940)
Yellow Spiderflower and Pollen under the Microscope (1933)
Andrew's Nursery Short Film (1935-1937)
The Smoke Tree (1930-1940)







Anthropological Films
Travel Films
The Belgian Congo (1931)
Kaiteur Falls and the Amazon (1926)
"Indigenous" Conservation
Pilgrims of the Wild, Reel 1 (1935)
Pilgrims of the Wild, Reel 2 (1935)





Miscellaneous Films
Paricutin Volcano (1944-1945) [Mexico]
Eruption of Mauna Loa Volcano (c. 1940) [Hawaii]
Sulphur Mining (1939)
Unidentified People and Animals (1930-1939)
Unidentified Wool Spinning (1930-1948)



Rare and Distinctive Collections


Classroom: Norlin N345

Reading Room: Norlin M350B