Wednesday’s Brown Bag Lecture Examines Emma Lytle’s Movies

Ashley Smith, a PhD candidate in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University presents a Brown Bag Lecture at noon Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Smith will screen part of “Raisin’ Cotton,” filmed in 1941 by Emma Knowlton Lytle on her family’s plantation in Perthshire, as well as other home movies from Lytle’s collection.

Smith spent a week this past January at the Capps Archives at Delta State University looking at the Gibert-Knowlton-Lytle collection. Emma Lytle donated her paper archives there when she died, and much of the contextual information pertained to her home movies.

“Especially interesting for me was correspondence with Karen Glynn from Ole Miss about the donation of her films to what was in the early stages of becoming the Southern Media Archive,” Smith said. “I found some notes about local screenings in the Delta of ‘Raisin’ Cotton’ circa 1994. Right now I’m trying to get information on other screenings of the film that were shown in Mississippi in the mid-90s.”

Part of Smith’s interest is the reactions to the film in order to compare this kind of screening to the documentaries that reuse parts of the Lytle Collection in other ways.

“I think this exhibition element is an interesting way to conclude my dissertation project,” Smith said.

Given that the last public screenings of “Raisin’ Cotton” were over 20 years ago, Smith said it seems as though it is interesting to show it publicly now. Emma Lytle herself presented “Raisin’ Cotton” at the Brown Bag Lecture Series in 1994.


Posted in: Documentary, Film, Lectures