College Memories 1931

by Cassandra Sproles March 2, 2016

A recently rediscovered film provides a fascinating look at UT from early in the last century. College Memories 1931: A Portrait of Campus Life is an eleven-minute glimpse into life at UT by local Knoxville home movie enthusiast Robert Clements. It includes shots of the Carnicus Parade, a track meet, Aloha Oe, and the marching band. The film also captures a campus visit by the artist who designed the original Torchbearer statue, Theodore A. Beck, and shows his original model.

Clements, the filmmaker, began making movies in 1928. His early films, now lost, were shot in the obscure 9.5mm format. He graduated to the 16mm format while attending UT. A copy of College Memories 1931 is housed at the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, part of the Knox County Public Library.

Warning: Some viewers may find some of the imagery depicting racial and gender stereotypes prevalent during the era to be disturbing.

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4 comments

Jane Ann Bradley-Lane March 15, 2016 at 11:50 pm

I loved this! It’s the best thing E-Torch has ever shared.

Jane Ann Bradley – Lane
Class of 1975 & 1977

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Mike Bridges - Panama City, FL March 16, 2016 at 8:45 am

Wow, what a great video from the past! Would love to see more of these types of videos throughout all the years of UT. It’s amazing how much as changed yet at the same time how much of it is the same.

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Jenny Zeigler Bond March 17, 2016 at 10:36 am

Amazing to see things that are old to us, when they were new. Things have changed a bit and it is good to be reminded of how far we all have come.

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Shana Peete April 3, 2016 at 2:30 am

This was a gem. I love how it shows a peep into what life was like in ’31.

I think Jenny Zeigler hit it on the head. It also shows how far we have come. The dearth/exclusion of women and minorities in educational opportunities is evident. Also, the caricatures of people of color in the parade was a bit hard to watch. Luckily, my experience at UT in the 90’s and early 2000’s was quite different. Not perfect, but much, much improved. I hope UT continues to move in the right direction.

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