The Making of an American

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The Making of an American was a film made in 1920 to be used as an educational tool in the governmental Americanization initiatives to assimilate immigrants into mainstream culture, especially by encouraging them to learn the English language. It was produced for the State of Connecticut Department of Americanization by the Worcester Film Corp., a company founded in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The film was rediscovered and preserved by Northeast Historic Film (NHF) [1] a regional moving image archive in New England. It is a concisely executed short drama about an Italian immigrant who arrives in America unable to speak English and, following disappointments and misfortunes, takes language classes and ascends the ladder of success.

Vintage Connecticut government reports on the making of the film and its dissemination, indicate that the film was shown to more than 112,500 people the year it was made, and that copies were sold to other states interested in Americanization programs. The film was targeted to industrial workers and contains location filming at the Hartford Rubber Works Company.

The film was lost until 1999 when Alan Kattelle [2] donated a film copy among a collection of other reels to Northeast Historic Film. The Kattelle print was on 28mm film stock, an extremely rare format that was primarily used for educational film distribution from 1913 to 1923.

In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

An earlier film, The Making of an American Citizen, made by Alice Guy-Blaché in 1912, shows a Russian immigrant learning the proper treatment of women.

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