The Keene State College Film Archives discovered “Their First Misunderstanding,” a 10-minute film from 1911 starring Mary Pickford, among the seven reels of 35-mm film donated the college’s film society. The film is believed to be the only copy in existence.
The AP reports carpenter Peter Massie donated the vintage reels in 2006, when he was tearing down a barn on a piece of land that used to be a summer camp for boys.
The Library of Congress is funding a project to restore the film and Keene State will screen it Oct. 11 on the Keene, N.H., campus.
In the early days of film, actors were not mentioned in the credits, but audiences noticed Mary Pickford, “the girl with the curls.” She became one of Hollywood’s first celebrities, was a co-founder of United Artists and one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “Their First Misunderstanding,” was the first film Pickford wrote and the first for which she was mentioned in the credits.
If you haven’t seen one of Pickford’s silent films, watch this excerpt from “Tender Hearts,” which was released in July 1909: