Want to see what the world was like for your ancestors? Perhaps you wish to catch a glimpse of where they lived? Need videos for an archival documentary? You might even see a place you remember when you were younger if you look at a film on the Travel Film Archive.
The Travel Film Archive is a collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films - many of them in color - that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970. The online archive is owned and operated by Getty Images. You can search for historical video clips by keywords, by region, by subjects, and by year(s).
Everything on the Travel Film Archive is available free of charge if you view the videos on screen. The videos also may be purchased for use in your own projects. Getty Images will copy the original film(s) to DVD disks and mail them to you. Pricing is dependent upon the intended use and you must contact a representative for a price quote.
I was fascinated by a 1947 film of Shanghai, shortly before the communists took over. I spent a lot of time in Shanghai in the early 1980s. I was surprised at how little it had changed since the 1947 film. The waterfront looked the same and I recognized many places I remembered. However, the thousands of rickshaws all disappeared before I was there.
I then watched several more films, including one of Boston taken in the 1920s. The Swan Boats haven't changed since the 1920s nor have many of the homes on Beacon Hill. The skyscrapers of the Financial District were missing, however.
You might find similar films that will interest you if you start at http://www.travelfilmarchive.com