The Museum of Education's
John Dewey Home Movies

presented by the Museum of Education
with recognition from The Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University;
copyright restrictions apply


The John Dewey Home Movies, owned and archived at the Special Collections Research Center of Morris Library, Southern Illinois University, are actually a longer collage of clips, dating back to 1916 where there is footage of Dewey, children, and his first wife, Alice, making a snowman, to 1939 Miami Beach footage, which is what appears in this production along with other film clips. Presented at national education conferences and the 2006 Orphan Film Symposium, the Museum's production has inspired two articles and one book.

Dewey biographers have noted that the time between 1927 and 1940 was a wonderful period when he was “most just himself” following the death of his first wife and the emotional aftermath of a torrid love affair with a Polish countess. “He basked anew in the attention and affection of women.” Still the center of controversy, we see him here on separate holidays. In this clip, he is nearing 80 and accompanied by Roberta who just a few years before, during their  love frenzy, he writes to this thirty–two-year-old woman, saying, “Oh, to be seventy again.” This footage was taken just before she married, by proxy, another man—a young engineer who then died 16 months later. Seven years after the Miami Beach footage, she marries Dewey, and he lived for another six years during which time the possessive, controversial Roberta alters his relationships with friends and family. But here, in 1939, there is lovely film footage of the happy and bashful Dewey.


video footage from the Museum of Education film collection:
included in the professional papers of Harold Taylor

with music prepared and performed by Dennis James

with a grant made possible by

The Daniel Tanner Foundation














an institutional member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience