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“The Preservation of Sign Language”: Film Registry #22

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Diversity is an important part of the National Film Registry.  It is not just a list of great blockbusters.  Along with a diversity of races and genders and viewpoints represented on the list, so are films that, though never shown on a big screen, are nevertheless important in the history of film, and the history of the USA.

This film is one of them.  Christopher Shea says of it:

“[The film] ‘Preservation of the Sign Language’ (1913) features a 15-minute speech in American Sign Language by deaf activist and educator George W. Veditz (1861-1937). As simple as this film is, however, it is a landmark document in deaf culture. It was made at a critical time in deaf history, and the content of Veditz’s speech strikes directly at the heart of an issue that has cast a long shadow over the deaf community for centuries.”

Read the rest of this essay on “Preservation of Sign Language” (PDF).

To watch the film in full, click the link below; you will be redirected to the LC’s National Screening Room.

“Preservation of Sign Language”


Title:  “The Preservation of Sign Language”

Year of Release:  1913

Year Added to the National Film Registry:  2010  (See all films added to the Registry in 2010.)

This blog post is the 22nd of 30 in our “30 Years of the National Film Registry” series which was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Registry.  The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.  The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced on December 12, 2018.


  1. They should at least provide some captions I’m only here because of a project.

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