EDHS News and Updates

Second Discovery of Eastland Disaster Archived Film Located by NIU Graduate

Chicago, Illinois – A second local college graduate has located more digitized video from the Eastland Disaster. This new discovery comes on the heels of the February 5th discovery of the first known archived film footage of the tragedy.

Alex Revzan, who recently completed his Masters in History at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois, discovered the new series of digitized film while searching the British Pathé film archive site that he had used while completing his studies at NIU. The archived videos were not indexed, and thus, Alex was not able to search the site using disaster-specific keywords. Instead, he diligently spent more than 90 minutes foraging through hundreds of video clips until he found what clearly appeared to be additional footage from the Eastland Disaster.

Alex promptly contacted EDHS to share and validate his discovery. When Ted Wachholz, Executive Director and Chief Historian of EDHS viewed the clip, he quickly confirmed that the video was, in fact, from the Eastland Disaster. In the background of the last few seconds of the video is the ship "Petoskey," which officially validated the video. The Petoskey was one of the five ships chartered for that fateful morning, docked directly west of the Eastland. Crew members from the Petoskey aided in the rescue efforts.

Ted added: “The video discovered by Mr. Alex Revzan significantly adds to the historical record of what Chicago and the nation know about the history of the Eastland Disaster. This second discovery of digitized film from the Eastland Disaster stretches our imagination further than ever before. The scenes in the video are chilling and heart-breaking. They jar your emotions much more than the videos viewed earlier this month. May the souls in the video, and all 844 who were lost that day in 1915, be at peace.”

IMPORTANT NOTE FROM EDHS: The new video is very different than that of the first video found earlier this month. The new video depicts the tragic scenes faced nearly 100 years ago by Chicago’s first responders. Specifically, it includes the recovery of several victims from the overturned hull of the Eastland and from the Chicago River. These are real scenes from the tragedy, taken from a very close vantage point. The content may be startling to some viewers, so please use discretion.

You may view the film footage HERE.

Video courtesy British Pathé.

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