Crestview author Phillip Stewart won an award for a research guide on the National Archives and Records Administration’s film archives.
FILE PHOTO | News Bulletin
CRESTVIEW — In August, local author Phillip Stewart took time out of his busy research schedule to accept an award from the Society of American Archivists.
Now, Stewart’s “Battlefilm: U.S. Army Signal Corps Motion Pictures of the Great War” has added another medal to his honors. His book was selected as the 2012 Branson Stars and Flags Book Award Program’s gold medalist in the Technical Reference category.
The Reeds Spring, Md.-based awards recognize achievement in military-themed books in categories that also include autobiography, nonfiction anthologies, historical fiction, inspirational and children’s books.
“For the first time in book form, there is concise information about the surviving motion pictures that were taken during what was known then as the Great War, over 90 years ago,” award facilitator Nancy Smith stated in a press release. “This, the second edition of ‘Battlefilm,’ details 488 film titles that cover America’s part in this conflict. Each of the 993 reels of action is described using data gathered from actual Army records.”
The Stars and Flags Book Awards contest was established five years ago to promote books with a military connection.
“Many of the judges are veterans themselves, and others include historians, teachers and avid readers,” the release stated.
Stewart has published eight books that help the public find historically rich, celluloid-based moving images preserved in the National Archives and Records Administration’s motion picture holdings. His “War Wings: Films of the First Air War” was last year’s Stars and Flags technical reference gold medal winner.
“Stewart has done extensive research to chronicle filmed action of World War I so that others can easily find it,” the news release stated. “His books tell other researchers exactly where to find specific footage. Both books are ‘must haves’ for World War I enthusiasts.”
Stewart, an Air Force veteran, volunteers as a film researcher for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife Margaret moved to Crestview from New Jersey when he took a civilian job at Eglin Air Force Base’s Parks Photo Lab. Though laid off in December 2011, losing his Eglin job freed time to write more guides to the national film archives.
“These scenes of World War I action (and thousands more like them) exist today on silent, black-and-white motion picture film,” Stewart said. “They were shot on location, as history happened, by dedicated and courageous U.S. Army Signal Corps soldier-cameramen.”
Delving into miles of film footage at the National Archives is like a treasure hunt, Stewart said. Not many Americans know it exists or that they can view it freely during a visit to the College Park, Md. archives.
“I kind of made it my passion,” Stewart said. “There’s a lot of film archives out there. We as American citizens own it. We ought to know about and we ought to use it.”
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.