James Henry WHITE

(Grafton, 1873-New York, 1944)

white james portrait 02

Jean-Claude SEGUIN


Henry White (Nouvelle-Écosse, 11/12/1831-New York, 30/12/1913) épouse (Cornwallis, 25/01/1860) Marietta Coleman (Nouvelle-Écosse,10/02/1833-Cambridge, 1911). Descendance :

  • Arthur White (Nouvelle Écosse, [1860]-),épouse Bird [White] (Maine, [1872]-). Descendance :
    • Ralph White (Massachusetts, 11/05/1892-)
    • Thomas (Massachusetts, [1899]-)
  • Charles White (Black Roch, 1864-Chicago, 16/10/1928)
  • Margaret, Blanche White (Nouvelle Écosse, 1866-)
  • Fannie R. White (Grafton, 1869-Chelsea, 1887)
  • Addie, Maud White (Grafton, 23/07/1870-)
  • James Henry White (Grafton, 01/01/1873--New York, 01/04/1944)
    • épouse (New York, 29/11/1902) Pauline Dade (Hoboken, 07/12/1874-)
    • épouse Frances P. [White] (Texas, [1899]-).
  • Annie, Louisa White (Kings, 19/11/1874-)
  • Grace Coleman White (Kings, 03/08/1876-).


Les origines (1873-1893)

Fils d'un marchand canadien de Grafton, James Henry White quitte le Canada pour les États-Unis en 1882. Certains membres de sa famille sont déjà partis : sa mère, son frère Arthur et sa sœur Grace (1879).

Le kinetoscope (1894-1895)

Âgé de 17 ans, James H. White quitte Revere (Massachusetts) pour Boston où il va travailler pour la New England Phonograph Company des frères Holland :

Biographically speaking, "Jimmie" White, a boy of 17, out of Revere, Mass., was working in Boston, in 1894, for the New England Phonograph Company, and he met Thomas Alva Edison through this connection.

HASTINGS, 1927: 327.

En 1894, les frères Andrew et George Holland, qui détiennent déjà les droits de distribution du phonographe, obtiennent ceux du kinetoscope et ouvrent, le 14 avril,  le premier kinetoscope Parlor à New York. C'est à l'été 1894 que James H. White est amené à participer à l'installation de kinetoscopes :

Q. When did yo first enter the moving-picture business?
A. Early in the fall of 1894; or, rather, in the early summer of 1894.
Q. For whom did you work at that time, and what did you do?
A. I entered the employ of Holland Bros. in Boston, and was engaged in installing plants, fitting up parlors with the old style nickel-in-the-slot kinetoscope.
Q. Dis you remain in Boston throughout the year of 1894?
A. Il remained there until October of 1894, when I came to New York for Holland Bros. and installed a plant of kinetoscopes in the Flower Show at the Grand Central Palace, New York City.

WHITE, 1900: 165-166.

Il continue de travailler pour les frères Holland :

Q. Did you continue in Holland Bros.' employ after that ?
A. Il only stayed in his employ about a month after that. I purchased the plant from Holland Bros, in conjunction with Mr. C. H. Webster.
Q. Which plant of Holland Bros, did you purchase"
A. The plant that I installed in the Grand Central Palace. That ended my connection with Mr. Holland, except for the fact that I did some work for him after that.

WHITE, 1900: 165-166.

À la suite de cette collaboration, pendant presque un an, James H. White va exploiter, avec C. H. Webster, un kinetoscope dans plusieurs villes américaines :

Q. What did you and Mr. Webster do with the kinetoscope plant you bought from Holland in the fall of 1894 ?
A. It remained in New York for a while and then we traveled throughout the country, visiting a number of different cities and exhibiting it.
Q. How long did you continue to exhibit that plant, and what did you do with if ?
A. We exhibited that plant until September-August or September, 1895. Then we sold it in Boston.

WHITE, 1900: 166.

Dans les mois qui suivent, James H. White va travailler, à Buffalo, pour J. M. S. Blauvelt, un exploitant de phonographes :

Q. What business did you go into then ?
A. I returned to New York and then went to Buffalo in the employ of Mr. J. M. S. Blauvelt, who was engaged in the phonograph business. The remainder of that winter I stayed in Buffalo.
Q. When did you sever your connection with that phonograph business and what did you next do ?
A. I severed my connection with Mr. Blauvelt in April, 1896, when I returned to New York and entered the employ of Raff & Gammon.

WHITE, 1900: 166.

L'intérêt de White pour le kinetoscope est donc précoce, même s'il n'a pas encore de contacts directs avec Edison :

Q. How intimate has been your acquaintance with the moving-picture business since July, 1894?
A. I immediately became interested in the moving pictures after seeing the first nickel-in-the-slot kinetoscope exhibition at Boston, and I have followed the business very closely ever since ?

WHITE, 1900: 167.

En revanche, il est assez peu probable qu'il soit intervenu dans les tournages de films comme cela a été parfois écrit.

Le vitascope (1896-1897)

En [avril] 1896, James H. White va donc  rejoindre la société de Norman C. Raff et Frank R. Gammon, qui, après avoir exploité le kinetoscope va se charger de l'exploitation du vitascope :

Q. What was the kind of business Raff & Gammon were doing ?
A. They were engaged in the sale of the Edison kinetoscope-that i s, the nickel-in-the-slot kinetoscope, and they had me come on from Bufallo for the reason that they were about to exploit the vitascope.
Q. What did you have to do with the vitascope  after you went into their employ in the spring of 1896 ?
A. I was engaged for a short while helping to perfeet the machine in their salesrooms, and afterwards had charge of the first exhibition that was put on at Koster & Bial's ?
Q. When was the vitascope exhibited at Koster & Bial's.
A. In April, 1896.
Q. How long did you remain with Raff & Gammon ?
A. I remained with Raff & Gammon until October, 1896.

WHITE, 1900: 166-167.

C'est donc lui qui est l'opérateur de la séance organisée au théâtre Koster & Bial's (34, Street Theater) à New York, le 23 avril 1896 :

By W. A. Reed
In reading the very valuable newspaper writings of the trade papers, I find lots who claim that the first moving picture projected to the screen was at one place, some at another. Now, for the benefit of those who are looking for ancient history of the picture machine, I will state that the first public exhibition was at Koster & Bial's 34th Street Theater, New York City, on April 23rd, 1896, and was operated by Mr. James H. White of the Edison Co. The machine was Edison's Vitascope, and was the spoolbank and beater type, the films were 40 feet in length and ran continuous, after the instantaneous list. B. F. Keith installed them at his Philadelphia, Providence, and Boston Houses. The machine opened at his Boston house early in May, and I was at the first performance.

The Moving Picture News, vol. IV, nº 22, 3 juin 1911, p. 6.

Mais il est également le cinématographiste de plusieurs vues de l'homme d'État chinois, Li Hung Chang, lors de son passage à New York : 

When Li Hung Chang visited Grant's tomb in 1896 White was there with his kinetoscope. His machine secured circumstantial evidence that four of New York's finest were subjected to the unspeakable humiliation of carrying what in police lingo is known as a "chink," which being interpreted signifies that they carried the chair of the distingu[i]shed Chinese Statesman. Newspapers sympathized and condoled with the outraged policemen, but the disgrace never can be wiped out. Mr. White gave Li Hung Chang a private exhibition of the kinetoscope."

Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

C'est finalement en octobre que James H. White va rejoindre l'Edison Manufacturing Company :

Q. And you have been with Edison Manufacturing Company ever since ?
A. I have been with them ever since October, 1896.

WHITE, 1900: 167.

Dans les mois qui suivent, James W. White, qui a intégré l'équipe de la société, travaille auprès de William Heise. Les combats de boxe, particulièrement prisés du public américain, et la maison Edison est toujours prête à financer ces tournages :

Hitch in the Arrangements Between the Edison Kinetoscope Managers and Dan Stuart.
Washington, D.C., March 9.-[Special.]-Unless Dan Stuart and the contestants scheduled for a bout at Carson City come to termes with the Edison people within a short time, it is very probable the fight will be pulled off without any rapid photographs being taken, and thereby all concerned will lose a considerable sum of money. Negotiations between the Edison company and Stuart are now at a standstill.
James H. White, who came here with the machines to make pictures of the inaugural parade, said: "I am awaiting a telegram from Stuart accepting our offer. When I receive that I will leave at once for Carson City. I am not at liberty to tell the amount offered for the privileges, but I can say that it is one which we believe fair to all parties. You remember that we had to follow Fitzsimmons and Maher all about the country at the time of the last fight, and it did not last a minute.
"The day was so bad we were unable to take any pictures, and so we got nothing for our outlay of over $10,000 except some experience. Having the experience we don't care to by any more at that price. Stuart wants us to put up a sum of money for the fight whether it rains or shines. We can take pictures only if it is a clear day, and the proposition we have made Stuart only holds good in case the weather is fair. If it is that is all we want.
"We are amply able to take the pictures, and do not care if the fight lasts one or one hundred rounds. I expect to hear from Stuart at any time, and am all ready to start. It will only take us three days to reach there, and we still have a six-days' margin."
Mr. White absolutely declined to discuss the negotiations further or to give the amount offered, but it is said that the Edison people offered 65,000 for the privilege.

The Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, mercredi 10 mars 1897, p. 2.

Le tour du monde (juin 1897-mai 1898)

À partir de janvier 1897, James H. White et  Fred Blechynden vont entreprendre un long voyage qui va durer un an. Ils choisissent un appareil construit par Dickson pour ce tour du monde :

In 1896, William Laurie Jean Kennedy Dickson, the English inventor, who worked with Edison on many earlier devices relating to motion pictures, perfected a camera, with John Ott, which) was brought to the highest standards of efficiency then known, and with which, White left New York City in June 1897 for ’Frisco, “shooting” as he went, to return the following June.

HASTINGS, 1927: 327.

Les deux hommes vont consacrer les premiers mois de leur voyage à parcourir l'Est des États-Unis

1897 usa carte
Les États-Unis et le Mexique (1897)

Les premiers états qu'ils vont visiter sont le Montana et le Wyoming où James H. White et  Fred Blechynden cinématographient les paysages du Yellow National Park :

James H. White and another gentleman, both from Orange, N. J., who represents the Edison Vitascope company, returned from the Park Friday. The parties have been engaged in taking vitascope views of the Park and other scenes along the Northern Pacific in the interest of the railroad company.

Livingston Herald, Livingston, jeudi 29 juillet 1897, p. 3.

Dans les premiers jours du mois d'août, ils se rendent à Seattle (état de Washingron) où ils prennent plusieurs vues des docks de la Northern Pacific R.R. où des navires sont chargés et déchargés :

Seattle, Wash., Aug. 6.
James H. White, of Orange, N.J., representing Thomas A. Edison, is in the city. He will take kinetoscope and projectoscope photographs of the city, and will photograph the Willamette when she leaves the wharf for the north. White will go to Dyea to take pictures of the men bound for the interior.

The Corvallis Times, Corvallis, mercredi 11 août 1897, p. 2.

Un autre journal local, Seattle Times, obtient en outre une interview de James White :

Animated Pictures of Seattle to Be Re-produced.
One of the latest enterprises of Thomas A. Edison, the electrical inventor, is that of sending a representative around the world to obtain animated pictures to be reproduced on the Edison Projectoscope and other instruments employed for that purpose. The person selected for that important work is Mr. James H. White of Orange, New Jersey. Mr. White is now at the Hotel Stevens, on his trip around the world, and a reporter of The Times was accorded the privilege of an interview with him this morning.
"My object," said Mr. White , "is to obtain animated pictures of Seattle and other places for the purpose of illustrating life in the West, including its industries, mode of travel, transactions and life in general. The pictures I take are distributed throughout the world and will be reproduced on the Edison Projectoscope and other instruments for the reproduction of animated pictures.
"Our apparatus is able to record fifty or sixty pictures per second of any moving object. The instrument was invented by Mr. Edison in 1892. ln making a subject 150 feet of negative is used, and about 3,300 distinctive pictures are taken on this length.
"This is Mr. White's first trip so far west, and the reporter had the curiosity to ask how Seattle compared with Eastern cities of the same size.
"Why," he said, "there is simply no comparison. I have stopped in every city of any account and I find Seattle the smartest and most pushing city I have visited. There is a push and enterprise here far beyond the comprehension of people in the East. When Eastern men and women want to get away from the rustlers for a brief vacation they mustn't corne to Seattle."
While in the city it is Mr. White's purpose to take a series of pictures of the Ocean dock when the Williamette is preparing to sail for Dyea and other living moving scenes that will represent our every day lite in Seattle.

Seattle Times, Seattle, 7 août 1897.

Ils filent ensuite à Tacoma où ils descendent à l' Hôtel Chilberg. Après un possible bref passage en Oregon, leur voyage les conduit en Californie. À San Francisco, où ils arrivent à la mi-août, ils tournent quelques photographies animées des Sutro Baths et plusieurs du S. S. Coptic sur lequel ils embarqueront quelques mois plus tard.

san francisco sutro baths
Les Sutro Baths (c. 1900)
Source : The Cliff House Project

Ils se rendent ensuite dans plusieurs villes californiennes (Palo Alto, San José, Monterey), retournent à plusieurs reprises 7 septembre à San Francisco avant d'arriver au Colorado. Puis, afin de tourner des vues d'actualité dans des réserves indiennes, ils partent pour le Nouveau Mexique. Dans le village d'Isleta, ils prennent plusieurs vues le 23 septembre :

James H. White and Fred W. Blechynden, who are taking vitascope pictures for the Thomas A. Edison laboratory at Orange, N. J., came in from Los Angeles night before last and went down to Isleta to secure a few Indian pictures yesterday. They went on to Denver last night. From Denver they will return and go through Mexico and from there will go to China. Mr. Blechynden has with him a large number of proofs of very interesting pictures taken in the past few weeks.

Albuquerque journal, Albuquerque, vendredi 24 septembre 1897, p. 4.

Indian Day School (23 septembre 1897).

Sur la route qui les conduit à Denver, ils vont s'arrêter à Santa Clara Pueblo pour renouveler l'expérience. Cependant les choses ne vont pas se passer comme prévu et le tournage tourne court :

One of Mr. White's earlier experiences with Indians was the Santa Clara Pueblos at Santa Clara, New Mexico. Mr. White wanted to photograph one of the Santa Clara's peculiar dances. He called on the head men of the village. The head men said they would consider it. After two days profound reflection the head men called a town meeting to hear Mr. White's proposal. Mr. White stood up in the centre of a solemn circle of red men, women, children and dogs and explained at great length what he wanted to do, why he wanted to do it and when and where and how. Particularly he elucidated his desire and offer from beginning to end, going still more into details. By request he repeated the proposition several times. Then he retired to permit he idea to percolate through the Pueblo comprehension. After three days of deep thought the town people reached the conclusion that they were willing to grant the concession provided the compensation could be made satisfactory. It took two days more to settle upon the sum of $20 as the correct price. The $20, all in good silver coin, had to be paid over before the Pueblos would even allow Mr. White to set upon his tripod. At last all preliminaries were arranged. The dance began. White seized the crank and began to turn.
Kinetoscope cameras in those days were relatively crude affairs. The mechanism made a great clatter. It was too much for the nerves of the Pueblos. With one accord they dropped blankets and all other impedimenta and fled-fled for their lives. They hid behind rocks and adobe houses. Nothing could induce them to face that terrible camera again. White entreated, he expostulated, painful as it is to say so, he even went so far as to swear ! but it was all to no purpose; the Pueblos would not risk their lives and their very souls in front of such a diabolical machine, and that was all there was about it. Mr. White left without any photographs; likewise without his $20.

"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

James H. White et  Fred Blechynden font une nouvelle halte à Pueblo (Colorado) où ils descendent à l'hôtel Southern. Ils arrivent peu après à Denver où ils prennent quelques vues du "Festival of Mountain and Plain" qui a lieu le 5 octobre. Ils voyagent dans l'état et retournent dans une nouvelle réserve indienne à Ignacio. 

C'est au bout de six mois que James H. White et  Fred Blechynden vont faire une incursion au Mexique où des tournages sont organisés à Sabinas, à Durango, dont une corrida, et à México. Leur arrivée est annoncée par la presse mexicaine :

James H. White, representing the world renowned electrician, Thomas A. Edison, is at the Jardin hotel. He is here representing Mr. Edison, with the object of obtaining kinetoscope pictures, he will tour the entire world with this objet.

The Evening Telegram, Mexico, 18 novembre 1897, p. 4.

Dans la capitale, les deux hommes sont installés au palais d'Iturbide :

Fred W. Blechynder is at the Iturbide. He is representing Thos. A. Edison. Mr. Blechynder is an Englishman from Canterbury in Kent. He and his associate Mr. White, will be here somme time and then leave for San Francisco, China and around the world.

The Evening Telegram, México, 19 novembre 1897, p. 4.

0458(mu) 01
"In the Capital of Mexico" (Mexico Street Scene)
"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

Pendant une dizaine de jours, ils vont tourner quelques vues cinématographiques :

Mr. James White and his able assistant, Mr. Fred W. Blechynder, left this city last night for an extended trip over the Central system. These gentlemen are representing the Edison Electrical Company, of Orange, N.J., and are taking views of characteristic Mexico, for reproduction in the company's kinetescopes, which will be exhibited in the United States.

The Two Republics, Mexico, 1er décembre 1897, p. 8.

Le séjour mexicain prend fin avec une présentation officiel organisée pour le Président Porfirio Diaz :

He ended his triumphal tour with an exhibition of moving pictures in the castle of Chapultepec for the edification of President Diaz. The President was delighted.

"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

Vers la fin du mois de décembre, White et Blechynden retournent en Californie. À San Diego, descendus à l'hôtel Coronado, les deux hommes tournent quelques vues. Le journal local San Diego Union and Daily Bee leur consacre un long article :

The Coronado Rabbit Chase Caught by a Kinetoscope–Twenty Photographs a Second–Other Pictures Taken–Guests Who Participated–Personal Mention.
Hotel del Coronado, Dec. 22–The guests of Hotel del Coronado were treated to a novel experience this morning in the shape of riding after a pack of hounds in front of an Edison kinetoscope. James H. White and Fred W. Blechynden, his assistant, arrived here last evening, representing the Thomas A. Edison laboratory at Orange, N. J. Mr. White is making a tour through Southern California, taking pictures on the way, and this morning took what will be the finest in his collection–one of the famous Coronado rabbit chases. Many of the guests turned out–the gentlemen riding, and ladies and gentlemen driving in four-in-hands, buckboards, and rigs of all description. At a given signal, the pack of forty hounds was started, closely followed by the riders, and the carriages after them, all dashing along at breakneck speed, in front of the machine. Splendid pictures were secured.
Mr. White then took a picture of the riders and hounds alone. Then he moved his machine to the ocean beach in front of the hotel, and took the Coronado spaniels—about twenty-five in number—retrieving a ball from the surf. He says it will be a very fine picture, and was lucky enough to catch it just at the time when the big St. Bernard, "Royal,” ran into the water to take the ball away from one of the smaller dogs, not noticing a big breaker, which came along and completely upset him. Mr. White then went over to the Coronado ostrich farm and took a moving picture of the ostriches.
He operated the machine at the Corbett-Fitzsimmone fight at Carson City, and is an artist in his line. He very kindly informed the Union reporter that the strip of film used in taking the picture of the rabbit chase was 150 feet long; that the pictures measure an inch by 3/4 of an inch, and that the time of exposure was 90 seconds. This would make twelve pictures to the foot, or 1,800 in the 150 feet, which is taking pictures at the rate of twenty per second.
Those on horseback were Mr. John Markle, Mr. W. H. Dupee. Mr. W. W. Bailey, and others. The three named got a good start, but were closely followed by the ladies and gentlemen in carriages and horseback.
The following enjoyed the delights of the rabbit chase in a tally-ho, with Col. Crewe-Read: Mr. and Mrs. M. B. Mead, Dr. and Mrs. Stackpole, Mr. W. C. Peet, Mrs. U. J. Hastings, Misses Norton, Pratt, Stackpole, Dewey and others.
Mr. Fred Pease, Mrs. John C. Healy, Miss Mary Healy and Miss Helen Healy occupied a stylish turnout, Mr. Pease handling the sleek bays with a master hand.
Among the others who drove were Mr. and Mrs. John Jacob Otter, Dr. and Mrs. Forrest, Mr. Voight. Mrs. Dan Warren, and Mr. Harry Temby.
A picture will be taken at Marston's corner, San Diego, of a moving double-decker electric car, at 11 o'clock Thursday morning.
H. F. Norcross, Los Angeles, is at the hotel.
R. E. Houghton is down from San Francisco.
H. E. Coleman, Toledo, O., is registered here.
Today’s arrivals include Mrs. H. T. Percy, Washington, D.C.
James H. White and Fred W. Blechynden, Orange, N. J., are guests at Hotel del Coronado.
A San Francisco party staying here includes Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Horan, Miss Blanche Horan and Darrell Horan.S

San Diego Union and Daily Bee, San Diego, jeudi matin 23 décembre 1897, p. 8.

James H. White est de retour brièvement à Los Angeles où il descend à l'hôtel Hollenbeck.

los angeles hotel hollenbeck
Los Angeles. Hôtel Hollenbeck.

Les deux cinématographistes font un saut jusqu'à Riverside, le 30 décembre:

James H. White, representing the Edison company, was in Riverside recently, and was taken to the packing-house of Riverside Heights, Nº 10, by A. S. White, and got some splendid views of the packers at work. The process by which these views are taken is little short of marvelous. In thirty seconds 1800 pictures can be taken, and Mr. White announces that the conditions were very favorable to securing some very choice "living pictures" of an important feature of orange industry in Southern California, Mr. White is taking a series of interesting scenes representing like and industries in Southern California. These views will be used in Edison's kineoscopes [sic] and animatoscopes, and will enlighten many an easterner in regard to features of life in the new Italy.

Lake Elsinore Valley Sun-Tribune, Elsinore, vendredi 21 janvier 1898, p. 2.

 Ils rentrent le jour même à Los Angeles.

To Play for the Church.
The Knaben Kapelle Hungarian boys' band, through the kindness of Gustav Walter, will play at Calvary Presbyterian Church, corner Geary and Powell streets, to-morrow evening. This is their last appearance before leaving for the East. The first part of the programme will consist of a number of animate pictures thrown on a large screen by the means of Edison's projecting kinetoscope, operated by James H. White, direct from Thomas A. Edison's laboratory. Orange. N. J. Alberto C. Moro, bass soloist, will also take part in the programme. The entertainment is complimentary to the members of Calvary Presbyterian Sabbath School.

The San Francisco Call and Post, San Francisco, dimanche 30 janvier 1898, p. 15.

Dans la foulée, ils se rendent à Pasadena à l'occasion de la fête du Tournament of Roses qui a lieu le 1er janvier 1898 et filent juste après à San Francisco. Dans cette dernière ville, ils prennent quelques vues maritimes du lancement du navire Chitose et d'autres à l'occasion du Golden Jubilee and Mining Fair qui se tient du 24 janvier au 5 mars 1898. C'est dans les derniers jours de janvier ou premiers jours de février que James H. White fait une excursion au Mount Tamalpais où il prend plusieurs bandes cinématographiques :

Mount Tamalpais, feb. 5
James H. White of Orange, N.J., passed the day here.

The San Francisco Call and Post, San Francisco, dimanche 6 février 1898, p. 24.

Après six mois occupés à parcourir l'Est des États-Unis et tout particulièrement la Californie, après une brève incursion au Mexique, James H. White et  Fred Blechynden quittent San Francisco à bord du S.S. Coptic en direction de l'Extrême-Orient. Parti el 3 février, le navire, après une escale à Honolulu et une semaine de navigation, va connaître, du 11 au 13 février une situation météorologique très délicate avec une mer démontée et de violentes bourrasques. Grâce au courage de son capitaine et de l'équipage, seuls des dégâts matériels sont à déplorer. Les passagers dont White et Blechynden cosignent une lettre de remerciements adressée au capitaine Sealby et aux officiers publiée par The North China Herald :

The Late voyage of the Coptic across the Pacific
(From the Japan Mail of the 25th of Feb,)
The Coptic, which arrived in Yokohama Harbour about 11.30 on Thursday morning, four days overdue, encountered terrible weather during her passage. The steamer, which is one of the best in the Occidental and Oriental Company's service, left San Francisco on the 3rd inst. and made a good passage up to the 11th. About 1 am. on that day a terrific gale sprang up from the west, and the wind blew with fearful violence for two days. Great waves swept the steamer from stem to stern, and the passengers had a terrible time of it. One huge billow descended with tremendous force on the ‘‘ whale-back ” of the steamer’s bows, and smashed and bent it in all directions, injuring the anchor gear, and completely washing out the forecastle. The forty or fifty men who were there narrowly escaped with their lives, having to fight their way aft through eight feet of water and through the wreck of the broken bulkheads. Fortunately, however, no one was washed overboard. The Coptic’s ill-luck did not cease here, for some days after she ran into a succession of westerly gales. In her damaged condition it was not possible to force her against the sea and the captain had to go considerably out of his course. It will be some time before the damage done can be properly repaired. 
A representative of the Japan Mail who boarded the steamer on her arrival writes:— The appearance of the ship forward bore eloquent testimony to the badness of the weather in one of the worst Pacific voyages on the Coptic’s record. The ‘‘whaleback” —a massive structure of iron and wood— was simply a total wreck. Great iron supports as thick as a man’s arm were twisted like a corkscrew, the solid iron stanchions were half rooted out of the deck, the lookout man’s nest was battered into all kinds of fantastic shapes, and, despite all attempts that had been made to put things ship-shape, it was simply a scene of chaotic ruin, The passengers all speak highly of the conduct of the officers, and on the day before reaching port they sent Captain Sealby a note expressing their gratitude and admiration. It is couched in the following terms.
S.S. Coptic, Yokohama, 24th February, 1898
DEAR CAPTAIN SEALBY,—We enclose a copy of a latter which we are forwarding to both Messrs. Ismay, Imrie & Co., Liverpool, and to the Occidental and Oriental S.S. Co., San Francisco, which will, we hope, be gratifying to you as expressing the feelings of your passengers on the present voyage.
We have only to add our united thanks to you and subscribe ourselves,
Yours sincere friends and well wishers.
All the passengers.
Copy of testimonial letter to Ismay, Imrie & Co., Liverpool, and the Occidental & Oriental S.S.. Co., San Francisco.
Dear Sirs,—We, the undersigned saloon passengers per s.s. Coptic, having now safely reached Yokohama, desire to express to you our unanimous appreciation of the admirable conduct of Captain Sealby and Officers during our voyage from San Francisco, which, as you will learn from the official reports, has been an extremely difficult and perilous one.
Captain Sealby has thoroughly inspired us with every confidence, and we wish to express to you our admiration for him as a sailor and our feeling of sincere esteem for him as a kind and courteous gentleman.
We remain, dear Sirs, yours truly,
(Signed),—Mrs. F, K. Hunt, Mr. A. Azevedo, Mr. Walter Brooks, Miss Edith Brooks, Mr. John Holliday, Mr. Hermann Kobbe, Mrs. W. C. Davidson, Mr. M. Hori, Mr. Jesse Rilot, Mr. James H. White, Mr. J.G. F. Thyssen, Mr. F. W. Blechynden, Mr. R. H. Wright, Mr. Ammann, Mr. E. J. Bates, Mr. Alfred A. Nicholls, and Mr. F. Van Schoeller.

North China Herald, Shanghai, lundi 7 mars 1898, p. 384.

L'éprouvante traversée va prendre fin le 24 février alors que le Coptic accoste à Yokohama. Au cours de ce voyage James H. White saisit une série de vues dont certaines à peine quelques heures après la tempête. Les deux opérateurs vont profiter de la quinzaine de jours dont ils disposent pour voyager au Japon. Ils ont la chance d'être les hôtes du Mikado en personne qui les héberge dans son palais de Tokyo. James H. White y organise quelques séances de projections cinématographiques comme il l'évoque dans ses souvenirs :

“We carried with us,” Captain White said, “a model of the first table projector, from our West Orange shops, and as rapidly as possible, after taking my pictures, I developed them, and flashed the 75-foot strips on the screen, before shipping them by parcel post via the Southern Pacific Railroad boats to New York. Mr. Blechynden and I inspected every shot.
While in Japan, a number of high government officials saw the pictures, and quite insisted that the Mikado would be thrilled to view them.
 “A number of charming Japanese scenes had been photographed, in the cities as well as in the wonderful country outside, and we had copies of these ‘shots’ when we were invited to be the guests of the Emperor for several days. ‘Bleck’ and I actually lingered for five days and nights as the guests of the Mikado, in the Palace in Tokio, during which period I screened countless subjects, some old, and many, new ‘shots.’
“It was most interesting, to note the surprise of everyone, including the Mikado, after I had screened my first pictures. The urge to examine the screen, closely, was too strong to be overcome, and the Emperor walked to the screen, placed his hand across it, and pulled the screen slightly away from the wall, to peer behind it. Satisfied that we had concealed nothing back of the screen, His Majesty resumed his seat, and begged us to continue.
“Despite the fact that our collection was replete with views of cities, towns, villages, rivers, the ocean, and ships at sea, it seemed to me that His Majesty was more deeply interested in our ‘educational’ shots, including some microscopic subjects, than in anything else. Some of these were repeated, by royal request, and we made some intimate views in the royal gardens for His Majesty. These he seemed to enjoy immensely.

HASTINGS, 1927: 327.

Dans le catalogue Edison, on trouve des vues de Nagasaki et, surtout, de Yokohama, Dans les premiers jours du mois de mars, le steamer Coptic repart pour Hong Kong où il arrive le 6 mars 1898 afin d'être réparé. Quelques jours plus tard, le 14 mars 1898, les deux hommes saisissent l'arrivée du Prince Henry de Prusse à la maison du Gouverneur à l'occasion d'une garden party donnée en son honneur:

The garden party to be given in honour of H.R.H. Prince Henry of Prussia will take place in the grounds of Government House on Monday afternoon next, at 4.15.

The Hong Kong Weekly Press, Hong Kong, samedi 12 mars 1898, p. 190.

Government House at Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 14 mars 1898)

Plusieurs autres vues sont saisies dont celles du Hong Kong Regiment et de la Sikh Artillery. La situation conflictuelle aux Philippines conduit les États-Unis à placer leurs troupes en alerte à Hong Kong sous le commandement de l'amiral George Dewey. Dans ses souvenirs, James H. White évoque sa rencontre avec le militaire :

I happened to be in China when the American fleet was in Hong Kong, and frequently going aboard with the officers, got to know Admiral Dewey, who as you know, is very democratic. Many were the pleasant excursions we had while in port.

WHITE, 1904-1905, p. 37.

 dewey george portrait
George Dewey (Montpelier, 26/12/1837-Washington D.C., 16/01/1917)

Les deux cinématographistes décident d'entreprendre un voyage en Chine. Ils se rendent dans les villes voisines, Macao, alors sous domination portugaise, et Canton où la population locale les prend à partie :

When White set up his tripod at Canton, hoping to get a street scene, he was mobbed with a whole souled energy that the Chinese only display when engaged in the pleasing diversion of killing foreign devils. He and his assistant fled for their lives. Fortunately they were near the British custom house, which they managed to reach after receiving bad bruises from stones and clubs. They were covered with mud and their instrument was broken. Captain Healy and his force at the custom house had a sharp encounter with the mob, but it was finally beaten off.
White concluded after this experience that he did not really want any Canton photographs and never had wanted any.

"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

Ils vont visiter d'autres métropoles chinoises dont Shanghai qu'il rejoigne à bord du steamer Gaelic qui a quitté Hong Kong le 1er avril 1898. Les deux hommes entreprennent alors, au péril de leur vie, un périlleux voyage en remontant le Yang-Tsé-Kiang :

The idea of a voyage up the Yangtse-Kiang appealed to him, so he embarked upon a sampan. By this time he understood Chine well enough to take the precaution to embark with a large and well armed party. The sampan was scarcely under way when it was attacked by pirates. There was a sharp fight in which six pirates were killed and four of the sampan's crew were wounded. White made no effort to help defend the vessel. Instead he made a frantic rush for his camera, set it up and secured a hundred yards of pictures of the most interesting part of the fight.

"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

James H. White et  Fred Blechynden poursuivent leur voyage jusqu'à Pékin où le premier retrouve Li Hung Chang, alors chargé des Affaires étrangères de l'Empire céleste :

Mr. White gave Li Hung Chang a private exhibition of the kinetoscope [à New York] which was repeated for Li Hung Chang and a select company of officials when White went to China soon afterward. This created such a sensation that the exhibition had to be repeated at the Imperial palace. But when the entertainments ceased and the photographer got down to business his troubles began. He wanted to photograph army drills. But the army never had been photographed, consequently there was no precedent for granting the desired permission. Therefore such a thing was not to be thought of. No self respecting Chinaman would think of doing anything his ancestors dit not do four thousand years ago. When White tried to photographed the rabble on the streets the same difficulty rose. Kinetoscopes were not in common use four thousand years ago, therefore, every pig tailed citizen of the Celestial Empire felt it incumbent upon himself to prevent the use of kinetoscope cameras by any means in his power.

"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17.

Aux Philippines, les Espagnols sont en guerre avec les Philippins, et la flotte américaine, commandée par le commodore George Dewey, se dirige vers la baie de Manille où la flotte espagnole, dirigée par l'amiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón, est totalement détruite le 1er mai. Dans ses souvenirs, James H. White évoque cette période et offre quelques détails :

It was with great reluctance that we bowed to our itinerary, bade good-bye to Japan, and set off for Hong Kong. We ran afoul a war out there and when we found things getting very much mussed up we hastened to Manila, where Admiral Dewey was ‘all set to go!’ ‘Bleck’ and I were the guests of Commander Dyer, aboard the S. S. Baltimore, which, with the Boston and Petrel, steamed from Hong Kong to join Dewey’s fleet some days before.
“The action on the morning of May 1, 1898, was quick, and decisive. From the Baltimore, I was enabled to get some splendid ‘shots’ during the action. Our fleet opened fire shortly before 5 a. m., and half an hour later Admiral Dewey ordered the fleet out to sea, to breakfast, and back again to finish the job. It was a very businesslike, very thorough matter. Every little detail was properly attended to. ‘Patsy’ Holligan, flag officer for the Admiral, gave us a lot of splendid details afterwards, regarding incidents on the flagship, and I hurriedly developed my negatives to show the officers of the fleet, before rushing them back to New York. These pictures were shown later in Huber’s Museum in New York City.
“ ‘Bleck’ and I had to ‘pass up’ that exciting trip of the Oregon, down around the Horn to join our boys in Cuban water, in order to ‘clean up’ the Manila ‘shots.’

HASTINGS, 1927: 327 et 362.

white james 1898 baltimore
USS Baltimore (1891) [D.P.]

Le steamer Doric a quitté Hong Kong le 19 avril - les deux hommes ont-ils prévu d'embarquer à bord ? - et il accoste vers le 29 avril à Yokohama. Un article publié dans The Honolulu Advertiser explique comment les deux hommes ont pris le narive "en marche" :

Some of the Passengers on the Steamship Doric.
W. Bleckyrden [sic] and James White of the Edison kinetiscope [sic] who have been travelling about taking pictures in the Orient. They went ahead in a tug when the Doric sailed from Yokohama and took that vessel as she went by. They were then taken aboard. Messrs. Blechyrden and White will take some pictures here today.

The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, mardi 10 mai 1898, p. 1.

Quelques jours plus tard, le 9 mai, le Doric mouille dans le port d'Honolulu et James H. White et Fred Blechynden sont à bord :

Br stmr Doric, Smith, 27 days from Hong-kong, via Yokohama 17 days, via Honolulu 5 days and 23 hours.

The San Francisco Call and Post, San Francisco, mardi 17 mai 1898,  p. 9.

Les deux hommes vont encore prendre quelques vues d'Hawaï comme l'indique la presse : 

Honolulu in Kinetoscope
The two kinetoscope men aboard the S. S. Doric, secured several thousand yards of Honolulu film for use in the States. The travelers have been getting material in China and Japan, but were especially anxious to have some Honolulu views. With their special camera they made a number of exposures in the bay, getting steamers, laborers, boat crews and the Bennington. Views were taken on King, Nuuanu and Fort street. These pictures will prove of much advertising value to Honolulu, as they will be shown throughout the United States.

The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, jeudi 12 mai 1898, p. 5.

Le steamer finit sa traversée dans le port de San Francisco le 17 mai :

SAN FRANCISCO, May 17.-Doric, from Hong Kong, has arrived.

The Standard, Londres, mercredi 18 mai 1898, p. 9.  

Ainsi prend fin, en mai, ce voyage qui aura duré finalement un an.

La guerre hispano-américaine (mai-septembre 1898)

Dans les jours qui suivent, James H. White va tourner plusieurs vues sur les troupes américaines qui se disposent à partir pour les Philippines. D'après les témoignages de 1899, James H. White rejoint, vers la fin du mois de mai, William Paley qui se trouve à Cuba pour couvrir la guerre hispano-américaine. Sur un cliché, pris le 8 juin, à Tampa, on aperçoit deux opérateurs dont Paley. Faut-il penser que White est déjà à ses côtés ?

0592 01
"Daddy Paley is filming the boys in blue at Tampa in 1898"
DOWLING Paul H. "He's Sixteen Years Ahead of All War Photographers", Photoplay Magazine, vol. XI, nº 4, mars 1917, p. 122-123.

Cela permettrait de comprendre pourquoi les deux hommes ont témoigné de leur présence respective, en particulier, lors de la bataille de San Juan (1er juillet) :

He worked his industrious way through the Philippines, Siam and the Straits settlements and was headed for India when he was called home to photograph the Cuban war. He contrived to get to Santiago in time for the battle of San Juan, telegraphing on his way to Shafter to postpone the assault on San Juan until he could get his camera set up in a good place. Inadvertently he set his camera up directly in the path of a Mauser bullet, which seemed in a great hurry to get somewhere. The result was that both White and the camera were sent home for repairs.

Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 1899: 17. 

0599(mu) 0599(mu) 01
 Pack Mules with Ammunition on the Santiago Trail  "Around the world with a Kinetoscope", 
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, dimanche 31 décembre 1899, p. 17.

Lorsque William Paley, victime de la fièvre jaune, est rapatrié d'urgence, c'est James H. White qui se retrouve seul pour continuer à couvrir la guerre hispano-américaine.




Le retour chez Edison (1898-1903)

James H. White reprend ses activités à son retour auprès de Thomas A. Edison. Il supervise une série de vues tournées dans la Black Maria ainsi que des bandes d'actualité dont un certain nombre de films maritimes. "General manager", il occupe une place privilégié et 



James H. White participe à la création de la société Klondike Exposition Company dont le but est de prendre des vues du Yukon et de l'Alaska:

Klondike Exposition Company, with a capital stock of $200,00, to make Vitascopic pictures of the Yukon and Alaska districts. The incorporators are Thos. Crahan, James H. White and George H. Adams.

The Phonoscope, février 1899, p. 14.

 Le 29 septembre 1899 a lieu sur l'Hudson la parade navale de l'amiral Dewey après sa victoire aux Philippines

I happened to be in China when the American fleet was in Hong Kong, and frequently going aboard with the officers, got to know Admiral Dewey, who as you know, is very democratic. Many were the pleasant excursions we had while in port. Shortly after my return to New York, Dewey's boat, the "Olympia," returned from its successes in Manilla. Like hundreds of press and camera men, I took a tug and tried to get near the ship, but the orders were that no one was to be allowed on board. However, presuming on my Chinese acquaintanceship, I got alongside and scrambled aboard, to be confronted by the second officer, who, turning to the admiral, who was in full dress, exclaimed: "Why if it isn't that long-legged photographer we met in Hong Kong."
"So t is," said Dewey, "but what on earth are we to do with him ? "
Imagine my feelings when the reply came back: "Throw him overboard."
"No," said the Admiral, " Let him come aboard. We'll see if he's got any new stories."
" And aboard I went, and obtained a splendid series of views, shewing the reception by the President and Committee." By-the-way, it might interest you to know I was the first to tour the world for motion pictures, accompanied by an Englishman- Mr. Fred Blechynden - who wrote the book 'Round the World with a Kinetoscope.' The tour cost between three and four thousand pounds. We started from New York on June 9th, 1896, and returned June 18th, 1897. Our start was not auspicious, for our boat, the White Star liner 'The Coptic,' was wrecked at 3 a.m. one morning. My quarters were on deck, and remained fairly high and dry, and although we didn't know what might happen next, I thought of the main chance, and whilst all was chaos, visited the captain's bridge and the crow's nest, and took an excellent set of pictures. 'All's well that ends well,' and those pictures were splendid mementoes of a unique experience, and you can reprint some of the enlargements from the kinetograph films taken on the ' Coptic' directly after the storm, during its passage from San Francisco to Hong Kong. I had given a show in the cabin just before the wreck and a number of the Chinese steerage passengers looked through the windows and were seized with a kind of superstitious awe. They showed considerable animosity against me during the remainder of the voyage, and I was known as 'The White Devil' who caused the storm. We had the honour of giving an exhibition of the phonograph and kinetoscope before the Mikado, who had never before seen moving pictures, and it was indeed strange to watch the amazement of his courtiers, who put their hands behind the screen to lay hold of the figures, and seemed totally unable to comprehend the business. We were served right royally, and were asked to stay a week at the palace, and on the strength of this I got special permission for the troops to be manoeuvred, and took photos of them. Many were our adventures on land. Once while taking views of the streets and temples of Canton, we only escaped an attack by throwing away our paraphernalia and running for dear life across the canal to the Island of Chameen, where we were protected by the Sikh police. We also had many strange experiences in the Mexican mountains, but I suppose I had better come back to trade topics." 
" Yes, we should like to hear about the future, Mr. White."
" I believe we shall see some remarkable developments. Take our own case. We have a most complete laboratory with seven or eight men constantly experimenting, regardless of expense, and new achievements must come. Mr. Ed. Porter, our chief camera man, too, is hard at work with new ideas and fresh studies, at our glass and iron studio situated on the top store of our New York building."
"And yet you haven't found a substitute for the dangerous celluloid," we suggested.
"For twelve solid years this has been before us. We have used fibres, parchments and I don't know how many hundreds of other materials. I believe one day we shall startle the world with a success in this much needed alteration, but up to the present like many others, we have been doomed to disappointment."
Many other items did Mr. White dwell upon, but space will not allow; I came away, however, with the firm conviction that the trade will in future hear much more of the Edison Manufacturing Co., and that in Mr. James H. White they have an able and conscientious worker whose enthusiasm is unbounded.

The Optical Lantern and Cinematograph Journal, vol 1, novembre 1904-octobre 1905,p. 37-39.


Cameras Were Stolen Into the Coney Island Arena.
New York, Nov. 9.-Jas. H. White, acting for Joe. E. Howard, has had a series of pictures of the recent fight copyrighted at Washington. The biograph people had the sole right to take pictures and paid a large sum for it to the club. Howard by a skil-fully arranged plan had a series of views taken on what appeared like five ordinary cameras innocently distributed around the ring side. The reels were worked by hand, and it is said that the pictures are a success, while their copyright will close out the biograph pictures.
The New York Journal's correspondent in Washington has wired that such photographs have been copy-righted in the name of James H. White, who, Mr. Howard says, is acting as his agent. Mr White lives in Orange, N.J., which is near enough to the Edison headquarters to be at least a co-incidence.The Evening Journal, Ottawa, jeudi 9 novembre 1899, p. 3.

White (James H.), Orange, N. J.
Jeffries-Sharkey contest (The). 1914
Copyright by James H. White, Orange. N. J. 1899, no. 72363, Nov. 4; 2 copies rec'd Nov. 6, 1899.Catalog of Title Entries of Books..., vol. 22, 4 janvier-29 mars 1900.

Battle of Spion Kop in New Jersey.-Bursting of a Gun.
New York, Aprils 12.-James H. White general manager of a kinetoscope company and William McCarthy were engaged in taking a picture of the "Battle of Spion Kop" which they had arranged on the rocky slope of the second Orange mountain at Orange, N. J., when they were seriously hurt by the explosion of a cannon.
More than 200 men had been hired, half of the number in Boer costume being placed at the top of the rocky slope, while the others in British uniforms prepared to storm the kop. A cannon was added to increase the picturesque effect. Why it should have exploded before the kinetoscopoe and the storming started is not clear.The Morning Times, Petersboroug, vendredi 18 avril 1900, p. 1.

En 1900, la famille est recensée à Orange (New Jersey).

During the past year the business of our Foreign Department was more than double what it was the year before and a still greater impetus has been given the export trade since James H. White went to Antwerp, Belgium, as manager of sales for Europe.

Edison Phonograph Monthly, vol. 1, nº 3, mai 1903, p. 3.


JAMES H. WHITE, who for a number of years has had charge of the Kinestoscope Department of the Edison Manufacturing Company, of Orange, N. J., sailed on February 5th, to take charge of the Antwerp office of the National Phonograph Company.

Edison Phonograph Monthly, vol. 1, nº 1, mars 1903, p. 5.


White Was Injured in Sham Boer War Battle Three Years Ago.
Orange, N.J., July 27.-James H. White of East Orange, one of Thomas A. Edison's foreign representatives, is recovering from an operation performed at the Orange Memorial Hospital on Saturday by Dr. William B. Graves of East Orange, which consisted of the removal from his skull of a piece of glass a quarter of an inch thick and about half an inch square.
It became lodged there over three years ago, while Mr. White was superintending a reproduction of the battle of Spion Kop on the Orange Mountain for a moving picture machine. Mr. White acted as a Boer general, and during the fight a bottle of powder exploded and showered him with fragments of glass.Arizona Republic, Phoenix, mardi 28 juillet 1903, p. 1.

James H. White, manager of the National Phonograph Co., Ltd., London, under date of February 26, sends the following amusing incident :
I was running through yesterday some Records from the January supplement (which Records, by the way, are without doubt the finest I have ever listened to), and one of our largest factors from Manchester, England, happened to be in our show room. We were running the song "Under the Anheuser Bush." Our client, Joseph Richardson, was very much impressed with the Record, indeed, and, after listening to it intently, made the request that we play it a second time. We did this, and noticed that he paid particular attention to the words. When the song had finished he turned to me with rather a puzzled expression and said :
"I say, old chap. I always thought the Anheuser Bush was some particular sort of tree that grew in America."
When I explained to him that the Anheuser Busch was a very particular brand of American beer it created a great laugh, as we had several English people in at the time.

Edison Phonograph Monthly, vol. II, nº 2, avril 1904, p. 7.

white james 1905 portrait
Mr. White in his office at Clerkenwell Road.
The Optical Lantern and Cinematograph Journal, nov. 1904-octobre 1905, p. 37.

James H. White has tendered his resignation as manager and director of the National Phonograph Co. in this city.The Talking Machine World, janvier-décembre 1906, p. 28.

Et après... (1907-1944)

James H. White, a photographer for the American Vitagraph Company, has been in Savannah getting pictures of the great automobile race, and we learn from our Savannah correspondent that he was granted every courtesy by the officials of the race. As Mr. White is an expert at this line of work, we look forward to seeing a very interesting presentation of the great event.The Moving Picture World, vol. 3, nº 23, 5 décembre 1908, p. 447.

En 1910, James Henry White est toujours recensé à Orange (New Jersey).

James H. White of Orange N.J., was in Madison Saturday taking motion pictures of the Memorial Day parade and the morning and afternoon baseball games. Mr. White, who had traveled the world for Thomas A. Edison, but who now is in business for himself, is considered a national authority on motion pictures. He was assisted by Clifford Werner, of the Savoy Theatre, Central avenue, at which place the pictures were shown last night and turned out ro be the best local "movies" ever shown here, the ball games and fire department pictures being especially good. They will be shown again Monday, Thuesday and Wednesday of next week.The Madison Eagle, vendredi 5 juin 1914, p. 1.

FILM STOCK COMPANY, INC. General film and motion picture business; $100,000; Manhattan. James H. White, William Steiner and A. B. Gardner, of New York.The Motion Picture News, 5 septembre 1914, p. 58.

white james 1914 brifco
The Motion Picture News, vol. IX, nº 12, 28 mars 1914, p. 48.


A judgment for $4,728 has been filed in the Supreme Court by Captain James H. White, U. S. A., against the New Amsterdam Casualty Co. because of the defendant's refusal to account for the sale of 400 feet of film worth $10,000. The complaint alleged that the defendant gave bond for the plaintiff in a suit against him by the Berlin Aniline Works, and the film was transferred to the defendant with power to sell it to satisfy any claim against Captain White. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant paid on his account only $1,764 and that the defendant has refused to account for $8,236.The Film Daily (Wid's Daily), vol. V, nº 136, mercredi 25 septembre 1918. 

The wife of James H. White, vaudeville booking agent, is getting about again after five months in bed with a tubercular knee.The Billboard, 25 février 1922, p. 49.

white james 1927 portrait
James H. White, one of the pioneers in motion pictures, who photographed the Battle of Manila Bay, in 1898.
Moving Picture World, 29 janvier 1927, p. 327.

En 1930, veuf de sa première épouse, il est recensé chez son frère à New York.

Sa 2e épouse est professeur de musique en 1940.

En 1940, il est recensé avec son épouse à New York.

À son décès, en 1944, il figure encore comme "Chemist-maker of photos".

Outre ses activités auprès de ce dernier, il est l'un des premiers reporters cinématographiques et à ce titre il parcourt de nombreuses contrées :

He has photographed the religious and social ceremonies of every tribe of Indians in the United States, has made photographing expeditions into Mexico, Alaska, Cuba, China, Japan and Siam.

"Around the world with a Kinetoscope"

IT WILL probably surprise most of the newsreel boys to be told that newsreel shots covering the world were made 35 years ago... on June 9, 1896, James H. White, an American, and Fred Blechynden, an Englishman, started on the first tour of the world in the interest of newsreel shots... they landed a great scoop, for the White Star liner, the Coptic, on which they sailed, was wrecked in a storm from San Francisco to Hong Kong... so White climbed in the crow's nest and got some great shots.... the Chinese steerage passengers called him the "White Devil," believing that the pictures he had been taking on board were the cause of the storm... these two pioneer newsreel men had the distinction of giving a kinetoscope show to the Mikado of Japan, who never before had seen a moving picture... the Mik's courtiers kept putting their hands behind the screen during the performance, to see if they could "feel" the figures... the Jap kink was so pleased that he called out the whole standing army in maneuvers so White could take a newsreel of 'em... in practically every country they visited they came near losing their lives... the natives attacked them on many occasions, thinking the movie camera was some kind of new "devil magic"... the unique shots these adventurers secured on the first round-the-world trip 35 years ago would be priceless if an exhibitor could show them today... but all record of them has been lost... and while on the subject of Origins in the film biz, the first industrial film was made for the North Borneo Company in 1904... the directors of this Asiatic trading company commissioned the Urban Company, a British production organizashe, to visit Borneo and make a reel to show the shareholders how their dough was being spent in coffee and tobacco plantations... just a couple of additional proofs that there is nothing really new under the cinematic sun...The Film Faily, mercredi 28 janvier 1931, p. 7. 

white james 1897 portrait
James White, William Heise pendant le tournage probable de New Black Diamond Express en avril 1897.
Source: Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive.
Reproduit dans Ray Phillips, Edison's Kinetoscope and Its Films. A Historiy to 1896, Wiltshire, Flicks Books, 1997, p. 24. 


"Around the world with a Kinetoscope", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, dimanche 31 décembre 1899, p. 17. [Il existe une transcription du texte dans la revue The Phonogram, nº 8, décembre 1900 (p. 79-81) et nº 9, janvier 1901 (p. 113-116)].

"Chats with Trade Leaders. nº 2 Mr. James H. White", The Optical Lantern and Cinematograph Journal (Nov. 1904-Oct. 1905), p. 37-39.

HASTINGS Charles Edward, "A Cameraman Runs Into A War", Moving Picture World, 29 janvier 1927, p. 327 et 362.

MUSSER Charles, Edison Motion Pictures, 1890-1900, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, 720 p. 

WHITE James H., "Deposition of J. H. White" dans United States Circuit Court, Thomas Edison vs American Mutoscope (in Equity. nº 6928), 9 février 1900, p. 165-170.



American Line Pier (28 août)

Baggage Wagons (28 août)

The Arrival of Li Hung Chang (29 août)


Branding Cattle (novembre)

Lassoing Steer (novembre)

Cattle Leaving the Corral (novembre)

Bull Fight nº 1 (novembre-décembre)

Bull Fight nº 2 (novembre-décembre)

Bull Fight nº 3 (novembre-décembre)

Wash Day in Mexico (novembre-décembre)

Train Hour in Durango (novembre-décembre)

Repairing Streets in Mexico (novembre-décembre)

Surface Transit (décembre)

Spanish Ball Game (décembre)

Mexican Rurales Charge (décembre)

Sunday Morning in Mexico (décembre)

Market Scene (décembre)

Mexico Street Scene (décembre)

Las Vigas Canal (décembre)

Mexican Fishing Scene (décembre)


Marching Scene (janvier)

Parade of Coaches (janvier)

Ostriches Feeding (janvier)

Ostriches Running (1) (janvier)

Ostriches Running (2) (janvier)

California Limited, A.T. & S.F.R.R. (janvier)

Going Through the Tunnel (janvier)

Sunset Limited, Southern Pacific Railway (janvier)

Freight Train (janvier)

Launch of Japanese Man-of-War "Chitosa" (janvier)

Launching nº 2 (janvier)

After Launching (janvier)

Union Iron Works (janvier)

Feeding Sea Gulls (janvier)

Procession of Floats (janvier)

Native Daughters (janvier)

Parade of Chinese (janvier)

Mount Tamalpais R.R., nº 1 (janvier)

Mount Tamalpais R.R., nº 2 (janvier)

Mount Taw R.R. nº 3 (janvier)

S.S. "Coptic" Lying To (février)

S.S. "Coptic" (février)

S.S. "Coptic" Running Against the Storm (février)

Heaving the Log (février)

S.S. "Coptic" Running Before a Gale (février)

S.S. "Coptic" Coaling (février)

Street Scene in Yokohama (1) (février-mars)

Street Scene in Yokohama (2) (février-mars)

Theatre Road, Yokohama (février-mars)

Railway Station at Yokohama (février-mars)

Arrival of Tokyo Train (février-mars)

Going to the Yokohama Races (février-mars)

Returning from the Races (février-mars)

Japanese Sampans (février-mars)

Street Scene in Hong Kong (mars)

Government House at Hong Kong (mars)

Hong Kong Regiment (1) (mars)

Hong Kong Regiment (2) (mars)

Sheik Artillery, Hong Kong (mars)

River Scene at Macao, China (mars)

Hong Kong Wharf Scene (mars)

Tourists Starting for Canton (mars)

Canton River Scene (mars)

Landing Wharf at Canton (mars)

Canton Steamboat Landing Chinese Passengers (mars)

S.S. "Gaelic" (avril)

S.S. "Gaelic" at Nagasaki (avril)

Shanghai Street Scene (1) (avril)

Shanghai Street Scene (2) (avril)

Shanghai Police (avril)

S.S. "Doric" (mai) 

Afternoon Tea on Board S.S. "Doric" (mai)

S.S. "Doric" in Mid-Ocean (mai)

Game of Shovel Board on Board S.S. "Doric" (mai)

Kanakas Diving for Money (1) (mai)

Kanakas Diving for Money (2) (mai)

Honolulu Street Scene (mai)

Wharf Scene, Honolulu (mai)

14th U.S. Infantry Drilling at the Presidio (mai)

California Volunteers Marching to Embark (mai)

Troops Embarking at San Francisco (mai)

Troop Ships for the Philippes (mai)

Blanket-Tossing a New Recruit (mai-juin 1898)

Soldiers Washing Disches (mai-juin 1898)

Wagon Supply Train En Route (mai-juin 1898)

9th and 13th U.S. Infantry at Battalion Drill (mai-juin 1898)

Trained Cavalry Horses (mai-juin 1898)

Roosevelt's Rough Riders Embarking for Santiago (8 juin 1898)

Cuban Volunteers Embarking (8 juin 1898)

71st New York Volunteers Embarking for Santiago (8 juin 1898)

Loading Horses on Transport (8 juin 1898)

Transport Ships at Port Tampa (8 juin 1898)

U.S. Troops Landing at Daiquiri, Cuba (22-26 juin 1898)

Mules Swimming Ashore at Daiquiri, Cuba (22-26 juin 1898)

Packing Ammunition on Mules, Cuba (22-26 juin 1898)

Major General Shafter (juin 1898)

Pack Mules with Ammunition on the Santiago Trail (juin-juillet 1898)

Troops Making Military Road in Front of Santiago (22-26 juin 1898)



A Wringing Good Joke

Cripple Creek Bar-Room Scene


Capture of Boer Battery by British (11 avril)

Charge of Boer Cavalry (1) (11 avril)

Charge of Boer Cavalry (2) (11 avril)

Boers Bringing in British Prisoners (11 avril)

English Lancers Charging (15-24 avril)

Boer Commissary Train Trekking (15-24 avril)

Red Cross Ambulance on the Battlefield (15-24 avril)

Battle of Mafeking (15-24 avril)


[Panoramic View of Moki-Land] (<12 décembre)

[Parade of Snake Dancers Before the Dance] (<12 décembre)

[March of Prayer and Entrance of the Dancers] (<12 décembre)

[Moki Snake Dance by Wolpi Indians] (<12 décembre)

[Line-Up and Teasing the Snakes] (<12 décembre)

[Carrying Out the Snakes] (<12 décembre)


The Aviation Meet (8-17 octobre 1908)

The Great Automobile Race (Savannah, [novembre] 1908)


Panoramic Views of Boston (août-septembre 1910)

Evangeline (août-septembre, 1910) 


19-23/07/1897 États-Unis Yellowstone National Park    
06-09/08/1887 États-Unis Seattle    
10->10/08/1897 États-Unis Tacoma Chilberg Hotel  
19/08-<03/09/1897 États-Unis San Francisco Baldwin Hotel  
09/1897 États-Unis Palo Alto    
03->03/09/1897 États-Unis San José Vendome Hotel  
09/1897 États-Unis Monterey    
07/09/1897 États-Unis San Francisco Baldwin Hotel  
13/09/1897 États-Unis San Francisco Baldwin Hotel  
23/09/1897 États-Unis Isleta Pueblo indian village  
>23-<29/09/1897 États-Unis Santa Clara Pueblo    
29/09/1897 États-Unis Pueblo Southern Hotel  
23/09-05/10/1897 États-Unis Denver    
11-12/1897 Mexique Sabinas Hacienda La Soledad   
11-12/1897 Mexique Durango    
19-30/11/1897 Mexique Mexico Hotel Iturbide   
21-23/12/1897 États-Unis San Diego Hotel del Coronado  
25/12/1897 États-Unis Los Angeles Hollenbeck Hotel  
30/12/1897 États-Unis Riverside    
31/12/1897 États-Unis Los Angeles Hollenbeck Hotel  
01-03/01/1898 États-Unis Pasadena    
01-03/01/1898 États-Unis Arcadia    
01-03/01/1898 États-Unis Santa Monica    
01-03/01/1898 États-Unis Fingal    
04->24/01-/1898 États-Unis San Francisco Baldwin Hotel  
<24/01-<03/02/1898 États-Unis Mount Tamalpais    
 <24/01-<03/02/1898 États-Unis San Francisco Baldwin Hotel   
03-24/02/1898 Océan Pacifique S. S. Coptic    
24/02/1898 Japon Yokohama    
[25]/02-[05]/03/1898 Japon Nagasaki    
[25]/02-[05]/03/1898 Japon Tokyo    
[06]/03-01/04/1898 Chine Hong Kong    
[06]/03-01/04/1898 Chine Macao    
[06]/03-01/04/1898 Chine Canton    
[06]/03-01/04/1898 Chine Shanghai    
<01>/05/1898 Philippines Manille    
>01/05/1898 Japon Yokohama    
>01-08/05/1898 Océan Pacifique S.S. Doric    
09-10/05/1898 États-Unis Hawaï. Honolulu    
17/05/1898 États-Unis San Francisco