Preserving History: Littauer’s Films, 1940s-1960s

The National Sporting Library & Museum (NSLM) recently completed a unique preservation project in partnership with Sweet Briar College. Through the generous support of NSLM board member Helen K. Groves, both NSLM and Sweet Briar collaborated to digitally preserve film reels created and spliced by Captain Vladimir S. Littauer.

The films, donated to NSLM for digitization by Littauer’s son, Andrew, depict horse shows and dressage, as well as clips of the U. S. Equestrian Team training ahead of the 1948 Olympics.

United States Olympic Riders 1948 from NSLM on Vimeo. The preserved video includes visual reels only, so there is no sound to accompany the film.

Littauer (1892-1989) was a riding instructor known for the development and promotion of the forward seat system of equitation. Born in Russia, Littauer immigrated to the United States in 1921 and in the 1930s, began a successful career writing instructional books on riding. He was in great demand as a riding instructor throughout his life, and spent several years offering instruction at Sweet Briar College. Many of the preserved clips were recorded and meticulously spliced together by Littauer to accompany his instructional books. Littauer’s personal library (including several manuscripts) is housed in NSLM’s F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room.

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