Nell Shipman/Doctor House

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The Doctors House Victorian Museum Presents the Nell Shipman Exhibit

Welcome to a tour of the landmark 1890 museum in Glendale, California, featuring silent filmmaker Nell Shipman, who rented the house from 1917 to 1920. The museum derives its name from four doctors and their families who lived here in succession during Glendale's early history. Originally located at 921 East Wilson, the Queen-Anne/Eastlake house was moved to Brand Park in 1980 and restored by The Glendale Historical Society with support from the city.

Photo of Nell ShipmanCanadian-born Nell Shipman starred in, wrote, directed and/or independently produced movies from 1912 to 1925. The most popular were outdoor adventures noted for strong, self-willed heroines, breathtaking scenery and the inspired use of trained wild animals. Interest in her life and work has resulted in academic research, numerous magazine articles, a feature story on television's "Entertainment Tonight," and the showing of her films in festivals from Berkeley to Paris.

The tour will highlight some of the professional and personal events of the years she lived in the house with her parents, husband and son, Barry Shipman, who became a prolific screenwriter. Barry (1912-1994) notified The Glendale Historical Society that the restored museum was his one-time home and generously provided information for the exhibit. According to Barry, Nell chose the home in Glendale to please her parents, who came from upper-middle-class British families, loved the Victorian style and couldn't get used to Hollywood's faster, more "modern" way of life.

We'd like to acknowledge Boise State University, from which we obtained many of the materials for the exhibit. Due primarily to the efforts of Tom Trusky, an English professor and director of the Hemingway Western Studies Center, BSU published Shipman's autobiography, The Silent Screen & My Talking Heart, and maintains an archive of her films, photographs, scripts, letters, and other documents.

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