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The American look

Identifier: Film Collection no. 48

Scope and Contents

This program examines the historical development and nature of the American physical type with the help of Harry L. Shapiro, AMNH anthropologist. The look of a typical American is revealed to be a hybrid of several different cultures. The discussion is illustrated with two figures, Norma and Norman, created by Abram Belskie, a sculptor, and based on statistical information compiled by Robert Latou Dickenson, a well-known New York gynecologist. The Peter Birch dancers perform a shadow play depicting immigrants arriving in America and ultimately creating a distinct American physical type. A presentation of the American woman's changing concept of the ideal figure adds a whimsical note to this presentation. Film clips dating back to 1903 and dealing with fashion, sports, and economic and political situations that have affected the styles of American men and women are shown.


  • 1953


Language of Materials



1 Film Reel (30 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (30 minutes)) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid: script.


Original format: 16mm kinescope.


Originally aired Nov. 15, 1953 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.



Charles Collingwood, host; Allen Reisner, director; Perry Wolff, producer; Ernest Leiser, writer; Leon Rice, editorial supervisor; Jac Venza, production design; Bernard Birnbaum, supervisor of film; Peter Birch dancers, performers.

The American look, 1953
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Research Library Special Collections Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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