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The Reward of Courage
1921 / 30:08
Prepared by the American Society for the Control of Cancer
Produced by the Eastern Film Corporation
Silent, black-and-white.

A poster titled 'If Daddy Had Only Known This!' used during the American Society for the Control of Cancer's first annual Cancer Week in 1921, featuring an illustration of a woman and two children reading a pamphlet and information about how to attack cancer.Figure 1
A poster used during the 1921 Cancer Week, unusual for the time, since most other surviving cancer posters from the early 1920s used little visual imagery, beyond the use of particular fonts and layouts for the text. The poster in this case highlights the impact of male ignorance of cancer on family members, including children. Source: Campaign Notes. American Society for the Control of Cancer 3, 4 (April 1921): [4].

Three-quarters, full face black and white photograph of of Charles A. Powers seated in a chair.Figure 2
Studio portrait of Charles A. Powers, created 1886-1901 by the studio Rose & Hopkins. Source: Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Digital Collections. Reproduced with permission.

Oval sepia tone photograph of Frank A. Tichenor holding his son in his left arm.Figure 3
Frank A. Tichenor and his son Frank A Tichenor Jr. Undated photograph, probably from late 1910s/early 1920s. Source: Tichenor scrapbook, author’s collection. Reproduced with permission of David Cantor.

Frame grab from The Reward of Courage highlighting the Rhode Island license plate of an early model automobile.Figure 4
The Reward of Courage: The Reward of Courage was set in Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, but someone forgot to check all the props. The automobiles have Rhode Island plates, (“R.I.”), the state where the film was made. Note the reverse text at the edge of the film. This image comes from the original nitrate print. This and figures 5-9 were produced by the Library of Congress.

Frame grab from The Reward of Courage illustrating a breast examination. Both women are seated on chairs with the nurse preforming a breast examination.Figure 5
The Reward of Courage: Miss Keene, the nurse at Dr. Dale’s clinic, examines Anna Flint. This is probably the first cinematic representation of a breast examination for cancer in a public health movie.

Four frame grabs illustrating the love story theme of The Reward of Courage, with the young couple, Dorothy Flint and Gene Barnes, talking in a garden, embracing in drawing room, sitting with a young child in a garden, and then a frame with text stating: 'I just love Dr. Clinton. He told me that cancer was not hereditary, and so I could marry Gene.'Figure 6
The Reward of Courage, The Love Story: 1. The lovers separate (top left corner in blue) 2. The lovers are reunited (top right corner in amber) 3. The happy outcome of their union (bottom left corner in pink) 4. And all because of Dr. Clinton.

Two frame grabs from The Reward of Courage illustrating the 'quack' Morris Maxwell sitting on the Flint's porch, smoking, and a jar of his fraudulent cancer cure.Figure 7
The Reward of Courage: A) Morris Maxwell, Dorothy’s sleazy suitor, on the porch of the Flint’s house, and B) Radiumized Paste, his fraudulent cancer cure.

A frame grab from The Reward of Courage illustrating the 'quack' Morris Maxwell hidden behind a curtainFigure 8
The Reward of Courage: Hidden behind a curtain, Morris Maxwell overhears a conversation about Anna’s cancer diagnosis before offering Anna a painless “cure” for the disease for $200.00 - his Radiumized Paste.

A frame grab from The Reward of Courage illustrating the animated section of the film in which 6 tumors are indicated with the text 'After cancer cells enter the veins they are carried to all parts of the body and produce new cancers.'Figure 9
The Reward of Courage: Part of the animated section of the film showing the spread of cancer and its consequences, highlighted by arrows. The line drawing of the human figure and dark blotches of the tumors also serve to counter the prospect of any paralyzing fear or disgust that might be evoked by a live action image of tumors.

Figure 10 A
Examples of theatrical slides used during the American Society for the Control of Cancer's 1921 Cancer Week, the first stressing the need for early recognition of the disease, and the second and third presenting 'A Message of Hope' and 'Danger Signs,' respectively.A) Dr. Powers’ slide shown in Denver. B) Two slides prepared and financed through the efforts of Mrs. Samuel Adams Clark for the 1921 “Cancer Week” in New York City. These last two slides could be purchased from the ASCC on glass for 16 cents each and on mica for 8 cents each. Sources: “Announcement of the Plans and Organization of the National Cancer Week. October 30-November 5, 1921,” Campaign Notes. American Society for the Control of Cancer, 3, 7 (July, 1921): [1-4], p.[2]. “Suggested Plans for National Cancer Week November 12-18, 1922,” Campaign Notes of the American Society for the Control of Cancer 4, 8 (August, 1922): [1-4], p.[2].

Figure 10 B
Examples of theatrical slides used during the American Society for the Control of Cancer's 1921 Cancer Week, the first stressing the need for early recognition of the disease, and the second and third presenting 'A Message of Hope' and 'Danger Signs,' respectively.

Photograph of the remains of an unidentified bug found adhered to and damaging a frame of the film.Figure 11
The remains of an unidentified bug found during the cleaning of The Reward of Courage by Colorlab in 2006. Source: National Library of Medicine.

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