The Donald R. Bye Films

 Don and Glenna Bye at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma

Don and Glenna Bye at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma

 
 

Conservation & Capture

Original format: 16mm film, silent

Digital format: Footage captured at 2k resolution 

Length/feet or running time: Approx. 2000ft

Circa: 1954 - 1965

Status: Conservation & digital capture in-progress by Pro8mm. Footage transcription, cataloging and Internet Archive upload to follow

 

Grantee

Graham Carroll (b. 1992) is an artist based in Kansas City. His motion picture work reflects an interest in history, memory, love, and non-human life. His field based practice leads him to spend much of his time looking around for stories. www.grahamograph.com.

 

Filmmaker

   
  
   
  
    
  
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  After retiring from the Air Force, Don has kept himself busy as a Tax Preparer. He is pictured here in his home office. 

After retiring from the Air Force, Don has kept himself busy as a Tax Preparer. He is pictured here in his home office. 

Donald R. Bye (b. 1926) is a retired United States Air Force Colonel, tax preparer, and lifelong amateur photographer. While stationed abroad in the 1950s he bought a 16mm camera and began making movies. He captured scenes around the house in Japan and Crete, trips to small towns on the prairie, and President Eisenhower on an airstrip in San Angelo, TX.

While in serving in Vietnam, Don, the Base Chaplain and the Flight Surgeon started the Cam Ranh City Christian Orphanage in 1968. In June 1975 after South Vietnam fell to North Vietnamese forces, 69 orphans and 26 staff members arrived in the United States. It was the last part of a hazard-filled journey from Cam Ranh City to the United States. When Don retired he was Director of Management and Budget for the Air Force Logistics Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He was awarded the Legion Of Merit at his retirement.

In 1984 Don started the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at the Midwest City Library. It grew from one member to twenty volunteers in a couple of years. VITA was designed to serve low income earners and the elderly. The same year, Don was elected to Ward IV of the Midwest City Council. He ran on a platform of no new taxes. During his four years on the Council, the community made took on several civic projects, including a new library, new sewer plant, and transformative road improvements to Air Depot Boulevard.

 

About this Collection

   
  
   
  
    
  
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  While stationed in Crete, the Bye family visited the Holy Land. In this photo, Don is prepared with his camera gear and light meter.

While stationed in Crete, the Bye family visited the Holy Land. In this photo, Don is prepared with his camera gear and light meter.

Donald R. Bye made films which depicted many events in the life of the family. He is a lifelong shutter bug and a retired Air Force Colonel who recorded these films to show to friends and family. One reel documents a trip to visit Don’s brother in Huron, SD. Other reels contain footage of the life of an American military family living in Nagoya, Japan during between 1955 and 1960. He filmed a parade and scenes around town and in the home - often featuring his young children and a maid named Setsuko. One film, recorded around 1954, depicts the Thunderbird jets and president Eisenhower “getting off a plane” in San Angelo, TX. The Donald R. Bye films tell personal stories that fit into the larger historic and political context of life during the Cold War.

 
 The Bye family sits for a studio portrait, c. 1960. Left to right: Bethany, Don, Lynda, Glenna, and David.

The Bye family sits for a studio portrait, c. 1960. Left to right: Bethany, Don, Lynda, Glenna, and David.