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Gerry Wurzburg Papers

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 9 Sep 2010

Biographical History

Gerardine (Gerry) Wurzburg is an American documentary film-maker and media entrepreneur.

Through her company State of the Art, Inc. she has developed media on current topics and trends in health, education, contemporary history, and social justice. Her work has been released theatrically and broadcast nationally on HBO, CNN, PBS, and ABC and internationally as well as being distributed to extensive non-broadcast audiences. The company's focus is on social marketing campaigns in public health and education, using all forms of media to encourage dialogue and social change in areas ranging from inclusion of the disabled to sobriety to lung cancer. Films produced include Academy Award-nominated documentary short Autism is a World, Academy Award-winning documentary short Educating Peter, and FREDDIE Award-winning film Struggling in Silence.

Wurzburg is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the American Public Health Association, and received an honorary doctorate from Syracuse University in 2011. Several of her documentaries on autism have been produced in collaboration with Syracuse University professor Douglas Biklen, whose research and teaching interests center on the full inclusion of people with disabilties into education, community, workplace and life. Dr. Biklen was an advisor on Educating Peter, Educating Peter II (released as Graduating Peter), co-producer of Autism is a World, and co-producer for Wretches & Jabberers.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gerry Wurzburg Papers consists of field footage from four documentaries produced by Wurzburg's company, State of the Art: Autism is a World (2004), Educating Peter (1992), Educating Peter II (alternate title: Graduating Peter) (2001) and Wretches & Jabberers (2010). There are also recordings and project files from a small number of other projects.

Autism is a World material contains nearly 200 field tapes recorded during production, as well as several versions of the final production (e.g., captioned, narrated, in Spanish, with and without music track, etc.) There are detailed tape logs for all the tapes, describing the scenes captured and the timestamps for their occurrence on the recording.

Educating Peter material consists of more than 100 field tapes recorded during production of the documentary. There are no tape logs for these tapes.

Educating Peter II, released as Graduating Peter, contains recordings of audio tracks (narration, music); a small amount of correspondence with Peter and his family; more than 300 field tapes spanning seven years (6th grade through 12th grade), a production binder with specifications, permissions, notes, etc.; releases signed by individuals appearing in the recordings; a detailed production schedule; and transcripts and tape logs.

Wretches and Jabberers material consists almost entirely of field recordings from Vermont, Finland, Japan, and Sri Lanka.

Miscellaneous projects consists of recordings and subject files. Recordings include a civics program created for Annenberg CPB, a newsreel on Woody Guthrie, and a documentary entitled We Dig Coal: A Portrait of 3 Women. Subject files relate to Never Far from God: Portraits in Ministry; Learn & Live, a documentary on innovative approaches to education created for the George Lucas Educational Foundation; and a project on home health aides.

The vast majority of the tapes in the collection are 20- or 30-minute Betacam-SP tapes. There are also some 60-minute tapes, mini-DV cassettes, U-matic cassettes and a few 16mm reel-to-reel recordings (We Dig Coal). Audiorecordings are on DAT tapes or on CDs in .avr format, and the detailed tape logs are in PDF format.

When requesting a tape, please specify BOTH the title of the production and the tape number(s).

Arrangement of the Collection

Within each project, numbered tapes are arranged in numeric order while unnumbered recordings are in no particular order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Access to recordings or computer media requires advance notice to produce a working copy.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Biklen, Douglas.
Wurzburg, Gerardine.

Corporate Bodies

State of the Art, Inc.

Associated Titles

Autism is a world (film)
Educating Peter (film)
Graduating Peter (film)
Wretches & jabberers (film)


Documentary television programs.
Down syndrome.
Inclusive education.
Mainstreaming in education.
People with disabilities -- United States.
Women motion picture producers and directors.

Genres and Forms

16mm (photographic film size)
Color film.
Digital Betacam (TM)
Digital audio tapes.
Field recordings.
Floppy disks.
Sound recordings.
Video recordings.


Motion picture producers and directors.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Gerry Wurzburg Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Gerry Wurzburg, 2011, 2012.

Table of Contents

Autism is a World

Educating Peter

Educating Peter II (aka Graduating Peter)

Wretches and Jabberers

Miscellaneous projects