Alice Guy-Blaché, First woman director and film company owner ( File:Alice_Guy.jpg)

Women and Adversity:
Alice Guy-
First Woman Film Director
First Woman to own a Film Company

The film industry emerged more than a century ago, but few people know that French-born Alice Guy-Blaché influenced its development. She was the first woman to direct films and the first woman to own a film studio she named Solax Film Company.

She married Herbert Blaché, who started his own film company, Blaché Features, Inc., and used his wife’s studio and actors. He suggested their companies merge with his name first. Her name was eventually dropped, so she never received the accolades or honors she deserved.

The studio was so successful, the couple opened a facility in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at that time the hub of filmmaking. Hollywood, though, became dominant and Herbert moved there. The couple divorced, and Alice moved back to France. In 1964, she moved back to New Jersey.



Born July 1, 1873 in Saint-MandéVal-de-Marne, France
1894  – secretary to Leon Gaumont, the owner of Gaumont Company in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, the first and oldest film company in the world.
1896 – directed her first film
1907 –   married Herbert Blaché, a British director, screenwriter and producer, who also worked for Gaumont.
1908 – daughter Simone born
1912 – son Reginald born
1919 –  Guy-Blaché directed her last film
1921 –  Solax Film Company in bankruptcy
1922 –  the couple divorce


1896  – When Alice became secretary to Léon Gaumont, films were silent, only a few minutes long and consisted of scenes, such as a speeding train, landscape or seascape. Guy suggested to Gaumont that she write a narrative film and have actors take the roles. Gaumont accepted the idea, and Guy directed her first film, La Fée aux Choux, translated as The Cabbage Fairy or The Birth of Children. She then became head of production at Gaumont Film Company and remained in that position until 1906.
1907  –  Gaumont chose Herbert to start a Gaumont Chronophone franchise in Cleveland, Ohio. This device coordinated sound with film. Within a year, the franchise failed, and Herbert was named manager of Gaumont’s Flushing, New York, company that distributed films.
1910  – The Flushing business floundered. Guy-Blaché opened her film studio, Solax Company. She directed and produced hundreds of films, primarily melodramas and comedies. She also included “unmentionable” topics such as equality in marriage, women as business leaders and cross-dressing. Actors and actresses became famous through her films.
1968 – Guy- Blaché died on March 24 at the age of 94.

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Honoring 23 Black Women, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists


Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I published three ebooks in 2020: Women and Adversity, Honoring 23 Black Women; Women and Adversity, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers; and Women and Adversity, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. These books are meant to be study guides for all students from grade school through college to help in choosing topics for assignments and to learn more about these noteworthy women. Go to, and to learn more.

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