While I was experimenting with Windows Live Movie Maker to make an 'artists impression' of the life and times of Theodor Scheimpflug, I came across the Internet Archive. This is a remarkable library of online content, a real treasure trove of old journals, texts, music, audio recordings and early films. I did know the Archive from my search for Scheimpflug articles, but I didn't know that they had so many early movies. Try this link for a sample of silent films.
The best thing is that you can download the films and save them on your harddisk or use them in a film of your own. I downloaded a 1940's film about the history of aviation and took some scenes from it to use in my Scheimpflug film.
Have a look at the Internet Archive and while you are doing so, see if you can find some old photography magazines. You can read them from cover to cover, download them and search trough them, full text.
Below is a sample of a real old piece of film: Leeds Bridge, filmed by LePrince in 1888.