Enlighten Thy Daughter

Enlighten Thy Daughter is a 1917 American silent drama film directed and written by Ivan Abramson.

Enlighten Thy Daughter
Directed byIvan Abramson
Produced byEnlightenment Photoplay Corporation
Written byIvan Abramson
StarringFrank Sheridan, Katharine Kaelred, Zena Keefe
Distributed byIvan Film Productions
Release date
  • January 28, 1917 (1917-01-28)
Running time
7 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


The exploitation/sexual hygiene film warns against the dangers of premarital sex. Lillian Stevens (played by Zena Keefe) is young woman who ends up having sex with Harold Winthrop (played by James W. Morrison) after both are caught in an unexpected storm during a date. Of course, she gets pregnant. Mom does not realize Lillian has been out all night due to her own gambling addiction. The same young man later starts dating Lillian's cousin Ruth (played by Rubye De Remer). They get engaged, but Lillian's pregnancy—and the identity of the father—is revealed when she dies from an illegal abortion, and Ruth breaks off the engagement.[1]



The New York Times was critical of the film, calling it an "inept and melodramatic variant of the theme of the danger that lurks in the failure to apprise the young of dangers by which they are beset."[2] Other reviews were not as unkind, however, calling it a "remarkable drama, tense and thrilling,"[3] and agreeing with the movie's advertising claim to be "the most tremendous moral force the screen has ever known."[4]

The movie was a box office success, and has been described as director Abramson's biggest hit.[5]

A remake was released in 1934 (the only Abramson film ever remade).[6]


  1. Langman, Larry. American Film Cycles: The Silent Era, p. 325 (1998)
  2. (29 January 1917). The Newest Film Crusade: "Enlighten Thy Daughter" an Inept Movie Melodrama., The New York Times
  3. (1 September 1917). "Enlighten Thy Daughter": Sensational New York Film Success Comes to Park Theatre, Youngstown Vindicator
  4. (23 June 1919). Enlighten Thy Daughter Returns, Calgary Herald
  5. Slide, Anthony. Early American cinema, p. 204 (1994)
  6. Koszarski, Richard. Hollywood on the Hudson, p. 302 (2008)
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