Collections Summary


                Prelinger Archives (founded 1982), the largest privately held collection of 20th-century American advertising, educational, industrial and amateur films (and possibly the largest such collection in existence), is an unparalleled historical and cultural resource.  It collects "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial) films; historical and actuality footage; documentary films; and amateur films/home movies.  Its holdings constitute a vast resource of imagery documenting both familiar and obscure aspects of twentieth-century North American culture and society: its life, leisure, history, industry, technology and landscape.  The archives focuses primarily on collecting, cataloging and documenting films not held in other repositories, and attempts to preserve a broad cross-section of ephemeral film for the use of scholars, researchers, producers and interested members of the general public.

                Since its organization in 1983, Prelinger Archives has served a wide spectrum of patrons, including scholars, researchers, media producers, artists and members of the general public.  It has furnished moving image material to thousands of film, television, multimedia and other productions.  Income from stock footage licensing has sustained the archives, facilitated its rapid growth, subsidized access for noncommercial users and permitted the rescue of important collections that would otherwise never have been saved.  Though Prelinger Archives is one of a dwindling number of historical moving image collections that remain under independent ownership, it is currently represented for stock footage sales by Archive Films and The Image Bank, subsidiaries of Getty Images.

                The archives holds some 45,000 completed films; an estimated 30,000 cans or rolls of unedited footage; and approximately 250 hours of amateur film.  The total can count exceeds 125,000.  A considerable amount of post-1935 footage is in color.  Of the completed films, it is estimated that 24,000 titles represent sponsored films; 20,000 educational films; and 1,000 newsreels, entertainment and television films.  Approximately 60% of the completed films are in the public domain.  The collection continues to grow rapidly.

                Videotape masters (approx. 600 hours) or viewing copies exist for approximately 5,000 films and units of unedited footage in the collection.  Master tapes are generally Betacam SP, 1" and D2; viewing copies generally 3/4" and VHS.  Almost all viewing and research is done with videotape copies; an Elmo film-to-tape transfer unit is used in house to transfer 16mm positive film to videotape.

                With few exceptions, Prelinger Archives has avoided collecting productions that originate on videotape or videotape transfers from film for which no film element is held.  Our priority is to collect endangered ephemeral film material, and the issues raised by collecting videotape (format obsolescence, the necessity for recopying and for retaining equipment capable of playing back obsolete formats) would severely stretch our capabilities.

                Coverage begins in 1903 and extends into the 1980s.  Preprint materials (original film elements or printing elements used in the manufacture of copies for projection) are held on some 18,000 (approximately 40%) of the completed film titles in the collection.  This is a significant issue as far as ephemeral films are concerned.  Given the extremely large number produced and the specialized nature of many titles, it is highly unlikely that funding will ever be available to preserve a broad cross-section of the genre.  The existence of high-quality preprint materials, therefore, increases the chance that the film will survive over time, and makes possible the production of higher-quality copies in the future.

Content and Significance

                Ephemeral films were generally produced to fulfill specific objectives at specific times, and most often were not considered to be of value afterwards.  In retrospect, they provide unparalleled evidence of the visual appearance and ambiance of their time, and function as rich, evocative, and often entertaining documentation of the American past.

                Included in the collection are films produced by and for many hundreds of important U.S. corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions.  The collection currently contains over 10% of the total production of ephemeral film between 1927 and 1987, and is arguably the most complete and varied collection in existence of films from these poorly-preserved genres.  Tracing the history of public policy, popular culture, corporate culture, commercial speech and sociopolitical discourse through much of the century, the collection contains films representing a broad spectrum of points of view and achieves great depth in many important subject areas.

                The collection is an important primary research and teaching resource for scholars and researchers in many fields, including American studies, history, political science, business and labor history, media and communications, art history, cinema studies, cultural theory, gender studies, material culture, anthropology, and ethnography.

                Frequently offering more than just evidence, ephemeral films document past persuasions and anxieties.  They show us not only how we were, but how we were supposed to be.  Most of the films in Prelinger Archives were produced to promote products, corporations or ideas; to educate, convince or to propagandize.  Consequently, the points of view they represent are often as interesting as the images they include, and many of the seemingly antiquated perspectives they espouse may in fact foretell our future as much as they recall our past.

                Industry statistician and ephemeral film historian Thomas W. Hope estimates that almost 400,000 ephemeral films were produced between 1917 and the late 1970s.  Although ephemeral films constitute the numerically dominant genre in American film production, archives have focused very little attention on preserving these often historically and culturally important works, and many important titles appear no longer to survive.  Few repositories focus their collecting efforts in this area, and the dissolution of many production companies has resulted in the disposal of their materials. 

Cataloging and Database

                Prelinger Archives maintains a database of film and videotape materials in its collection that presently totals over 36,800 filmographic records.  The database includes physical inventory information, filmographic data, shelf location, and, for many films, extensive visual and textual description.  The database is maintained in FileMaker Pro and is structured so as to permit export into different database formats when and if this may be desired.  Each identifiable "cut" (completed) film is represented by a distinct record, which lists all film or videotape elements associated with that title in the "Holdings" field.  Unedited or raw footage, outtakes, amateur films and other materials not characterizable as "cut" films is represented by a record for every can or container.   If all moving image materials currently held in Prelinger Archives were fully accessioned and cataloged, we estimate the database would contain approximately 75,000 records.

                In addition, paper records, inventory sheets and finding aids exist or have been prepared for approximately 5,000 additional items.  As of yet, this information has not, for the most part, been incorporated into the database. 

                Information in the database is derived from inspection of physical elements, content analysis, third-party sources such as catalogs and reference books, and material found in trade publications.  An effort is made to authority check database information on a regular basis and to maintain high editorial standards.  While certain records are densely detailed and editorially sound, others are little more than simple physical inventory records.  However, inventory and cataloging work is continually in process and constitutes a major part of the day-to-day activity around the collection. 

Collections Summary

                This summary describes distinct motion picture collections acquired as such by Prelinger Archives.  It also describes additional film materials by genre or subject matter when such materials either were not acquired as part of a distinct collection, or in cases where description by genre may be more meaningful than description by collection.

                Many items in the archives were acquired individually or extracted from miscellaneous accumulations of film, and are not described as part of the collections below.

                Item counts and statistics represent best estimates and are designed to err on the side of conservatism, but are naturally subject to revision and inventory.


ABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY COLLECTION (ca. 1930s-1960s, 569 titles, 16mm; release prints).

                Abilene Christian University (Abilene, Texas) at one time maintained a distribution library of educational and sponsored films, but placed the material into storage for an estimated twenty years prior to 1996.  The collection includes many release prints that appear to have seen little or no use, and are thus in unusually good condition.  An estimated 25% of the collection is in color, mostly dye-stable Kodachrome and ECO prints.  Key subject areas include geography, economics, persuasion and propaganda, social guidance, psychology and political science.

                The collection contains a significant group of "free enterprise education" films, produced by organizations such as the National Education Program, that reflect free-market, anti-government interventionist ideology.  Most of these films were produced in the 1950s and early 1960s and were intended for lunchtime workplace showings.  There is also a strong collection of World War II-era public information and propaganda films produced by U.S. government agencies and civilian organizations.  Other key educational titles include rare Kodachrome prints of Dating: Do's and Don'ts (Coronet, 1949) and High School Prom (Coronet, 1958).

                The entire collection has been inventoried and/or catalogued in the archival database.



 (1940s-1970s, approx. 500 titles, 16mm, release prints, color and black and white).

                This typical media center collection contains educational films produced by commercial producers and about 50 titles sponsored by corporations and nonprofit organizations.  Titles include The Safflower Story (Pacific Vegetable Oil Corp.), Collegebound (University of California at Berkeley) and Naturally a Girl (Personal Products Division of Johnson & Johnson).  There is a significant collection of television programs produced by National Educational Television (NET), and a number of documentaries originally produced and aired by San Francisco educational TV station KQED.  A small but significant subset of the collection is made up of films produced in or about the San Francisco Bay Area.

                Condition varies from average to excellent.  Approximately 50% of the material is in color, and of that approximately 20% is Kodachrome or Ektachrome.  Also included in the holdings figure above is an undetermined but small number of films originating from the Berkeley (Calif.) Public Schools media center.


AMATEUR FILM COLLECTIONS (not elsewhere classified) (1915-1980, 16mm (approx. 75%), 35mm (a small amount), 8mm and Super 8mm (approx. 25%), approx. 300 hours; mostly reversal original).

                Although widespread archival interest in amateur film is a relatively new phenomenon, Prelinger Archives has been collecting these most ephemeral of all films since its inception.  It may seem odd that a collection like ours, so devoted to the collection of institutional and corporate expression, maintains an active interest in personally produced "home movies" and unpublished amateur productions, but this is in fact highly consistent with our interest in preserving the history of everyday life and culture.  As personal, rather than institutional, expression, amateur film documents evidence and histories that might otherwise go unrecorded, and contributes to a narrative that is still almost completely untold: the story of individuals and their engagement with the filmmaking process.

                As shown in our extensive collection of amateur film, the camera was witness to quotidian events and special ceremonies of many types, recording not only what the makers wished to record but also an immensely rich world of unconscious and unprocessed behavior.  Ethnographers and psychologists have long realized that home movies can be keys to understanding body language, gender roles and relations, kinship and conflict.  Filmmakers, especially independent and documentary producers, are now looking to amateur film for  fresher and more incisive visions of the past that will resonate with viewers' personal experience.  Of the hundreds of incipient films waiting to be made from material in our archives, many of the most compelling might be made from amateur film.

                Most of our amateur material is held as part of distinct collections, a few of which are described in this summary.  A large number of odd reels and miscellaneous amateur material was acquired on a casual basis from flea markets, auctions and collectors, and there are also amateur films that are contained within larger collections.  Approximately 15% of the amateur film material has been put through a preliminary cataloging and identification process.  Much of the information garnered through this process is now part of our archival database, but some shotlists and content analysis is still in paper form.

                Subject areas covered and highlights include: family and leisure activities in the United States and Canada, beginning ca. 1925; picketing and strike activities by United Auto Workers of America (CIO) members in Michigan (ca. 1937-38); V-J celebrations and postwar homecomings in San Francisco, 1945; extensive coverage of U.S. and foreign travel; views of industrial towns and landscapes in West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan; coverage of affluent families and their home and leisure activities in Connecticut, Indiana, California, Massachusetts and other states; a small collection of films picturing the life of an affluent white family in Little Rock, Arkansas and their relationship with African American domestic workers in their employ (early 1930s); films from a Filipino American family in northern California (late 1950s-early 1960s); a number of dramatic films produced by amateur filmmakers; and World's Fairs, especially New York 1939-40, San Francisco 1939-40 and New York 1964-65.


AMERICAN TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH CO. / BELL SYSTEM / WESTERN ELECTRIC FILMS (1930s-1970s, ca. 120 titles, 35mm and 16mm; original elements, printing elements and release prints).

                Prior to its breakup, AT&T (together with its related companies) was one of the most prolific corporate media producers in North America.  Our holdings begin in the mid-1920s with How to Use a Dial Telephone, produced in Fresno, California, and extend through the late 1950s and early 1960s, when AT&T produced a number of big-budget Technicolor spectaculars.  This group of films was made both for internal and external use, and ranges from training to institutional and promotional films.  The collection traces the history of AT&T and its various subsidiaries and operating companies, including Western Electric, Southwestern Bell, New Jersey Bell and New York Telephone. 

                Key titles include A Nation at Your Fingertips (1951), on the development of customer-dialed long distance calling; Once Upon a Honeymoon (1956), a Hollywood-style musical directed by Gower Champion, on the telephone as design accessory in the modern home; Century 21 Calling (1962), on innovations in consumer communications technology, photographed against the backdrop of the Seattle World's Fair; and Just Imagine!(1948), a stop-motion animation film showing the assembly of a telephone set from hundreds of small parts.  We also hold 35mm color negatives and optical tracks on four of the Bell System Science Series films, produced by Frank Capra Productions; these films were seen by millions of American students and remain in distribution today.

                The collection is approximately 75% color.  Of the color material, about 33% is Eastmancolor print, the remainder Kodachrome, color reversal or IB Technicolor.  Approximately 25% of the collection is held in preprint form.  Almost all of the collection has been catalogued or inventoried in our database.


ATLANTA, GEORGIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS / GEORGIA STATE LIBRARY COLLECTIONS (1930s-1950s, ca. 860 titles, 16mm; release prints)

                The preponderance of these collections (which were acquired at the same time from the same source) is nationally released educational films, but they also contains significant holdings of regionally produced educational films and a number of rare sponsored film titles.

                Films from the 1960s and later are not represented in these collections, which sat in storage for many years until we acquired them.  They serve, therefore, as a kind of "time capsule" that indicates the nature of a typical urban educational library of 1950s vintage.  Subject areas of special interest include tuberculosis and its treatment; the Southern textile industry (The Greater Goal); optics and human vision; and numerous social guidance films.  One unusual title, The Alchemist in Hollywood, was produced by Consolidated Film Industries in the 1930s and focuses on the chemistry of motion picture processing. There are a number of scarce films by Sid Davis Productions (5 titles); 220 Coronet titles; 101 Encyclopaedia Britannica titles; and 9 titles released by Almanac Films.

                Approximately 15% of the collections are color, almost all Kodachrome and ECO.  Many of the color release prints are in excellent condition, and in fact the overall condition of these collections is much better than usual for release print collections.  All titles have been inventoried or catalogued in our database.


IVAN BESSE COLLECTION (1938-39, 150 minutes, 16mm; camera original)

                Ivan Besse, a projectionist at the Strand Theatre in Britton (Marshall County), South Dakota, produced his amateur films as an attempt to increase midweek attendance at the theatre during the Depression.  With camera in hand, he ventured onto Main Street, then throughout town and finally all over the county, shooting passersby, parades, proms and public works projects. When each three-minute film came back from the lab in Chicago, he turned it into a kind of self-published newsreel, screening it on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings accompanied by his humorous, live narration.

                The one hundred and fifty minutes of Ivan Besse's films document the great and small events of 1938-39 in a town that most of us will otherwise never get to visit. They depict a small-scale, intimately featured landscape -- and provide a richly detailed snapshot of human activity in a public space known as Main Street. They also document landscape in one of its most profound senses: a shared arena in which people work, desire and interact, experiencing a place and leaving behind traces of their labors and activities.  Finally, they show the "dirty Thirties" in a manner that transcends historical and institutional cliché.  In sum, this is one of the most important amateur film collections in the archives, forming a rich record of life in the Great Plains during the Depression.

                In spring 1991, the films were brought back to the Strand Theatre and shown at a special screening narrated by Ivan Besse himself.  The event received national publicity and demonstrated the remarkable power of amateur film as a means of stimulating consciousness of local history.   We hold a videotape transfer of the collection narrated by Ivan Besse, in which he identifies people and places contained in the films and offers his personal interpretation of the events they show.


BETHEL COLLEGE COLLECTION (1940s-1980s, approx. 188 titles, approx. 270 cans, 16mm, release prints, color and black and white)

                This collection was donated to Bethel College (North Newton, Kansas) by Glenn D. McMurry, an alumnus who served as distribution chief for the National Audiovisual Center.  It consists of release prints of primarily U.S. Government-produced films, most apparently distributed at one time by the Center, plus a number of non-Government produced titles, probably acquired for showing within U.S. Government agencies.  Prior to our acquiring the collection, some prints were given to the Library of Congress and the Kansas Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, Kans.)

                Titles, many of which are part of familiar government film series, range from the quotidian (Cathode Ray Oscilloscope, Building a Wooden Rib) to the unusual (Management of Mass Casualties: Psychological Casualties, A Planned Town).  A number of titles, especially those produced by components of the U.S. Department of Defense, appear to be difficult to obtain outside Federal agencies in ordinary situations.  In fact, since NAVC drastically reduced its distribution collection several years ago, most of these titles are no longer easily obtainable except through special order.  One title, My Trip Abroad, concerns the life of a German exchange student in the United States, and was apparently directed or produced by Glenn McMurry.

                The collection appears to be in good to excellent condition.  All items are shelved and catalogued in our database. 


BONOMO COLLECTION (1928-68, approx. 10,000 feet, 28 items, 16mm, black and white and color; reversal original and one release print)

                This amateur film collection, donated by the Bonomo family, consists of family home movies shot by Nathan Levy of Briston Street, Bronx, N.Y. (1928-49).  Mr. Levy was father of Rosakate Bonomo, donor of the collection.  There is coverage family activities, rituals and vacations, including Lake Sunapee, N.H. (1930s); Miami, Florida (1936 and 1943-44); Key West (1947); California (ca. 1930s-40s); and a honeymoon at Grossinger's Hotel in the Catskills (1949).  One reel, shot by Mr. Levy, shows President Franklin D. Roosevelt opening two public works projects coordinated by Robert Moses: the Whitestone Bridge and LaGuardia Airport, New York City (1939).  There is also one release print (1000 feet) recording a Spanish lesson taught by Rosakate Bonomo's husband in the New York City public schools.

                The collection is in very good to excellent condition, with no sign of vinegar syndrome.  All items have been inventoried and records are in our database.


LOUISE BRANCH COLLECTION (ca. late 1930s-mid 1950s, approx. 30 titles, 200 cans, 60% 16mm, 40% 35mm (nitrate and safety); an additional six boxes of material remain uncatalogued at this time; original elements, release prints, outtakes and unedited footage).

                Louise Branch, a member of a prominent family in Richmond, Virginia, made films relating to post-World War II relief efforts, the prevention of cruelty to animals, dog training, and Mexican art and culture.  The collection includes cut films and unedited footage in these areas; color reversal footage of Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House and neon signs in New York's Times Square, circa 1940; and substantial family-related material, documenting the life and activities of a comfortable family living on a Virginia plantation, and picturing African American plantation workers.  We believe this collection will yield many items of great historical interest when it is completely catalogued.

                The condition of this material varies.  Many of the films need recanning, conservation work and identification.  In addition to the material described and tabulated above, there are six unopened cartons of miscellaneous material whose nature is now yet known.


BROOKLYN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM COLLECTION (ca. 1930s-1970s, 150 cans, 16mm, release prints)

                Deaccessioned by the Museum in 1995, the collection consists of commercially acquired educational films, mostly relating to nature, science and the arts.  There are also four locally produced films (sponsored by Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Museum itself).

                The collection is in fair to very good condition.  About ten items have been damaged by poor handling in the past.  The collection is partially inventoried in our database at this time.


CALVIN PRODUCTIONS / CALVIN LABORATORIES (ca. 1935-1981, approx. 1,800 titles, 3,500 boxes and 500 cans, 99.9% 16mm, mostly color and black-and-white reversal, the remainder 35mm and 9.5mm; representing approx. 25,000 distinct film rolls; original elements, printing elements, approx. 200 release prints, outtakes and overs).  Approximately 1,710 titles are held in preprint form, totaling approximately 1,026,000 feet.  We hold release prints on approximately 200 titles, totaling approximately 120,000 feet.  Finally, we hold between 7 and 10 million feet of outtakes, "overs" and other unedited footage; 75% of this material is color reversal, 25% black-and-white reversal, a trace amount being negative and print.

                The Calvin Company, first organized in 1931 in Kansas City, Missouri, was throughout its life a technical innovator and creative force within the nontheatrical film industry.  Calvin was an early developer of 16mm release printing and sound-on-film technology, and a prolific producer until it ceased operations in the early 1980s.

                The Calvin collection, which is made up almost exclusively of preprint material and outtakes, contains both its own productions and film elements held on behalf of laboratory clients.  The majority of the cut films are sponsored productions; others are educational films.  Many of these titles appear to possess great historical or cultural significance, if their titles and sponsors are any judge, but few have been seen.  Sponsors include Southwestern Bell Telephone, Caterpillar Tractor, D-X Sunray Oil Company, the University of Oklahoma, Westinghouse, the Reorganized Church of Latter-Day Saints, and numerous nonprofit, educational and community organizations throughout the Midwest and Southwest.  The coverage of mid-America is excellent and wide-ranging.  There are approximately 200 early 16mm industrial and sponsored films (1931-1940); many old Calvin in-house productions shot in around Kansas City, showing street scenes, local landmarks and activities; and numerous films from small production companies in the lower Midwest, mountain states and Southwest.  The outtake collection is primarily drawn from in-house productions, and contains a vast array of imagery.  In sum, this collection will take a great deal of time to catalogue, but promises to contain a great deal of fascinating material.

                We hold a number of early films directed by Robert Altman when he was a staff director at Calvin, made in the early 1950s before his first feature The Delinquents.  These titles include The Magic Bond (produced for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1956) and The Sound of Bells (produced for B.F. Goodrich Co., early 1950s).

                Also held is a selection of the Calvin Workshop films, produced by and for attendees of the annual Calvin Workshops, held to orient, educate and improve the work of nontheatrical filmmakers.  Often intentionally amusing, these films document the culture and consciousness of this industry, about which little has been written.

                Almost all the Calvin material is stored in an offsite storage facility.  Cut films for which we have preprint (except for approx. 600 uninventoried titles) are included in our database, but at this time they are not accessible by specific location. 


CITIZENS FOR DECENT LITERATURE COLLECTION (ca. 1964-66, 2 cans, 2,400 feet, 16mm, color)

                Citizens for Decent Literature was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, by several Catholic laymen in the late 1950s.  One cofounder, Charles Keating, was later to become well-known in conjunction with the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s.  As part of its crusade against obscenity and pornography, CDL produced several films, two of which exist in our collection.  Perversion for Profit (ca. 1964), narrated by Los Angeles television personality George Putnam, rails against newsstand obscenity and includes numerous examples of obscene and pornographic publications.  Printed Poison (ca. 1966) is a similar film with dramatized sequences.  Both films have great value as documents of the continuing contention between free speech advocates and the anti-pornography movement, and deserve to be seriously studied as complex tracts of persuasion.

                Both films are Eastmancolor release prints and undergoing fading.  However, these are uncommon titles whose historical value may outweigh their degraded condition.  Both are in the public domain.


GEORGE B.C. CLARK COLLECTION (1920s-1960s, 475 titles, 35mm and 16mm, approx. 400,000 feet, 99% release prints, 1% preprint)

                George B.C. Clark, a longtime resident of the New Jersey shore area, worked as a motion picture projectionist and collected a wide variety of film over many years.  This collection comes to us through his daughter, a professional magician residing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Clark strove to collect rare film material and at several points worked with the American Film Institute and Library of Congress, donating nitrate film for preservation.

                Our portion of the Clark collection includes everything except highly deteriorated nitrate film and his erotic film collection, neither of which was made available to us.  The collection spans many genres, including features, studio shorts, cartoons, educational and industrial films, home movies, newsreels, trailers, musical films (approx. 150 Soundies and Telescriptions), burlesque shorts, and much miscellany.  Many of the cans and containers still hold Mr. Clark's obsessively detailed notes about the state of the films and when they were screened.  Together the collection offers a well-rounded picture of a typical film collector's tastes in the 1940s through 1960s.  That said, however, the collection also contains a number of unusual titles and rarities.

                In addition to dozens of titles distributed for home use by Official Films, Castle Films, Niles and other companies serving film collectors in the pre-video era, the collection contains such items as: Travel Time: Freedomland (1963), a promo for the ill-fated Bronx amusement park in the shape of the United States; twelve episodes of The Clue (late 1940s, ea. 10 min), an episodic detective series asking the audience to solve the mystery at hand; The Cougar Hunt (ca. 1920s), a very old Federal Government film on sanctioned hunting to control livestock losses; It's Fun to Reduce (1955); Maintenance of Roads (U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, ca. 1920s); The Human Bridge (1949), a Ford Motor Company-sponsored film peeking behind the locked doors of the company's design and styling division; Through the Day at Haines House (Dr. E.N. Altfather, ca. 1930s), showing life and activities at a Presbyterian church camp and mission home for Alaskan children; and The Road of Tomorrow (sponsored by Esso Standard Oil Company, ca. 1930s), on the newly constructed Pennsylvania Turnpike.

                Feature-length films (about 10) in the collection include The Forsaken Jew, Jim the Penman, and The Lady Says No.

                Cartoon series represented in the collection include: The Little King series; Kiko the Kangaroo (Terrytoons); Private Snafu (Warner Bros. for U.S. Army); Mr. Magoo; Felix the Cat; George Pal Puppetoons; Mickey Mouse and many others.

                The collection is 95% 16mm, 5% 35mm.  All but a few items have been inventoried and entered in the database, excepting only some 35mm material and a few hard-to-identify items.  Condition of most films is good to very fine, except approx. 5% that have been damaged by heat or water in the past.


SAMUEL DATLOWE / SUN DIAL FILMS COLLECTION (1920s-1950s, ca. 60 items, 35mm and 16mm, preprint and release prints, nitrate and safety)

                This collection was obtained from the family of Samuel G. Datlowe, producer and principal in Sun Dial Films, Inc., a New York-based production company specializing in sponsored and educational films.  It includes release prints for a number of films produced by Sun Dial, including its most famous production, Preface to a Life (1950), on child psychology.  There are also a number of family films.

                In addition, there is a 35mm nitrate negative (4 reels) on The Babe Ruth Story (ca. 1920s) and various other elements on that film.  Relating to this film are also several binders of documentation, logs and shot lists.  We also hold a small number of items documenting Mr. Datlowe's life and work in the motion picture industry.

                The collection is at present uninventoried and uncatalogued.  Condition ranges from good to very good, and there are at present no signs of deterioration on The Babe Ruth Story.


DEARBORN (MICHIGAN) PUBLIC LIBRARY COLLECTION (approx. 1,423 titles, 16mm; release prints.  A finding aid consisting of partial copies of the Dearborn catalog cards is available).

                The Dearborn Public Library collection was acquired on a continuing basis as the City of Dearborn declared various subsets of it to be surplus property.  Our holdings include the entire "archival" portion of the film collection (their term for noncirculating material of historic or artistic value) and a large part of the remainder of the collection.

                The collection was assembled largely by film librarian and scholar James L. Limbacher, whose broad interests and open-minded perspectives on acquisition resulted in the creation of an unusually diverse and interesting library.  It contains many rare sponsored films, a number of documentaries and "films as art," and many educational films. 

                Well cared for by the Library, the collection is in better condition than many other comparable collections.  About two-thirds of the color films which we have inspected are faded Eastmancolor; the remainder Kodachrome or IB Technicolor.  Almost all titles have been inventoried and/or catalogued in our database.


WALTER ENGEL COLLECTION (1940s-1960s, 25 titles, 16mm, black and white and color, release prints and 1 negative)

                A gift of his daughter, the Engel collection contains television commercials and a few sponsored films that Mr. Engel produced during his work for his New York-based production company, Walter Engel Productions, and chose to save when he retired.  The commercials include: a compilation of approx. 8 famous Chunky chocolate bar spots, starring Arnold Stang; a compilation of "comedy in TV commercials" (approx. 10 items); a selection of approx. 10 spots for Newport cigarettes; 9 spots advertising Sunbeam bread (ca. 1960s); a roll of six spots, including the famous "Think Small" spot for Volkswagen of America, from the famous ad campaign created by Doyle Dane Bernbach; a roll of spots from Grey Advertising; and a roll of spots from BBD&O.  Longer films include: Greater Victory (National Council of Christians and Jews, 1945), a dramatic vision of a post-World War II world that has transcended racial and religious prejudice; two films for American Bakeries Company, The Magic Bread Box and Menu Magic (ca. 1940s-1950s); Operation Big Chance, produced for Calso Chevron; and What New Means (Ford Motor Company). 

                Also of note is New York World's Fair 1939 (16mm, 20 min., black and white, negative only), with numerous views of the Fair.  This appears to be an independently produced film in very good to excellent condition.

                The collection is in very good to excellent condition.  A number of the TV spot compilation reels contain contents lists.  All items are inventoried in our database.


JERRY FAIRBANKS PRODUCTIONS (1940s-1970s, approx. 70 titles, 35mm and 16mm; release prints.  A few production records are held).

                Gerald "Jerry" Fairbanks (1909-1996) worked in Hollywood as cinematographer, director and producer.  His early work on feature films gave way to a much-heralded career as a producer of short subjects, including the Popular Science, Unusual Occupations and Speaking of Animals series.  In the late 1940s, he became a producer of films for television.

                In the 1950s, he turned his attention to sponsored film production, specializing in high-budget Hollywood-style industrial films.  Films in our collection representing his major clients include the Bell System (Once Upon a Honeymoon and Decorating Unlimited), Montgomery Ward & Co. (Styled in California), National Association of Mortgage Bankers (The Road to Better Living), Chrysler-Plymouth, and a number of conservative political organizations.  His films exemplify sponsored film as art and product, and continue to delight today's audiences.

                The collection includes 35mm color preprint materials on a number of the Bell System Science Series films, originally produced by Frank Capra Productions and later reissued by Fairbanks's company.  Bearing familiar titles like About Time and Gateways to the Mind, these films delighted school audiences throughout the 1960s and 1970s and are still in homevideo release.  Most of the material in this collection, though, consists of Fairbanks' own studio prints. 

                One key film, A Picture is Worth 2000 Words (produced ca. 1947-48), depicts the activities and product of the Fairbanks studios in Hollywood, and offers a privileged (and unusual) glimpse inside an industrial/sponsored film production company.  Century 21 Calling (1962), produced for the Bell System, is a tour of the Seattle World's Fair and a preview of futuristic telephone innovations, some of which remain with us today, some forgotten.  We also have three films in the Speaking of Animals series.

                The collection is 75% color (mostly Kodachrome and IB Technicolor); 25% black and white.  Condition is good to excellent, except for a few studio prints (duplicate copies) that were cannibalized from time to time for replacement footage.  We hold a copy of Fairbanks' complete production list, which includes many films not now known to exist or be obtainable, and a few other production records. 


FORD FOUNDATION COLLECTION (ca. 1960s-1980s, approx. 17 titles, 16mm,  release prints)

                Donated by the Ford Foundation, this uninventoried collection includes films made by the Foundation to explain and publicize funding programs.  Most titles are approx. 30 min. and were probably produced or formatted for half-hour TV slots.

                The material has not yet been examined for condition or content.


FRITH FILMS COLLECTION (ca. 1943-1970, approx. 88 titles, 16mm; release prints, original and printing elements.  Distribution catalogs and some production records are held).

                Emily Benton Frith produced educational films on home and farm life, the activities of U.S. federal agencies, and middle-class life around the world.  Aimed mainly at elementary through junior-high level students, Frith's films combine the visual style and language of amateur films with child-friendly narration.  However, their subject matter transcends banality.  As documents of farm life in the western San Fernando Valley prior to urbanization (Fire: Patty Learns What To Do, Family Teamwork and Patty Garman: Little Helper), Cold War-era homages to capitalism and individual freedom (What It Means to Be an American, Bill Garman: 12-Year-Old Businessman); and pleas for racial and intergroup tolerance (Mother Mack's Puppies Find Happy Homes), they pack dense subtexts and offer a rich visual record.  Another series of films combines social studies, geography and language instruction, visiting children of middle-class families throughout the world.

                As a whole, the collection includes original color reversal elements and positive soundtracks for most titles, a number of duplicate negatives and negative tracks, and the existing inventory of release prints maintained for preview and sales purposes.  All of the color film materials are Anscochrome or Kodachrome, in very good to excellent condition.  Between 35 and 40 titles are listed in the database at this point.  We hold some production records, printed study guides for almost all of the films, publicity stills, some sales records, and the Bell & Howell 16mm camera with which Mrs. Frith shot the films.

                In the 1970s, Mrs. Frith sold her production and distribution assets to William Rusher of Carmel Valley, Calif., from whom we acquired them in 1985.  In addition to films directed and produced by Mrs. Frith, we also hold several titles produced after she sold her company, including An Afro-American Thing.  


BERT GOULD/BAY AREA ARCHIVES COLLECTION (1903-1970s, approx. 900 titles, 1,350 cans, 35mm and 16mm, nitrate and safety; original elements, printing elements and release prints.   Some production records, historical materials and related still photographs are held.  We also hold various finding aids).

                Bert Gould worked in the radio and motion picture industries for many years and collected a substantial amount of film footage relating to Northern California history and culture, centered on the San Francisco Bay Area.  He is a skilled preservationist, and over the years copied substantial amounts of 35mm nitrate film to 16mm safety stock, but retained the original nitrate whenever it was not severely deteriorated.

                The collection is a highly significant historical resource relating to this key region and contains a great deal of unique imagery.  Special strengths include early aviation (1910s-1940s); the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915); shipping, railroads and transportation; early cinematographic and sound experimentation; World War I; Asians in California; trade and tourism on the Pacific Rim; sports; feats of endurance and endeavor; labor history; post-earthquake real estate and infrastructure development in the San Francisco Bay Area; political and social history; early experimental animation, including the mud animation work of Chinese American animator Joseph Sunn; early newsreels; and agriculture.  There are also 93 Universal Newsreel "locals" (stories centered on the northern California region) dating from 1950 to 1957, all 35mm, which may not survive elsewhere.

                Also in the collection are a significant number of release prints representing mostly sponsored films from the 1950s through 1970s.  Industries represented include agribusiness, aerospace, railroads, shipping and stevedoring, food processing, telephone and rubber.  Some of the films in this group, such as Why Braceros? (1959) contain unusual imagery of minority groups in California.

                The combination of the Bert Gould collection with the W.A. Palmer Laboratories, Multichrome Laboratories, the University of California Extension Media Center collection, the Frank Vail collection and the Vista Productions collection (see below) constitutes a major documentary resource for the study of California, especially its northern portion.  Collectively, these Northern California-oriented collections total over 6,000 titles (over 12,000 cans).  The majority of the Gould material appears to be unique to his collection.

                The Gould collection is very complex and consists of many diverse elements.  Following is a summary of the most significant groups of film elements.  The best way to derive an understanding of the collection, however, is to examine his inventories plus other lists and finding aids in our possession.  As we acquired this collection in a number of stages, his correspondence and packing lists is also well worth examining for descriptions of material not listed earlier.

                16mm reductions from 35mm nitrate.  This subset of the collection (about 550 cans) is perhaps most easily accessible and best-documented.  These are usually positive finegrain masters, occasionally positive print, sometimes reversal.  There are also dupe negatives of some material.  We hold a lot, but not nearly all, of the matching 35mm material.  Most all of the 16mm (and corresponding 35mm) is included in his checklist.  The physical condition of the 16mm materials is excellent, but image quality will vary with the state of the 35mm source material, some of which had deteriorated by the time it was copied.  Most of this material is B&W except for tinted material, much of which relates to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

                35mm nitrate.  Some has been copied to 16mm as above; some has not.  Most, but not all of it, is enumerated in his checklist.  There is tinted material from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition here, the Joseph Sunn cartoons, the 1934 longshore strike, and much more.  Subsequent to the original Gould purchase and shipment, he furnished us with additional nitrate materials, which are mostly uncatalogued but shelved with other Gould material.  There are early sound (Reiber-Metcalf, 1931) and color film tests (the Dunning system).  Most of the nitrate is in good to excellent condition; a bit of it is in early stages of deterioration.

                35mm safety.  This includes vintage as well as preservation safety materials.  One standout is a collection of Universal Newsreel San Francisco "locals" (93 regionally specific stories, 1951-57) which may not exist in other repositories.  They are enumerated in the checklist. Condition of the safety material is excellent.

                Misc. 16mm materials and release prints (approx. 250 items).  These include amateur films of the Northern California region; Kodachrome footage of area scenes and the Golden Gate International Exposition (1939-40); world travel footage; release prints (and sometimes preprint) of films relating to San Francisco and Bay Area history and culture; release prints of industrials made by and for San Francisco companies; a print of the Lenny Bruce performance at the hungry "i" in San Francisco (ca. 1964); original elements on William Hall's and Dave Butler's film "Peking Remembered" (1967); and much more.  There is also a complete set of materials on the film of John Steinbeck's "Flight", including preprint, a 35mm release print and production documentation.  (More to come.)  A collection of stock film from the California Redwood Association is also included.  Finally, there is material from the Reiber-Metcalf sound tests (1931), copied to 16mm.  Condition of all this material is very good to excellent, as Bert Gould tended to junk film in a damaged or deteriorated state.

                Documentation relating to the films and their subjects.  This includes copies of news clippings on aviation and historical events and promotional material from early Bay Area film companies, including the Duhem company.  There are also a few (approx. 20) still photos or frame enlargements from films in the collection.




GUILD FILM LIBRARY (ca. late 1940s-early 1950s, approx. 150 rolls, 16mm, black and white, release prints)

                This collection is a syndicated stock film library apparently sold to television stations in the early days of live production, when "library footage" was "rolled in" as part of live programming.  In the form of a large box containing about 150 smaller, labeled boxes, each itself containing a 100-foot reel of 16mm positive footage, the collection is apparently designed to meet most stations' needs for generic stock scenes.  It contains U.S. and world cities and landmarks, some historical scenes, weather, modes of transportation, industrial scenes, and generic location shots.  The origin and producer of the library is unknown.

                The collection, not yet in our database, is accompanied by a mimeographed checklist and inventory.   The condition of our materials is very good to excellent.


JAM HANDY ORGANIZATION (1925-1980s, approx. 1,598 titles, 4,000 cans, 35mm and  16mm; preprint elements and release prints; some production  records, promotional materials, in-house memoranda and still photographs are also held.  We also hold card indexes and a variety of finding aids).

                The Jam Handy Organization (JHO) (Detroit, Mich. plus satellite production and sales offices located in other cities) was founded by Henry Jamison "Jam" Handy (1886-1983) in 1917, and pursued film production activities until 1968, when it was sold to Teletape Industries and operated briefly under the name Teletape Detroit.  Beginning in the 1970s, JHO recommenced production under its own name, completing a limited number of films until dissolving in the early 1980s.

                Jam Handy was the son of Moses P. Handy, a Chicago newspaper editor and promoter of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.  Early in life, Jam Handy became acquainted with noted industrialists and business figures, including Thomas A. Edison and John H. Patterson, founder of National Cash Register.  In the 1910s, Handy became conscious of persistent communication gaps between worker and employer and between corporations and the public, and committed himself to bridging these gaps through visual media.  Beginning this process by producing filmstrips (known then as slidefilms), he soon expanded into motion picture production, traveling to revolutionary Mexico to shoot his first film, an encounter with Pancho Villa sponsored by the Chicago Tribune.

                Patterson, Handy's intellectual mentor, was a strong believer in visual education.  Patterson had assembled a library of tens of thousands of lantern slides, picturing transactions, relationships, and industrial processes.  By combining these slides into sequences, he created specialized (and idiosyncratic) narratives that anticipated still image sequences as embodied in slidefilms.  Handy built upon Patterson's theories and created oblique and often distanced image sequences designed to affect and convince viewers' minds in ways that conventional sales or training pitches could not.  Although he is little known today, his contributions to the development of public relations and commercial speech are immense.

                The JHO quickly began producing films for major corporations such as General Motors, RCA and duPont.  Important early titles represented in our collection include Troubles of a Merchant (for National Cash Register, 1925) Sand on the Slippery Sidewalks of Sales (for Frigidaire Division of General Motors, 1926), and General Motors Around the World (for General Motors Export Corporation, 1927).  Most JHO films produced prior to the early 1930s apparently have not survived, but we have extensive holdings beginning in 1933.

                The Direct Selling Series (produced for the Chevrolet Division of General Motors, 1935-41) epitomizes Handy's distinctive style and approach.  (We hold 35mm safety copies of over 100 titles in this series.)  These sponsored films contain no explicit advertising, although almost all cars they show happen to be Chevrolets.  They present scientific and technological concepts and innovations in a highly accessible manner, often with enthusiastically bombastic newsreel-type narration.  Examples include Magic in the Air (1941, remade 1949 and 1955), on the promise of early television; Precisely So (1937), on precision gauging and measurement; Spot News (1937), on the transmission of photographs by wire; How You See It (1937), an elegant explanation of persistence of vision in motion pictures; and Conquering Roads (1938), picturing new highway design prototypes. 

                Also in this series are several key films picturing workers, labor processes, work life and community life during the Depression. Master Hands (for Chevrolet, 1936), believed to be unique to our collection, presents the process of automobile manufacturing as a Wagnerian elemental drama, and is an excellent example of "capitalist realism," using the representational techniques of the Soviet cinema to promote free-enterprise activities. From Dawn to Sunset (for Chevrolet, 1937), a portrait of a day in the life of a composite General Motors worker, shows factories, streetscapes and daily life in twelve cities where Chevrolet had plants, and represents a complex and antagonistic response to the birth of the United Auto Workers and the union's recent victory in General Motors plants.

                The Direct Mass Selling series also includes a number of Technicolor cartoons, for which we hold 35mm safety copies, including A Coach for Cinderella (1936), reputed to be the first sponsored film produced in three-strip Technicolor; and four others, all faintly promoting Chevrolet motor vehicles.  Other films in the series contain fascinating examples of stop-motion animation, still unattributed but resembling the European work of Oskar Fischinger.

                The Jam Handy collection also contains a significant number of World War II-era films produced both by private industry and the Federal Government.  Many of the privately sponsored films picture wartime activities from a perspective that is rarely seen by researchers today.

                The collection covers the 1950s and 1960s extensively, with numerous films (often in color) produced by and for industries such as automobile, steel, chemicals, electrical utilities and building materials.  Many films that constitute important historical documents in themselves, including Give Yourself the Green Light (for General Motors Public Relations, 1954), produced to rally public support for legislation to enable the Interstate Highway System; New Neighbor (for U.S. Steel, 1953), on the planning and construction of the Fairless Hills mill and the adjacent suburb of Levittown, Pa.; and American Engineer (for Chevrolet, 1951), a Technicolor extravaganza on the extraction of raw materials and their incorporation into the modern automobile, and, not incidentally, an assertion of American self-sufficiency in wartime.

                Broad social and cultural themes expressed in this period include the articulation of a consumerist ethos, the celebration of design and styling, American economic protectionism, the transition from mechanically based to electronically based technologies, American car culture, and the development of postwar suburbia.  Since it includes so many films produced by America's largest and most influential corporations, the JHO collection constitutes a particularly privileged (and often tendentious) view of these themes.

                In addition to its breadth and richness, the JHO collection reflects the idiosyncrasies of its primary creative influence, Jam Handy himself.  The films are quite unlike the products of other production companies, at times reflecting a persistent nineteenth-century sensibility, even well into the atomic age.  They frequently employ Brechtian alienation or estrangement techniques, which often appear quite out of place in a business-oriented setting.

                The JHO collection comprises a complex array of film elements.  Here is a basic description of some of its components.

                Release prints from the in-house preview print collection (known internally as the "Sales Example" collection).  Some of these have been recanned, while others still reside in their original fiber cases and are known as Sales "A", Sales "B", etc.  These are mostly all 16mm except for certain standouts, like our 3 IB Tech prints of Max Fleischer's Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, produced by Jam Handy for Montgomery Ward (1948) and the 110 35mm prints from the Direct Mass Selling series (1935-41).  Condition of these materials is excellent.  About half of these are black and white, half color; of the color, 85% are stable Kodachrome and ECO, 15% Eastman.

                Preprint materials.  We hold a number of JHO films in preprint form, primarily from the safety film era.

                35mm vintage release prints.  These include black and white and color 35mm prints of approx. 110 films in the Direct Mass Selling series (1935-41), all on safety stock.  This series includes very significant titles like Master Hands, From Dawn to Sunset and Leave It to Roll-Oh, all of which we believe to be unique to this collection, and many others.  IB Tech prints in this group include the Chevrolet promotional cartoons A Coach for Cinderella, A Ride for Cinderella, Peg-Leg Pedro, One Bad Knight and Nicky Nome Rides Again.   The latter four we believe to be unique.  We also hold 35mm Technicolor prints on American Harvest, American Engineer, American Maker and American Look, the last three also in SuperScope.  There are also 35mm color prints of other films (see database).


                Production records and promotional material.  We have production number records, vault records, production completion notices, music cue cards and sheets, promotional brochures, scrapbooks of promotional and marketing materials (1920s-1940s), several dozen still photographs, a "pitch book" for AMERICAN LOOK prepared by Jam Handy for their presentation to their client Chevrolet, and miscellaneous similar material.  Production records are not always complete, but tend to cover most of Handy's productions from the 1930s through 1968.  There are also two binders containing several hundred sales information sheets, originally intended for the orientation of company salespeople (known as "contact men").  These sheets reveal the intentions and audience(s) for several hundred films (approx. 1946-68) and provide a rare window into the strategy and practices of the sponsored film industry.


HARDCASTLE FILM ASSOCIATES / HARDCASTLE FILMS (1940s-1980s, 158 titles, approx. 450 cans, mostly 16mm; original elements, printing elements, release prints and stock footage).

                Hardcastle (St. Louis, Missouri) produced films for Southwestern Bell Telephone, Anheuser-Busch, Monsanto, Heritage Homes, Six Flags over Mid-America, the Dairy Council of St. Louis and numerous community and regional associations and organizations.

                The collection contains extensive coverage of industrial, commercial, recreational and philanthropic activities in eastern Missouri and in the upper Mississippi Valley, and documents St. Louis as a thriving metropolis.  Several early films directed by Charles Guggenheim promote community and social service organizations.  Sample titles include Two Little Rats and How They Grew, Posture and Personality and And One to Grow On, all produced for the Dairy Council of St. Louis.  As Others See Us (1953), another Dairy Council-sponsored film, was designed to train high-school students in the rules of social etiquette, and shows the cafeteria, the prom, and other social events at Webster Groves High School.  Two 1930s-era films produced for the St. Louis department store Stix, Baer and Fuller show internal store operations, the life of employees and a trip to New York City's garment district by a store buyer.

                The Kodachrome stock footage collection includes imagery of 1940s and 1950s St. Louis, its industries and institutions, including coverage of the African American community.  Other unedited footage was shot for the CBS News Special documentary Sixteen In Webster Groves (1966), Arthur Barron's famous film on youth and their attitudes, and for a followup documentary on Webster Groves ten years later.  A few of the cut films were not produced by Hardcastle, but were held in their storage vaults when their collection came to us.

                We hold title lists and paper inventory records, and have inventoried between 60 and 70 titles in our database.  The condition of the material is generally good to excellent, except for some early Kodachrome footage and several magnetic tracks that suffer from vinegar syndrome.


HIGHWAY SAFETY FILMS, INC. COLLECTION (1960s-1970s, approx. 35 titles, 16mm; original elements, printing elements and release prints).

                Highway Safety Films (Mansfield, Ohio) produced many of the celebrated "shock" films for use in driver training and driver education.  Using actuality footage gathered on ridealongs with the Ohio Highway Patrol, HSF produced many films whose titles have made their way into suburban legend: Signal 30, Wheels of Tragedy, Mechanized Death, The Third Killer and others.  Other HSF films in this collection include The Paperhangers, on check fraud, and several films about the activities of state police agencies.

                Preprint materials appear to be in very good to excellent condition, and outnumber release prints in this collection.  Titles are inventoried in our database.


JOHN H. HUMPHREYS COLLECTION (ca. 1950s-1980s, approx. 27 films, 16mm, color and black and white, preprint and release prints.  Collection also includes approximately 20 multimedia kits, with slides and audio cassettes.)

                John H. Humphreys shot films beginning in the 1950s, when he studied cinema production at the University of Southern California.  The collection, obtained directly from him, contains films on Iran and the Middle East and on American folkways.

                Condition is very good to excellent.  An annotated inventory prepared by Mr. Humphreys is on file.  The material has not yet been catalogued by us. 


HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA AMATEUR FILM COLLECTION (1940s-1970s, approx. 40,000 feet, 16mm, 80% color, 20% black and white, reversal original)

                Representing the lifelong career of an accomplished amateur filmmaker, this collection contains material shot at home, on the road, and in the region over a long period of time.

                Condition is very good to excellent.  There is no sign of vinegar syndrome.  About 50% of this collection has been inventoried and included in our database, and about half of that again has been described by notes taken while viewing videotape copies.


INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS MULTI-MEDIA CENTER COLLECTION (1940s-1980s, ca. 840 titles, 16mm, release prints)

                Acquired July 1999 in New York from a consortium representing private schools, this collection comprises most of a well-rounded media center collection.  Almost all titles appear to be commercially acquired educational films targeted to K-12 students.  Sample titles include: What Happens When You're Sick; Climates of the United States; The Cat's Meow; Meet the Grebes; Divorce and Other Monsters; Clean Up Your Act; Curious George; and Meeting Strangers; Red Light, Green Light.

                Titles have been inventoried and are currently being entered into our database.  Condition varies from good to excellent for used media center prints.


INTERNATIONAL FILM BUREAU COLLECTION (1930s-1980s, approx. 1,200 titles, 7,000 cans, 35mm, 16mm and super 8mm; original elements, printing elements and release prints).

                International Film Bureau was founded in 1937 by Wesley H. Greene, a prominent figure in the educational media field who was closely associated with the National Film Board of Canada, serving as their Director of Distribution in the late 1930s.  IFB distributed documentary, artistic, training and instructional films in many subject areas, and was recognized as a leader in the distribution business until their closing in late 1998.  IFB also operated in association with two other companies: College Film Center (CFC), which distributed older educational titles and many interesting titles with lesser market potential, and Trans-World Films (TWF), a distributor of classic shorts, features and films-as-art.  By itself and in association with numerous producers, IFB also produced many films.

                We hold an estimated 600+ titles in release print form, and original or printing elements on an estimated 1,000+ titles.  This recent acquisition is, as yet, only partially inventoried.  Original and master materials held represent almost all titles in the IFB, CFC and TWF catalogs, except for a relatively small number of subdistributed titles.  We hold several hundred release prints of feature films distributed by TWF, including wartime German films, a number of Spanish-language titles (including Luis Buñuel's Subida Al Cielo), and classic British feature films.

                Many titles in the collection represent important and unjustly neglected areas of nontheatrical film, including the work of John Ott (a pioneer of time-lapse photography who operated his own studio in Winnetka, Ill.); many films produced and/or sponsored by the Mental Health Film Board, directed by such filmmakers as Alexander Hammid and Irving Jacoby; and films produced by the unconventionally brilliant team of Dwight Swain and Ned Hockman, working out of the University of Oklahoma.  In addition, there are substantial holdings of short subjects, animations and films-as-art produced outside the United States, German, French and Spanish feature films (1930-50), films produced by state agencies and nonprofit organizations, and ample coverage of geography, language arts, science and art.

                Presently, the best documentation we have for this collection is published catalogs from IFB, CFC and TWF.  We also have the publicity stills file (8 drawers) containing an estimated 2,000 still photographs.


JEWISH CHARITABLE AND PHILANTHROPIC FILMS (1946-1980s, approx. 450 titles, 16mm; release prints).

                Gathered by Harold Militare, who provided audiovisual support for Jewish philanthropic and fundraising activities, this collection includes films from Hadassah, Jewish National Fund, Histadrut, United Jewish Appeal, United Israel Appeal, B'nai Zion, Women's American ORT, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and many other organizations.  The collection includes the work of such important filmmakers as Hazel Greenwald and Lasar Dunner.  Many of the films focus on the new state of Israel and the activities of immigrants; a number of films document the activities of Jewish social service organizations in the United States and contain rarely seen images of Jewish residents and communities in the New York City area.  Some of the fundraising films aimed at general audiences are in IB Technicolor.

                The collection also includes an uncommon release print of Emile deAntonio's early documentary film, Sunday, and a number of U.S. television shows including episodes of Hazel and Gunsmoke.

                Condition varies and has not been completely assessed at the time.  The release prints appear to be evenly split between Eastmancolor (often faded) and stable Kodachrome.  There are a few Technicolor release prints, and an ample number of vintage black and white prints in excellent condition. 229 titles (A through K) have been entered into the database; the rest are inventoried on file cards at this time.


KOVACS COLLECTION (1930s-1970s, est. 1,500 titles, approx. 1,000 cans and rolls, 35mm and 16mm; original elements, printing elements and release prints).

                A diverse accumulation of nonfiction film assembled by a private collector for his own pleasure, the Kovacs collection includes 35mm theatrical newsreels (Universal, Fox Movietone and News of the Day/Hearst); approximately 700 filmed television commercials (late 1950s-early 1960s), mostly for personal care products, collected by New York advertising agencies for competitive reasons; kinescopes of network news and documentary programs (1950s-1960s); a collection of short sponsored television newsfilm features distributed to stations without cost; home movies; some theatrical cartoons; and various educational and industrial films.  The collection also contains about 100 cans of 35mm nitrate finegrain masters and original negatives on many Castle Films released in the 1940s, including many of the well-known "News Parade" series.  The Castle Films material is of special significance, as these often-disparaged films were seen and collected by hundreds of thousands of amateur film collectors over a forty-year period and form an important episode in an unjustly neglected culture of amateur film collecting and exhibition.  There is also a collection of about 60,000 feet of release print representing approximately 60 Japanese-language newsreels.  Whether these represent newsreels produced by Japanese newsreel companies or American occupation authorities is still unknown.  One reel of 35mm composite positive appears to have been produced in North Vietnam; its title reads Evidence of Chemical Warfare by U.S. Forces in Vietnam.

                The 35mm newsreel collection appears to contain about 30 complete newsreels (Fox Movietone, Hearst Metrotone, Universal, Paramount and Telenews), mostly from the 1950s and 1960s, and about 50 additional distinct newsreel stories cut from complete Universal newsreels.  Many of these stories appear to be sequences looking back at famous events of the past, using footage from the Universal library.

                The collection is as yet almost completely uninventoried.  Condition varies from excellent to poor.  Many of the Japanese newsreels are on unprotected cores that have endured some physical stress.  There are many items that need cleaning.  There is a possibility that some nitrate is as yet unidentified.


JACK LEVY FAMILY COLLECTION (1931-1941, 21 cans, approx. 7,000 feet, 16mm; reversal original).

                This amateur movie collection was originally shot by and for the Jack Levy family, who derived their fortunes from a family business that produced Levy's Jewish Rye Bread.  Highlights include travel to the Soviet Union and Arctic Norway (1931); an initiation upon crossing the Arctic Circle; a fascist rally in Naples (1937); and Kodachrome coverage of the New York World's Fair (1940).

                The collection is 75% black and white, 25% Kodachrome, and is generally in very good condition.  The visual content has been logged and is described in our database.


MAINE STATE LIBRARY COLLECTION (1930s-1970s, 634 titles, 16mm, color and black and white, release prints)

                Formerly part of the Library's distribution collection, this came to us through the courtesy of Northeast Historic Film, which deaccessioned titles unrelated to Northern New England, as well as duplicate copies of certain regionally specific items.  The collection is a general interest collection of educational and training films, comprising primarily commercially purchased copies of educational films, approximately fifty U.S. Government-produced titles, approximately fifty films relating to Maine and Northern New England, and a smattering of sponsored titles.  A number of interesting films on mental and community health were produced by regional medical organizations in the 1960s.

                Though many of the cans received were worn and rust-spotted, their contents proved to be in good to very good condition.  About 10% of the collection is in color, mostly Kodachrome.  All material is inventoried in our database.


LOUIS MALLE COLLECTION (early 1980s, 19 cartons, approximately 190 "white boxes", 16mm, color negative, workprint and mag sound)

                Donated to us by Louis Malle and his production company Pretty Mouse Production, this collection comprises outtakes and trims from two feature-length documentaries Malle directed for Home Box Office (HBO) in the early 1980s.  One documentary, God's Country, visits a small town in Minnesota, interviews residents, and depicts one face of rural America.  The outtakes contain many scenes of houses, farms, rural meeting places and activities.  Another, And the Pursuit of Happiness, examines the situation of recent immigrants (legal and illegal) to the United States.  Its outtakes contain, among many other scenes, views of Chinatown in Manhattan, New York; sweatshops and restaurants; workers on Chinatown streets; interviews with Asian families and individuals; footage shot around the U.S. Mexican-border at San Ysidro, California; Border Patrol activities by night and day; officers chasing and apprehending undocumented immigrants; various images and views in California; and much more.

                Condition of the material is excellent.  There are some editors' logs and other finding aids.  The negative has been untouched, but inspection of the workprint reveals material of excellent picture and physical quality.


WILLIAM W. MATTHEWS CO. (1960s-1980s, approx. 150 titles, 500 cans; 35mm and 16mm; original elements, printing elements and release prints). 

                This collection includes a significant number of release prints from the U.S. Steel Film Library, for whom the W.W. Matthews Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.) served as distribution contractor.  The films focus on steel production and fabrication, building of bridges, packaging and other specialty steels, and steel industry advertising and promotion.  In addition, the collection contains preprint materials and release prints on several dozen films produced by Matthews for Pittsburgh-area corporations and institutions.  Details on these films are in the database.

                Most of this material is catalogued or inventoried in our database.  Condition varies from good to excellent.  Many of the U.S. Steel release prints are faded Eastmancolor.


MERIC ENTERPRISES COLLECTION  (1925-61, approx. 22,750 feet, 16mm, 30% color, 70% black and white, reversal original and release prints.  One reel (1929 and 1933) is in the original Kodacolor lenticular format).

                Bought at auction, this collection largely comprises 16mm home movies recording the activities of a family who apparently lived in Rye, New York during the 1920s and 1930s and traveled extensively as well.  About 4,000 feet is devoted to vacation footage shot in Kennebago, Maine (1925-32).  Some other reels are labeled as follows:  First Film ó Summer 1925 ó Rye (1925); Tokyo Japan and Trip to Nikko by Train (1925); Trip South (1929); Virginia (1929); Japan and Hawaii (1932); Honolulu to Kobe and Scenes In and Near Kobe (ca. 1932); Trip South  (1933); Macon (1938-39, color); Macon (1940, color);  Florida (1950); Vacation Time (1959, 2 reels, color), Saga of the Happy Wanderers (1959, color); Sunrise ó Florida Key (undated); and Pendleton #1 and #2 (undated).

                The collection also includes three commercially acquired 16mm black and white films, each on a 400-foot reel: A Century of Progress: The Fair At Night, copyright 1933 by Burton Holmes Films, Inc.; A Century of Progress (silent); and The Eruption of Vesuvius.

                Condition is fair to excellent.  Five cans suffer from vinegar syndrome.  Color and pictorial quality at the heads of reels are excellent.  None of this material has yet been viewed (except for glimpses of a few frames through a loupe), and there is no inventory except for a list of cans by title.


MILFORD, MICHIGAN COLLECTION (1930s-1960s, approx. 85 titles; 20% black and white, 80% color; release prints).

                This collection represents a small part of the films residing in the basement of a hobby shop on Milford, Michigan's main street.  It is preponderantly a collection of industrial and sponsored films with a few educational titles.  Sample titles include: From the Bottom to the Top of the World (Ford Motor Company, 1965), on test driving Mercury Comets under rugged conditions; Where the Sun Reigns (1950s), on Florida; Trees to Tribunes (1937), on the production of the Chicago Tribune newspaper [we also hold a 35mm version of this film from the 1920s in the Jam Handy collection]; and The American Home: Where the Action Is! (ca. 1950s).

                Condition ranges from good to excellent.  Of the color films, approximately half are reversal, half Eastmancolor.  There is no sign of vinegar syndrome.

                All material has been inventoried in our database, and some titles have been fully catalogued.


MODE-ART PICTURES (1937-1985, approx. 120 titles, 2,200 cans, approx. 2 million feet, 35mm and 16mm; original elements, printing elements, release prints, outtakes and stock footage). 

                Mode-Art (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was a major contract producer for industrial corporations in the Pittsburgh region.  Sponsored films in the collection provide extensive coverage of the extractive industries, steelmaking and allied industries, rivers and waterways, water transportation, bridge-building, experimental transportation, electric power generation (especially nuclear) and electricity; infrastructure building, the making of aluminum, industrial safety, the Pittsburgh flood of 1937, the activities of nonprofit and community/social service organizations in Western Pennsylvania, and the redevelopment of Pittsburgh.  The documentation of the eastern industrial belt is excellent and provides strong visual evidence of corporate rationalization and retrenchment during a period of economic change.

                The Mode-Art collection is a comprehensive and fascinating collection that promises to be full of surprises.  At the same time, we also expect it to supply a wealth of 1970s and early 1980s imagery, which is not abundant in stock footage libraries.

                Corporations and institutional entities represented in the collection include U.S. Steel and its many subsidiary companies, Allegheny Ludlum Steel, National Steel, Westinghouse Electric, Koppers Company, Dravo, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Alcoa, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iron City Beer, and many others.  Some films in the collection were produced by other companies but inherited by Mode-Art.

                The condition of these materials is generally excellent.  There are thousands of rolls of original picture negative or reversal positive, much of it in Kodachrome or ECO, all in excellent condition.  Many of these rolls served as Mode-Art's internal stock film library.  We also hold preprint materials on many of the cut films produced by Mode-Art, beginning in the 1950s and extending through the early 1980s.

                We hold a card index of most film elements, and approximately half of the preprint materials and stock footage library has been catalogued in our database.  Mode-Art's own inventory and camera logs are unevenly present, but serve as additional means of access to this fascinating collection.


MODERN TALKING PICTURE SERVICE (CHICAGO) ARCHIVAL COLLECTION (1950s-1960s, ca. 90 titles, black and white and color, release prints).

                Donated to us by the Chicago office of Modern Talking Picture Service, this collection contains examples of sponsored films distributed by Modern.  The films represent major U.S. corporations, associations and industries.  A highlight of the collection is 12 of the Calvin Workshop films produced by and for participants of the annual production workshops held at the Calvin Company (later Calvin Communications) in Kansas City, Missouri.  Beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing through the 1970s, these workshops brought together new and experienced producers and directors, lab personnel, equipment manufacturers and distributors, to address the procedures and problems of nontheatrical production.  The films illuminate fascinating aspects of 16mm production, are often humorous, and in any case are rare and revealing artifacts of the heyday of industrial film.  Sample titles include Check...and Let Me Know; How Much?; Your Name Here; and #Bfl O {ggGX  = STwWcfl x 2s4.


                The films are in good to very good condition, mostly typical for used release prints; except for the Calvin Workshop films, which are color reversal and in very good to excellent condition.  Otherwise, color is 70% Eastmancolor, 30% reversal. 

                All titles are inventoried in our database; a few are catalogued in greater detail.



MONTANA STATE LIBRARY COLLECTION (1940s-1960s, approx. 2,400 titles, 3,400 cans; 16mm; release prints).

                Obtained as surplus from the state of Montana, this expansive collection contains a wide range of titles emanating from commercial educational film producers (K-12); sponsors such as Mountain Bell, Caterpillar Tractor and Union Pacific Railroad; many U.S. government agencies; Montana state agencies; and others.  Although it bears a deceptive resemblance to other generic educational film libraries, a closer look reveals all sorts of interesting and often rare titles, many centering on the geography, industry, folkways and cultures of the Mountain region.  About 33% of the titles appear in duplicate form.

                Condition varies from fair to excellent.  Many cans are quite worn and dented.  Color films are 60% Eastmancolor, 40% reversal.  Some films have perf damage that has been repaired with sprocket tape.  Others appear never to have been run through a machine.

                All items are inventoried in our database and many are catalogued in greater detail.  We also hold a copy of the State Library's distribution catalog which contains useful filmographic information and synopses on many of the more obscure titles.


MOVIELAB COLLECTION (ca. 1940s-1982, approx. 1,800 titles, 4,500 cans, 35mm, 16mm and 8mm; original elements, printing elements, release prints and outtakes).  An inventory of material was made as it was accessioned, but it is often inaccurate.  New physical inventory records, which more or less clearly identify the contents of cans by title and customer and/or sponsor, exist at this time for about 60% of the collection.

                This collection contains unclaimed film materials from Movielab, a major New York film laboratory that ceased business in the early 1980s.  At that time, Movielab's vaults contained some 50,000 cans.  Our holdings represent every identifiable nontheatrical and nontelevision title remaining in their vaults as of 1997.

                For reasons that remain unclear, the survival rate of ephemeral films produced in the New York City area is low.  Perhaps a consequence of high real estate values that prevented long-term maintenance of film storage facilities, or perhaps because of the high attrition rate of producers and laboratories in the 1970s and 1980s, many key films appear effectively to be lost.  The Movielab collection preserves a significant fraction of the output of this once-vital industry, including many films from the 1960s and 1970s, which are a surprisingly endangered species. 

                The collection focuses strongly on the marketing of consumer goods and services, including telephones, oil and gasoline, electricity, banking and finance, textiles and clothing (including the fashion industry), watches, coffee, pharmaceuticals, computers and data processing, travel and tourism, entertainment and many more.  Hundreds of films promote the activities of nonprofit organizations and associations in many fields of endeavor.  Many important sponsored films from highly accomplished producers exist in the form of original or printing elements.  Some of these producers include Audio Productions, Dallas Jones Productions, and On Film.  Almost all titles carry the names of production companies that are now defunct.

                Although it is national in scope, the collection includes a great deal of material relevant to the history of New York City and its metropolitan area.  A number of films were shot in inner-city neighborhoods and focus on African American culture, issues and organizations.  Several of these films appear to have been produced by youth workshops in the 1960s and 1970s.

                Many fascinating footnotes to film history are also part of the collection, including a few independent productions, some amateur movies, student films, and newsreels from the early days of the Cuban revolution.

                The condition of the Movielab collection varies.  A handful of items are in manifestly poor condition due to the abysmal storage conditions in the Movielab vault following the dissolution of the company.  Most items, however, are in good to excellent condition.  The 16mm color reversal material that we have imagined appears in very good to excellent condition.

                Most Movielab cans have been shelved, and holdings records entered into our database.  For about half of the collection, titles have been identified and dated, often with the assistance of timing cards, purchase orders, or correspondence included in the cans.  In many cases we have found preprint materials in the Movielab collection for which we already hold release prints originating in other collections.  Some of our holdings records in the database include fragmentary titles, but plans are to update and enhance this information.  About 15% of the Movielab collection has not been shelved or inventoried as of this writing.


MULTICHROME LABORATORIES COLLECTION (1940s-1960s, approx. 100 titles, 300 cans, mostly color, 16mm; original elements and preprint materials).

                Multichrome Labs, a small reversal lab in San Francisco, served small production companies and independent filmmakers.  Stored for many years, this collection represents a cross-section of postwar production, focusing on agribusiness, railroads, shipping and the activities of community organizations. 

                Together with the Gould collection, W.A. Palmer Laboratories, the University of California Extension Media Center collection, the Frank Vail collection and the Vista Productions collection, Multichrome is part of a major documentary resource for the study of California, especially its northern portion.

                Most materials have been shelved and inventoried in our database.

                Condition is very good to excellent, except in the case of some rolls (notably mag soundtracks) that have been affected by vinegar syndrome.


NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION, OFFICE OF LIBRARY MEDIA TECHNOLOGY (formerly BUREAU OF VISUAL INSTRUCTION) (1930s-1970s, approx. 3,000 titles, 7,000 cans, 16mm, color and black and white, release prints)

                We hold a large collection of films from this media center, acquired in two batches.  The first, approximately 600 titles, was acquired in 1990 from the Collective for Living Cinema, who had received the material surplus from the Office.  In 1995, the remainder of the collection was surplused and officially given to us by the Board of Education.

                The collection runs the gamut from short educational films to classic features.  In between, there are many short "art" and independent films and educational films aimed at all (pre-college) levels.  Given the age limitations of its intended audience, it is a surprisingly diverse collection.

                Of special interest are films produced by or for the Board of Education (1940s-1970s), many of which offer unusually detailed views of New York City schools and educational activities during this period, in which great demographic and social changes occurred.  Titles include Junior High Schools in New York City (1961, color), offering an overview of subjects taught and extracurricular activities offered, with many fascinating images of students, schools and teachers; Education for Excellence (1964, color), a similar film on elementary education; Classroom Discussion of Marijuana (early 1960s), filmed at George Washington High School in Washington Heights (upper Manhattan); Let Us Break Bread Together (1954, color), on the promotion of integration and brotherhood within the school district, with rare imagery of many ethnic groups; and a number of early films on teaching English as a second language.

                All of the material has been inventoried and is included in our database.  We also hold several editions of the OLMT distribution catalogs, which are occasionally useful to identify the content of specific titles, but generally contain little filmographic information of value.  Condition varies.  In a few cases, material is in poor to fair condition; most material, however, is in good to very good condition.  Many of the films produced by or for the Board of Education are in very good to excellent condition.  Many of the commercially acquired color educational films are on Eastmancolor stock that has faded.  In contrast, many of the locally produced films are on Kodachrome and still sport excellent color.


NEW YORK UNIVERSITY FILM CENTER COLLECTION (1930s-1960s, approx. 450 titles, 500 cans; 16mm; release prints).

                Deaccessioned by NYU's Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media, this collection represents key films retained by NYU after their pioneer film distribution library ceased operation.  The collection is strong in social documentaries from the 1930s through the 1950s, especially those in which NYU was involved as producer or distributor, including Valley Town and Children Must Learn; World War II homefront propaganda films from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada; and many films on child and adult psychology, including the Vassar Child Study Series.  Many of the titles appear not to be held in other collections.  There is also a fairly complete set of Julien Bryan's "good neighbor" documentaries produced for the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in the 1940s.

                Condition is good to very good.  A few dozen of the World War II-era titles have been affected by vinegar syndrome.


ELIZABETH OROSZ COLLECTION (1930s-1950s, 115 titles, 16mm, color and black and white, release prints)

                The Orosz collection consists mostly of well-preserved release prints of World War II-era U.S. Government-produced films.  There are also a number of sponsored and industrial films from the 1930s and 1940s, including Tomorrow Always Comes (Lamont-Clemens, Inc. for Manhattan Undergarment Co., 1941, Kodachrome), an epic promotion for rayon fabrics combining time travel, early television broadcasting and a bevy of lingerie-clad models.

                The collection is in very good to excellent condition with no sign of vinegar syndrome.

                All titles are inventoried in our database.


W.A. PALMER FILMS (1951-1996, approx. 5,100 titles, 10,000 cans, 35mm (.5%) and 16mm (99.5%); original elements, printing elements, release prints, outtakes, tests and byproducts.  Various laboratory production records, finding aids and card indexes are held).

                W.A. Palmer Films (San Francisco and later Belmont, Calif.) was a production company and laboratory.  As a laboratory, it was a pioneer in the development of early audio recording technology and kinescope recording, and its founder Bill Palmer has been credited with many technical innovations.

                The Palmer collection consists of films and television programs produced by Palmer Films (founded 1936) in both creative and technical capacities.  In addition, there is a substantial collection of film material submitted to the laboratory by Palmer clients and left unclaimed after printing.  This material represents the full spectrum of non-feature film production in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, beginning about 1951 and extending through the 1980s, with sporadic holdings into the 1990s.  As a moving image resource documenting Northern California life, culture, landscape, technology and industry, this collection is unparalleled.

                Subject areas covered extensively include agriculture and agribusiness; education; the activities of government agencies; science and technology; student and independent filmmaking; construction and real estate development; forestry; nature and wildlife; social issues and the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, including the antiwar movement, the womens' movement and multiculturalism; consumer goods retailing; healthcare and medicine; aerospace technology; and many more.

                Examples of producers and customers represented in the collection include: Cling Peach Advisory Board, Sunkist Growers, Bechtel Construction, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Almaden Vineyards, San Francisco News Call-Bulletin, Standard Oil of California, Port of Oakland, Nevada Bell Telephone, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District and many hundreds of independent filmmakers and small producers.

                About 600 cans of miscellaneous Palmer material are also held, mostly representing unfinished films whose material was retained at the laboratory.

                Condition of the collection ranges from very good to excellent.  Most of it is housed in Palmer's aluminum laboratory cans, though some of the unfinished projects are still in cardboard white boxes.

                80% of the cut Palmer films were inventoried when packed in California, and these inventory records now reside in our database.  About 1,000 additional items remain to be inventoried and entered into the database.  Content analysis and research, a major task, remains to be performed.


KATHARINE PETERSON COLLECTION (1948-60, 105 titles, 250 cans, 16mm; release prints).

                Collected by a projectionist, the Peterson collection contains a cross-section of commercially sponsored films (many produced by Modern Talking Picture Service) promoting major and minor corporations with a focus on apparel, food and other consumer goods.  Most of these films are very difficult to locate otherwise.  Titles of special interest include The David Hall Story (Employers Mutual of Wausau); White Wonder (Morton Salt Company); From Mountains to Microns (Portland Cement Association); and Comprehending Blending (Hamilton Beach Division of Scovill Manufacturing, Inc.).

                Condition varies from poor to excellent.  Abut 15% of the color films are Kodachrome; the remainder are mostly faded Eastmancolor.  The entire collection has been inventoried in the database and video reference copies exist of some titles.


RUDDELL COLLECTION (1930s-1970s, 600 cans, 35mm and 16mm, color and black and white, release prints and preprint)

                Acquired from Jennie Ruddell, widow of Lawrence Ruddell, an executive for ABC Television Network and prolific amateur filmmaker and sound designer, this collection consists of material shot and/or collected by Mr. Ruddell over what appears to be a thirty- or forty-year period.  The collection combines footage of national and international news events (e.g., the Kennedy-Nixon campaign debates of 1960) with amateur film depicting family and workgroup events.  There is footage of New York City storefront window displays at Christmastime (1950s); a good deal of what appears to be travel footage; tests and auditions; etc.  There are also a number of commercially acquired 16mm films such as travelogues and home versions of Hollywood shorts.

                The collection is not well indexed.  Though most of it has been inventoried in our database, the database frequently contains only cryptic references derived from can labels.  A detailed and accurate inventory is yet to come.

                The material is in poor to excellent condition.  Approximately 30% of it has been affected by mold which is visible on the edges of the wind.  This has generally not affected picture, but will still need to be cleaned.


SANTA CLARA COUNTY (CALIFORNIA) PUBLIC SCHOOLS COLLECTION (ca. 1960s-early 1980s, approx. 3,000 titles, 5,000 cans; release prints).

                Acquired as surplus property from the school district, this collection contains films produced primarily for elementary and middle school students.  Many of the films depict the changes in educational perspectives that characterized the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on self-esteem, multicultural consciousness, feminism and health.

                The presence of this and other similar collections in Prelinger Archives has helped us to refocus access priorities towards the generations that grew up with these more recent films.  Until the mid-1990s, our cataloging efforts were centered on pre-1960 materials.  In recent years, our interests have broadened in response to changes in the patrons and audiences we serve, and the vast world of post-1960 production has begun to reveal itself.

                In general, very little research has been done on the history of the educational film industry or on the evolution of its representational vernacular.  Some studies trace the achievements of the "classic era" -- the 1920s-1950s -- but our understanding of post-1960 production is considerably more evanescent.  Influenced by cinema verité, New Wave filmmaking and television, educational filmmaking moved in many different directions, creating an unusual body of work that resists easy classification. As the Santa Clara County collection reveals, the films of the late 1960s and 1970s often appear chaotic, unstructured and inexpensive when compared to the highly codified films of earlier eras, but carry immense evocative power for people presently in their 20s and 30s.  We look forward to a better understanding of this period, a time when the character of American childhood underwent great change.

                At present this collection is in storage.  All titles have however been inventoried, and this inventory information is part of our database.  We do hold some of the same titles in other collections.

                Condition is typical used release print condition.  There is some damage, usually repaired, but in general the prints are in good to very good condition.


MIRON SILVERSTEIN COLLECTION (1920s-1950s, 300 cans, 16mm, black and white and color, release prints and reversal original)

                Collected by a New York neurologist and acquired from his son, this collection consists primarily of commercially acquired entertainment, documentary, educational and sponsored films, with a smattering of oddities and amateur footage.  It is a diverse collection containing many unusual and scarce titles, often dating back to the 1920s.  Titles of special interest include Romance of a Lemon (1927), on the culture and benefits of the sour fruit; a handful of burlesque titles, including Indian Love, starring a woman made up as a Native American stripper and Shereé in Her Original Tiger Dance; Sleepy Old Tuscany (Kineto Review); Khiva: City of Four Gates (Tashkent Films, 1930); City of Hope (1930s), on the founding and operations of the Los Angeles Sanitarium; Handymen of India (Army of India, 1941), on construction battalions in the Indian Army; and a number of very old educational films.   There are also a number of family home movies featuring travel and vacation scenes, and some footage of Russian dancers on stage shot from the audience's perspective.  Of all the collections in our archives, this is one of the most heavily accessed and used.

                Condition varies from poor to very good.  Some films have shrunk due to poor storage conditions prior to our receipt of the collection, and one or two titles have "died" of vinegar syndrome.  We feel, however, that the collection's condition has been stabilized in our hands.

                The collection is fully inventoried in our database.


SIMMEL-MESERVEY COLLECTION (ca. 1946-65, all preprint material; 100 cans, 16mm; original reversal positive and soundtracks.  Release prints corresponding to preprint material in this collection are held in many other collections).

                Edward H. Simmel entered the film business in the late 1940s, producing a series of nature films (The Monarch Butterfly) and travelogues with a historical perspective (Ghost Towns of Arizona, Story of a City: New York).  What his company is best known for, however, is a series of films on etiquette and courtesy, featuring stentorian, guilt-inducing narration and an upper-class Los Angeles social milieu.  Titles in the collection include A Date with Your Family (1950); Introductions (1948), Junior Prom (1946) and Let's Give a Tea (1946).  The etiquette films constitute a remarkable record of a lost world, and express the spirit of the postwar effort to control teenage behavior after the excesses of the World War II era.

                The preprint material is generally in very good condition.  Release prints often show wear and range from good to excellent in condition.

                Much of this material has been inventoried and entered into our database, but it lacks detailed content analysis as of this time.


SONOCHROME LABORATORIES COLLECTION (ca. 1940s-1950s, all preprint material; hundreds of cans, 16mm; original reversal positive and positive soundtracks).

                This uninventoried collection appears to contain a significant number of films produced for railroad companies in the Mountain States, including Denver and Rio Grande Western.  Most films appear to be shot in Kodachrome.

                Condition, at first glance, appears to be excellent.


SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY COLLECTION (ca. 1940s-1960s, ca. 450 titles, 16mm; release prints).

                Contains acquired, commercially produced educational films, with a concentration on social guidance, safety and social studies.  A number of these prints are our best available material on certain titles.

                Condition is generally very good.


                All of the material has been inventoried and entered into our database.


SOVIET DOCUMENTARIES COLLECTION (ca. 1960s-1970s, 90 cans, 16mm, color and black and white, release prints)

                Following the political developments in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Soviet embassies and consulates junked many of the films they had maintained for showing to foreign audiences.  We hold two collections of these films. 

                Since our knowledge of cursive Russian handwriting is poor, the films have not been identified or catalogued.  However, most films run 10 minutes in length.

                Condition ranges from good to excellent.  However, some of the color films have faded.


BERT SPIELVOGEL COLLECTION (ca. 1950s-60s, approx. 20 hours, 75 cans, 16mm; release prints, original reversal positive and a few negatives).

                Bert Spielvogel, a cinematographer in New York City, shot commercial and industrial films for companies such as MPO Productions; Wondsel, Carlisle and Dunphy; and the visionary production company in Princeton, N.J., On Film.  His personal collection of his own work was donated by his widow to the School of Visual Arts in New York City and thence to us.  Key items in the collection include In the Suburbs (On Film for Redbook magazine, 1957), Virginia Bell and Bert Spielvogel's homage to suburban consumer society; For the Living (New York City Housing Authority, 1949); The Relaxed Wife (1957), a paean to tranquilizers as a hedge against the worries of modern society; What Do You Think: Are Flying Saucers Real? (1955), a panel discussion; and Spielvogel's own family and travel movies, including high-quality films of several cross-country road trips in the 1950s and 1960s.

                Condition ranges from very good to excellent.

                The entire collection has been inventoried and entered into our database, which also contains visual content analysis for many of the films.


STILLMAN COLLECTION (ca. 1915-1950, approx. 50 hours, 300 cans, 16mm and a small amount of 35mm; original reversal and release prints).

                Ernest W. Stillman, a surgeon with the New York City Fire Department, photographed fires in New York and the Northeast U.S. for many years.  Much of the fire footage was shot on an intimate scale and expresses the point of view of a close observer, but major conflagrations are also documented.  The collection also serves as unusual documentation of New York cityscapes and street life.

                The collection also includes a number of World War II films apparently produced in Europe for private home use; coverage of patriotic parades in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. (1915, 35mm) and the same town's celebration for returning U.S. soldiers (1919, 35mm); miscellaneous 35mm material; and several World War II-era government-produced documentaries.

                The 16mm material is in good to very good condition, as is some of the 35mm; there is substantial nitrate deterioration on some of the parade coverage from 1919.

                The collection is partially inventoried and partially (about 50%) entered into our database.


TELEVISION COMMERCIALS COLLECTION (1948-1970s, approx. 2,000 titles, 35mm and 16mm; preprint elements and release prints).

                We hold an extensive collection of television commercials representing many product categories.  About half of the commercials are held in preprint form, usually 35mm original negative or fine grain master and negative soundtrack.  Products represented include Ford Motor Company (extensive coverage, 1956-65); Standard Oil of New Jersey, marketing gasoline under the Esso, Enco and Humble trademarks (1948-60); General Mills (extensive collection of cereal commercials, 1960-65); General Motors (various automobile commercials, 1951-70s); Coca-Cola (spots produced for various international markets, 1960s-70s); Hills Bros. coffee (1960s); American Tobacco Company (early Lucky Strike commercials, 1948-51); and very extensive coverage of soap, detergent and cleaning products (1950s-60s).

                Owing to the diversity of the physical materials we hold in this category, it is difficult to generalize about their condition.  The 35mm preprint elements appear uniformly to be in excellent condition.  Most of the 16mm materials are in very good to excellent condition, although a very few show the effects of substandard storage.

                The collection is unevenly catalogued.  About 50% of the materials are inventoried or catalogued in some way, though much of this information has not yet been entered into our database.


UNCLE REMUS LIBRARY SYSTEM (DECATUR, GA.) COLLECTION (1960s, approx. 55 titles, 16mm; release prints).

                Donated by the library, this collection contains acquired, commercially produced educational films reflecting Southern regional interests.


UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COLLECTION (1950s-1960s, approx. 35 titles, 16mm; release prints).

                Union Pacific utilized sponsored films as part of an active public relations program, and for employee training, over many years.  This collection represents both categories, including films targeted at specific customer groups such as farmers (Beef Rings the Bell, Design for More Eggs, Saving Little Pigs); tourists (Painted Canyons); and motorists (The Last Clear Chance [1960], about safety at railroad crossings.  Employee training films include The Days of Our Years (1955), a tightly woven trilogy of accident stories set in the working-class milieu of Vernon, California.             

                Condition ranges from good to excellent.  Most, if not all, of the color prints are dye-stable Kodachrome or Ektachrome reversal.

                The collection is fully inventoried and integrated into our database.


UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, TUSCALOOSA COLLECTION (1920s-1960s, over 1,353 titles, possibly as many as 1,500 titles, 1,800 cans total, 16mm, color and black and white, release prints)

                Acquired in 1998 from the University, this collection formed the majority of prints in their educational media center collection.  The collection is an unusually distinguished collection among media center collections we have seen because of the high percentage of rare or apparently unique materials it contains.

                Rare or unusual titles in the collection include: The Outsider (Centron Corporation, 1951), a scarce title from the distinguished Discussion Problems in Group Living series; Shortest Way Home (Wilding Productions for Greyhound Lines, 1947, Kodachrome); Your Town: A Story of America (Audio Productions for National Association of Manufacturers, 1940), a spirited defense of free enterprise; Singing Wheels (Wilding Productions for the Motor Truck Committee of the Automobile Manufacturers Corporation, ca. 1940s), a musical tribute to truck transport; many United Nations productions from the 1950s and 1960s, including many episodes of U.N. Review; and several films produced to show and promote activities of the U.S. Works Progress Administration (WPA), including a film on African-American arts and public works activities that may not exist in other collections.

                Condition ranges from fair to excellent.  Approximately 150 cans, or 8.3% of the collection, suffer from vinegar syndrome and have been segregated from other collections while we stabilize them and determine what, if anything, to retain and/or copy.  Of the non-vinegared cans, we find the material to be surprisingly clean and well-preserved considering its origin in a media center.  Apparently much of it was never circulated.

                All titles have been inventoried in our database.  Some titles have undergone further cataloging.


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, EXTENSION MEDIA CENTER COLLECTION (1930s-1960s, approx. 405 titles, 650 cans, 16mm; release prints).

                Films in this collection, all deaccessioned by EMC, fall into three primary categories.  (1) Films by University of California departments and media production units.  These include films on time and motion study, films on diving and athletics, and films on human and social relations, such as Behavior Modification in the Classroom and The Foreman Discovers Motion Study.  (2) Films by production companies based in Northern California.  These include an extensive collection of traffic safety films by Progressive Pictures of Oakland, California, which function unwittingly as detailed records of the changing San Francisco Bay Area landscape during a period of intense development, 1948-1960.  (3) Educational films acquired from producers and distributors.  Many of these prints are in excellent condition and may constitute best available material.  Key titles include This Charming Couple (1950), Willard Van Dyke's neorealist examination of a troubled postwar marriage, Drug Addiction (Encyclopedia Britannica Films, 1951), an unusually realistic drama of young male substance abusers; and Anger at Work: The Story of the Headache Switch (1956), a masterful psychological study from the University of Oklahoma.

                The collection is fully inventoried and integrated into our database.

                Condition ranges from very good to excellent.  There are a significant number of Kodachrome release prints.


UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLECTION (1940s-1980s, 6,441 titles, 24,000 cans, 16mm; release prints).


                Until the early 1990s, the University maintained one of the largest 16mm film distribution libraries in the United States.  After the library ceased operations, a number of active titles were channeled into other university-based media centers that remained in operation, while inactive or older titles were offered to Prelinger Archives. 

                The collection is an unusually diverse and wide-ranging group of films, most in good repair, representing the work of producers from many geographic regions and in many subject areas.  It contains many rare titles produced in the Midwest, relating especially to agriculture, food production and processing, and urban life.  There are also a number of important industrial and training films representing the perspectives of corporations like General Electric and Westinghouse, as well as documentation of Frank B. Gilbreth's experiments in time and motion study.

                The entire collection has been inventoried and entered into our database.  Approximately 50% of the titles have been synopsized in the database; for the remainder of the films, a researcher must refer to the University's film distribution catalogs, copies of which we have.

                The condition of the collection ranges from good to excellent.


UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING COLLECTION (1930s-1970s, approx. 200 titles, 16mm; release prints).

                Deaccessioned by the University of Wyoming Library, this collection includes many World War II propaganda films surplused by Federal Government agencies after 1945; several industrial and promotional films relating to the University and the state of Wyoming, including The Future Belongs to You, a portrait of postwar student life at the University; and many release prints of NASA films.

                The condition of the collection is in general very good, without the systemic vinegar syndrome often found in World War II-era release prints. 

                All items are inventoried in our database.


FRANK VAIL COLLECTION (1910s-1960s, approx. 20 cut titles and 250 cans unedited footage, 35mm and 16mm; original negatives, dupe negatives and release prints).

                Frank Vail (1896-1998) became a cameraman for Pathé News at an early age, and later worked for Hearst and Telenews.  During his career, he photographed many major historical events in California and the West.  The collection includes original 35mm coverage of the groundbreaking of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge; footage of post-earthquake San Francisco (1907); coverage of Alcatraz Federal Prison (ca. 1930s); the 1923 fire in Berkeley, California; the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915); and many other events.  The collection also includes a large collection of tourist-type footage of Hawaii shot as part of a business venture to produce souvenir films for island visitors.

                We have recently 16mm reduction masters of the 35mm materials in the collection.

                The condition of both 35mm and 16mm materials is very good. 

                Mr. Vail's own list and summary of the collection's contents is at this point the most complete inventory available.


VISTA PRODUCTIONS COLLECTION (1950s-1979, approx. 30 cut films, all preprint material, with approx. 170 cans of unedited stock footage and outtakes; 16mm; color reversal original).

                Vista Productions, located first in San Francisco and then in Tiburon, California, was a small commercial motion picture production company owned by Richard and Florence Fowler.  Vista produced films for many California sponsors, including the Port of San Francisco, Fairchild Semiconductor, and numerous agribusiness trade associations, notably vegetable and fruit canners and growers.  The collection contains significant documentation of San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California business and industry during a time of economic and geographic expansion; leisure and recreation; and high technology. 

                Sample titles for complete cut films in the collection include Citrus in Motion, The Wonderful World of San Francisco, Sunkist in Action, Pellets of Plenty, and California Wine Wonderland.        

                The stock footage library is categorized and broken down by subject in individual cans.  Sample subjects include Office Communications and Machines; Bay Area Scenics and Long Shots; Prunes (Irrigation); Cultural Activities and Art/Artists; Stores of All Kinds and Shopping Centers; Fairchild (Semiconductor Manufacturing); Entertainment and Food/Drink; X-Ray Stock; and Walking Along Montgomery Street.

                The Vista collection is valuable both as a historical resource relating to Northern California and the West and as a generalized stock footage collection covering, among other decades, the elusive 1970s.  There is footage of everyday life, landscapes and industry during this period throughout the stock footage collection, all of it categorized within separately organized cans.  The collection is not otherwise catalogued at this time.


R.W. WATHEN COLLECTION (1930s-1970s, approx. 30 hours, 16mm; color and black-and-white reversal original).

                R. W. Wathen lived in New York City for much of his life and worked with the United Nations and international development organizations.  The collection includes substantial coverage of upper-middle-class family life and recreation in and around New York City, Long Island and Florida; footage of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair; travels in Europe, Asia and Africa; and substantial coverage of the developing world during the period of decolonization, most as yet uninventoried.  The collection was donated by Elva Levy, sister of Rosakate Bonomo, donor to us of the Bonomo collection (q.v.).

                Condition varies from very good to excellent.  About 30% of this collection has been inventoried and/or catalogued in our database, and detailed content analysis has been done on 10-15% of the reels.


WEST HARTFORD (CONN.) PUBLIC SCHOOLS COLLECTION (1930s-1980s, approx. 4,000 titles, 6,000 cans, 16mm; all release prints).

                One of the first educational media center collections made available to Prelinger Archives, the West Hartford collection is a remarkably diverse and wide-ranging group of films assembled by an unusually open-minded media librarian.  In addition to extensive holdings of well-kept copies of films from mainstream producers and distributors, West Hartford contains numerous rare sponsored films from many sources.  Titles include 17 Days (New York Daily News, 1945), about the New York City newspaper delivery strike in spring 1945; Wonderland of Vision (Better Vision Institute, ca. 1948); and Of Town and Country (National Dairy Council, 1955).

                Condition of these films ranges from very good to excellent, as they were well cared for by their first owner.  About 30% of the total can count represents duplicate or multiple prints.

                This collection is fully inventoried in our database and a good percentage of it has been catalogued as well.  We also hold the West Hartford distribution catalogue, which is often valuable in positively identifying a specific title.


WORTHINGTON FAMILY COLLECTION (1938, 3 hours, 16mm; color and black-and-white reversal original; one section preserved to 35mm color negative)

                This collection contains travel films and family home movies acquired from Mrs. Richard Worthington of Santa Rosa, Calif.  The material was originally photographed by  L.P. Monson, M.D., of San Francisco.  Highlights include several minutes of footage shot in the city of Vienna (1938), including approximately forty seconds of Kodachrome footage (recently preserved to 35mm color negative by John E. Allen, Inc.) showing the effects of Nazi vandalism against Jewish-owned shops, anti-Semitic graffiti and outdoor advertising for Der Stürmer; and black-and-white footage of leisure activities and hijinks at the Bohemian Grove near Monte Rio, California.  The remainder of the footage, most in color, depicts world travel circa 1938, including a cremation in Egypt.

                The condition of the footage is good to very good.  Synopses of some material have been included in our database.


ITEMS NOT CLASSIFIED BY COLLECTION (1900-90, approx. 1,500 titles, 4,500 cans, all formats)


                Many items in the archives were acquired individually or as part of aggregations not specifically defined as collections.  Some of these aggregations would constitute small collections in their own right if their contents shared similar characteristics such as genre or subject matter.  Much, though not all, of this material has been inventoried and/or catalogued in our database.  This group includes a number of educational films, many sponsored titles, and a good deal of miscellaneous preprint material and raw or unedited footage. 


                Educational films.  Includes 16mm prints of approximately 50 classic feature films and 200 short subjects (most suitable for children) from the Albany County Library System; 25 classic health and social guidance films; 150 titles purchased from a distributor, including Christmas films, educational films and classic shorts such as Meshes of the Afternoon and Un Chien Andalou; 200 titles from the Minneapolis, Minn. public schools media library, including well-preserved prints of approximately 51 social guidance titles ((1946-58); 50 titles deacessioned by the North Carolina Department of Health, including Soapy: The Germ Fighter (1954) and Palmour Street, George Stoney's classic study of an African-American community in Gainesville, Ga.; 25 titles purchased from a collector in Brooklyn, N.Y., including rare titles such as Feeling Left Out (Coronet Instructional Films, 1951) and Glen Wakes Up (Centron Productions, 1953);


                Sponsored films.  Includes 50 films on conservation, nature and wildlife formerly held by the National Association of Conservation Districts, donated by them to the American Archives of the Factual Film at Iowa State University and thence to us; five old Southwestern Bell films donated by Fred Bingaman; twenty sponsored films donated by Robert Finehout, on American railroads and airlines (ca. 1940-1960) and other subjects; two films donated by International Silver Co. (Insilco), Your Chance of a Lifetime! and International Moves the Browns to Sterling Street (both ca. 1941, Kodachrome), on selling silver to working and middle-income consumers; a collection of 25 films donated by Joel Katz, all relating to the international activities of American multinational corporations, including Journey to Banana Land (William J. Ganz Company for United Fruit Co., 1950), People and Petroleum (Creole Petroleum Corporation, 1956), The Island of Yesterday, Sumatra, Dutch West Indies (Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., 1920), and many others; three titles purchased from Randall Meade, including Supermarket USA (WSAZ-TV, ca. 1960s), a promotional film for a TV station showing the economic clout of the Huntington, West Virginia metropolitan area, and a General Mills baking film from 1931; two films on early RCA television efforts, Television  (ca. 1939) and Behind the Dial  (ca. 1946), received by exchange from the MZTV Museum in Toronto; five 16mm prints purchased from Lory Ringuette, including a Soviet-era biographical film on Leonid Brezhnev, On Guard! (IBM Corporation, ca. 1957, on the SAGE air-defense system), and others; 20 films donated by Lothar Stelter, chiefly produced by telephone companies and apparel companies, including Going Back to School  and Fashion Horizons (both 1941), two Kodachrome epics showing U.S. transcontinental travel destinations and college campuses, both populated by well-dressed young women.

                Other titles include a film on preparing kosher meats, sponsored by Stroh and Goldberg, showing butchery operations in graphic detail and women thronging a butcher shop to buy meat (late 1920s-early 1930s); and approximately 200 industrial and consumer-targeted safety films acquired as resource material for the Danger Lurks feature film project.


                Raw and/or unedited footage.  Ten rolls of Polish newsreel footage, donated by a traveler; 115 cans of preprint material, outtakes and trims from M&R Productions, a producer of medical audiovisuals formerly headquartered in New York; 2000 cans of miscellaneous preprint material purchased as scrap film; and much other uninventoried material.


                We also hold prints of two studio shorts donated by a prominent collector and an as-yet uninventoried collection purchased from another collector in Brooklyn, N.Y., containing approximately 200 cans of 16mm material. January 3, 2001