As the ScreenL subscriber in the Motion Picture Division at the
Library of Congress, I should have posted this notice a couple of
days ago, but unfortunately fell several days behind on reading
all the notices.
Bob Stewart gave a most helpful response to Amy Dean's inquiry
about searching Library motion picture holdings through internet.
The only other suggestions are that individuals may be searched
for by a simple "find p jeremy butler;f=av", or a corporation or
a collection by a "find c butler productions;f=av", or a subject,
genre or form by "find s gangster;f=av" (sorry 'bout that,
Jeremy). At times, a simple "find jeremy butler;f=av" will yield
additional items if not qualified by the t, p, or s. Ignore notes
that say "Not in LC Collections", which was used in a project for
Libraries abandoned many years ago. Also, items in the Prints and
Photographs Division are unfortunately included in the "f=av"
qualifier. (If searching for books, drop the "f=av" qualifier;
for books published before 1966, try adding "f=premarc".) I will
be happy to answer additional questions.
Regrettably, John Hiller's posting was seriously misinformed.
The cataloging for the Division's holdings have been going online
since 1986 and are added to every day. Prior to going online,
movies and television were cataloged on cards, and some of the
information, even a few newer items, continue to remain only
accessible through this backlog. An internet search that fails to
turn up an item hardly means that it is not at the Library; it
may well be in one of the other internal or manual databases. As
a result, for a definitive answer as to whether the Library has a
particular film, and a copy that can be viewed, it is necessary
to write the Motion Picture Reference Room, Library of Congres,
Washington, D.C. 20540, 202-707-8572.
The two publications Hiller referred to without name are
actually five books that give information on several specific
collections. These are, in roughly chronological order, Early
Motion Pictures: The Paper Print Collection at the Library of
Congress; The Theodore Roosevelt Association Film Collection; The
George Kleine Collection (foreign and domestic films distributed
through the teens by Kleine); Three Decades of Television: A
Catalog of Television Programs Acquired by the Library of
Congress, 1949-1979 (however, since that publication, many
additional shows have enormously enlarged the Library's tv
holdings from that era); and most recently, The African-American
Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of
Black History and Culture. The latter volume, a collaborative
effort published earlier this year, includes historical
perspectives I authored on both black filmmaking and Hollywood
product concerning African-American issues, based on the
Library's enormous (and again, ever-growing) collection in this
All of these volumes are helpful for those studying a
particular portion of film history, but new receipts arrive at
such a pace that contact with the reference staff remains
essential to fill any particular interest in titles, individuals,
studios, genres, subjects, and so forth--as well as to confirm
access and make viewing appointments.
Brian Taves, Motion Picture-Broadcasting-Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress