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Resources for Film History Research: Home

Highlighted Resource

Hollywood, censorship, and the motion picture production code, 1927-1968

Online version of the microfilm collection History of the Cinema. Series 1: Hollywood and the Production Code Administration (MICFILM 4482, plus printed guide). Selected files from the Motion Picture Association of America Production Code Administration, filmed from the holdings of the Magaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The set contains files on 500 films dating from 1927 to 1968, including some significant foreign film releases.

To view a chronological list of films in the collection, click on the link "View All Documents."

Highlighted Resource

Media History Digital Library

Film scholar and archivist David Pierce is spearheading a project called the Media History Digital Library, in collaboration with institutions such as the Pacific Film Archive, to digitize back issues of film industry trade papers and popular fan magazines and make them available online via the Internet Archive. The issues will be available for viewing online using standard file formats such as PDF,

As the project brochure notes, such materials are often difficult for researchers to access. In the case of The Hollywood Reporter, "only a single complete run is known to exist."

At present, several volumes of Photoplay and one volume of Motion Picture Classic are available. For a complete list, search in the Internet Archive using the terms "Media History Digital Library."




Examples of Primary Sources

Primary sources typically include such items as:

  • manuscripts, letters, first-person diaries, memoirs, personal journals, interviews, speeches, oral histories, and other materials individuals used to describe events in which they were participants or observers. Many of these materials frequently are referred to as "papers";
  • records of government agencies and other organizations, including such documents as parliamentary debates, proceedings of organization meetings, conferences, etc. Many of these materials frequently are referred to as "archives";
  • original documents such as birth certificates, marriage and baptismal registers, wills, trial transcripts, etc.;
  • published materials written at the time of the event, including newspapers, news magazines, advertising, cartoons, and other ephemeral publications such as pamplets and flyers;
  • contemporary creative works of literature, art, and music, such as novels, paintings, compositions, poems, etc.;
  • comtemporary photographs, maps, audio recordings, television and radio broadcasts, and moving pictures;
  • Internet communications including email, listservs, and blogs;
  • statistical and numeric data collected by various government and private agencies, including census data, opinion polls, and other surveys;
  • research reports and case studies in the sciences or social sciences;
  • artifacts of all kinds such as coins, clothing, fossils, furniture, and musical instruments from the time period under study

Primary sources sometimes can be ambiguous and contradictory, relecting a specific person's opinions and contemporary cultural influences on them. For that very reason such sources are invaluable tools for developing your own interpretations and reaching your own conclusions about what is going on at a point in time.

Subject Guide

James Steffen
Music and Media Library

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