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Resources for Film History Research: Trade Journals and Newspapers


Trade journals are an invaluable source of information on the film studios, legal issues (including censorship), technological developments, exhibitor-related issues and the production and distribution of individual films. Also, since a great many films of the silent era are irretrievably lost, plot synopses and and reviews in publications like these are often the only remaining source of information about certain films.

Many older trade journals are not indexed in any of the existing electronic databases or printed citation indexes; this means that in many cases, you must scan through every issue on microfilm or in print to find the information you want, a tedious but often rewarding process. Keep in mind that scanning through entire issues of trade journals allows you to examine your research topic in a broader context and may reveal important connections that you would have overlooked otherwise.

The American Film Institute Catalog does cite some trade journal articles about individual films under each title entry. It's also an invaluable source of information on production and release dates, which you can use to narrow your searches. Many film history books also cite trade journal articles that are not indexed elswhere.  

The Media History Digital Library at the Internet Archive is a recently established project to digitize older trade journals and fan magazines and make them available for online access.


Trade Journals and Newspapers


The following list highlights some trade journals and newspapers that you might find helpful for your research. Always check discoverE or EUCLID for the most complete and up-to-date information on our holdings.


American Cinematographer

Information about technical developments in cinematography and special features on individual films, inteviews with cinematographers, etc.

Holdings: 1920-1971 in microfilm; 1971- present in storage/stacks and Current Periodicals.

  • MICFILM 3178
  • TR850 .A56 Current Periodicals Stacks
  • Electronic access (through 2006)


American Film

Publication of the American Film Institute.

Holdings: 1975-1992

  • MICFILM 1383



While this journal on film special effects appeals to a broad audience, including fans, it contains useful information about special effects technology and many insider interviews.

Holdings: 1998-present

  • TR858 .C45 Current Periodicals and Stacks


Film Daily: see Major Film Periodicals for Media Research.


Exhibitors Film Exchange

Continued by: Exhibitors Herald; later merged with Motography.

Also: Exhibitors Herald-World

"Official journal of exhibitors booking from Chicago film exchanges."

  • MICFILM 3067


Exhibitors Herald and Motography: the Independent Film Trade Paper


  • MICFILM 3197 REELS 2-10 Note: Also held as MICFILM 3067, but this is a more extensive collection.


Exhibitor's Trade Review

Holdings: 1916-1926

  • MICFILM 3069


Film Culture

An important source of information on avant-garde film production.

Holdings: 1955-1974 in microfilm; 1975 - date in Stacks.

  • MICFILM 3550
  • PN1993 .F465 in the Stacks.


Hollywood Reporter

Absorbed by American Film in 1989.

Holdings: 1934-1941


Major Film Periodicals for Media Research. (Alternate title: Film Daily & Film Daily Yearbook: The Complete Collection, 1915-1970.)

Woodbridge, Conn. : Research Publications, 1989-

108 reels + guide (for each series and part).

IIncludes Film Daily, Film Daily Yearbook, and predecessors such as Wid's Films and Film Folk.

  • MICFILM 4339


Motion Picture Magazine

Continues: Motion Picture Story Magazine and Motion Picture.

Holdings: 1914-1941

  • MICFILM 3200 Vols. 1-29


Movie Weekly

Holdings: 1921-1925

  • MICFILM 3303


Moving Picture News

Holdings: 1911-1913

  • MICFILM 3199


Moving Picture World and View Photographer

Holdings: 1907

  • MICFILM 3068


The Nickelodeon

Continued by: Exhibitors Herald and Motography

Holdings: 1909-1911

  • MICFILM 3197 REEL 1



Later merged with Movie Mirror.

Holdings: 1912-1940.

  • MICFILM 3049



The longest-running and most influential paper on the entertainment industry.

Holdings: 1905-present

Current issues held in Current Periodicals until replaced by microfilm.


Weekly Film Review

An Atlanta-based trade publication.

Holdings: 1920-1930

  • MICFILM 3180

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