Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Library Guide for ARTH 556

Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film,


Professor Nancy Mowll Mathews, Fall 2005


Karen A. Bucky, Collections Access & Reference Librarian

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library


In this online version of the Library Guide, hyperlinks have been made to databases and websites where possible. If a connection to a database does not work, connect to the Clark Electronic Resources page and try to connect from there. For most databases, authorized connection is by IP range and therefore is only possible from within the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute or Williams College libraries.




Finding Background Information:

General Reference Sources


Bibliographie der Photo- und Film-Zeitschriften, 1840–1940 / Bibliography of Photographic and Cinematographic Periodicals, 1840–1940 / Bibliographie des Périodiques Photo-Cinéma, 1840–1940. Edited by Walter Koelzer. Düsseldorf: Editionen der Foto Brell, 1992.

Alphabetical title listing of 2,000+ international periodicals with information on language, country of origin, publication dates, frequency, holding libraries, and sources consulted. Annotations when included are in English, French, and German. Periodicals are indexed by country of origin. There is also a personal and corporate name index. The union catalog usefulness of this book is not necessarily diminished by the modern online catalog; first because not all international libraries are online and second because many libraries still do not have older materials cataloged electronically.

Clark Reference  ZNE2606 K64



Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic, and Photomechanical Processes: A Comprehensive Reference to Reproduction Technologies, Containing Invaluable Information on over 1500 Processes. Luis Nadeau. Frederickton, New Brunswick, Canada: Atelier Luis Nadeau, 1994.

Definitions, explanations, and in some cases illustrations of terminology, technical procedures, equipment, and materials. Cross-references help to clarify relationships between the many terms that were coined and invented in this fertile field. Does not include biographical entries, but an index to proper names allows finding who invented or used what. Each entry includes at least one reference for further reading, and most include many. Includes an index of German terms.

Clark Reference NE850 A1 N32 1994



Encyclopedia of the Magic Lantern. Edited by David Robinson, Stephen Herbert, and Richard Crangle. London: The Magic Lantern Society, 2001.

A comprehensive reference source to the history, technology, uses, and aesthetics of the optical lantern in its numerous forms. Entries for inventors and patentees, makers and merchants, showmen, writers and lecturers, genres and mechanisms of slides, organizations that used magic lanterns, collectors, and museums. Includes a fairly extensive bibliography.

Clark Reference NE2600 A1 E63



Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century. Edited by Paul Finkelman.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.

Alphabetical listing of articles, in themselves not substantial but providing a respectable overview and with good bibliographies. Examples include advertising, political cartoons, civil rights, class, consumerism, labor movement, merchandising, museums, newspapers and the press, working-class culture, and work. 

Sawyer Reference E169.1 .E626 2001



Films and Videos on Photography. Compiled by Program for Art on Film and Direction des Musées de France. New York: Program for Art on Film, 1990.

Documentary and educational films about photography, bringing together records from the Critical Inventory of Films on Art (compiled by the Program for Art on Film) and from the Base Audiart (compiled by the Musées de France). Look in the subject index under Motion to find material on Muybridge, Marey, animals in motion, and other relevant items. See also, under Internet Resources, Program for Art on Film Online, an online database also produced by Program for Art on Film.

Clark Reference NE2600 P76



Macmillan Biographical Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists and Innovators. Edited by Turner Browne and Elaine Partnow. New York: Macmillan, 1983.

Each entry gives basic biographical information (birth and death dates, notable family members, education and influences, employment, memberships, awards and achievements) as well as each person's contribution to the field of photography, publications by and about the person, and collections of the person's work. Includes photographers, photojournalists, artists, inventors, scientists, chemists, dealers, curators, and others who made important contributions to the field from its beginnings to the early 1980s.

Clark Reference NE2600 A1 B76



Nineteenth-Century Photography: An Annotated Bibliography, 1839–1879. William S. Johnson. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990.

Annotated references to books and articles published 1839 to 1990 on 19th-century photography.  Although the book does not extend through the time period dealt with in this course, it does reference books and articles on Muybridge and others involved in early cinema. Includes a lengthy "Special Topic" section on photomechanical reproduction. A projected Volume II will cover 1880–1914, and promises references on Marey and others.

Sawyer Reference TR15 .J64 1990



Pre-cinema History: An Encyclopaedia and Annotated Bibliography of the Moving Image Before 1896. Hermann Hecht; edited by Ann Hecht. London:  Bowker Saur/BFI, 1993.

Covers the history of projection, visual entertainments, and the beginnings of the cinema to 1896. Entries are in order of publication, and include books, articles, patent specifications, treatises, and other published literature from the beginning of the 16th century to 1985. Most of the literature comes from the U.S. and Europe, and most is in English or German. Name and subject indexes provide access to the chronologically arranged material. Annotations and cited works are a goldmine of information on the literature of early cinema.

Clark Stacks NE2606 H43 




Histories of Early Film and Photography;

The Ashcan School


Braun, Marta. Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904). Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Reconstructs Marey's photographic and cinematographic career and places him in his personal and historical intellectual context. Draws largely on Marey's work, including writings, photographic negatives and prints, chronographic and photographic experiments, instruments and inventions. Includes chapters on his legacy: his influence (with Muybridge) on motion pictures, on art and modernism, and on the organization of work. Appendixes are catalogs of Marey's photographic negatives and prints, his films, and his photographic experiments.

Clark Stacks NE2698 M326 B73

Sawyer Stacks TR840 .B73 1992



Crary, Jonathan. Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture.     Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

Sketches the outlines of a "genealogy of attention" since the 19th century, and details its role in the modernization of subjectivity. Examines how ideas about attention and perception "were transformed in the 19th century alongside the emergence of new technological forms of spectacle, display, projection, attraction, and recording" and how this transformation was central to key social, philosophical, and aesthetic issues during the 19th and into the 20th century.

Clark Stacks N6490 C73

Sawyer Stacks BF378 .S45 C73 1999



———.  Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990.

Examines the significance of certain optical devices as a means to study the "reorganization of vision" in the first half of the 19th century, looking at events and forces that "produced a new kind of observer."  Addresses questions these raise about how the "new set of relations between the body on the one hand and forms of institutional and discursive power on the other redefined the status of an observing subject." 

Clark Stacks N6450 C69

Sawyer Stacks N7430.5 .C7 1990



Fell, John, ed. Film Before Griffith. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

Collection of articles that challenge the notion that cinema "began" with D.W. Griffith and Hollywood.  Three sections: 1) Place and Production, with articles on the Kinetoscope, the Vitascope, and other innovations in Canada, Australia, and Yorkshire; 2) Exhibition and Distribution, with articles on Hale, Hadley, Lumiere, early picture shows, and motion picture audiences; 3) The Films, with articles on film narrative, form, structural patterning, temporality and narrativity, space, and other formal and structural questions. Includes a brief bibliography.

Sawyer Stacks PN1993.5  .A1 F48 1983



Hamber, Anthony J. "A Higher Branch of the Art": Photographing the Fine Arts in England, 1839–1880. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach, 1996.

Examines how photography was used to document the fine and decorative arts in the 19th century, thereby not only shaping the commercial and artistic development of photography but also transforming the study and connoisseurship of art. Representative chapters include "The mid-19th-century art world and photography" and "Art societies, reproduction, and photography." Well illustrated; includes a lengthy bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Clark Stacks NE2643 H35

Sawyer Stacks TR657 .H363 1996



Herbert, Stephen. A History of Pre-Cinema. London: Routledge, 2000.

Volume 1 is a compilation of short articles and texts culled from periodicals, newspapers, and books, mostly published between 1839 and 1901, on camera obscura, photography, stereoscopy, moving photographs, chronophotography, and optical/philosophical toys. Volume 2 is a similar compilation on peepshows, panorama and diorama, magic mirrors, shadowplay, magic lanterns, Pepper's Ghost, recreative science, and various optical devices. Volume 3 is a complete reprint of Movement in Two Dimensions by Olive Cook.

Clark Stacks NE2609 H573 (vols. 1–3)



Liesegang, Franz Paul. Dates and Sources: A Contribution to the History of the Art of Projection and to Cinematography. Edited by Hermann Hecht. London: Magic Lantern Society, 1986.

Clark Stacks (On Order)



Lindsay, Vachel. The Art of the Moving Picture. New York: Macmillan, 1915.

Written as "a basis for photoplay criticism in America," a sort of practical guide for moving picture audiences. Includes chapters on the three types of photoplay: the photoplay of action (where physical forces and speed provide the source of drama), of intimacy (e.g. idylls and village comedies), and of splendor (e.g. patriotic and religious splendor); also chapters comparing photoplay to sculpture, painting, architecture, and theater. See also The Art of the Moving Picture: Being the 1992 Revision of the Book First Issued in 1915 (Sawyer Stacks PN1994 .L5 1970), which includes an introduction by Stanley Kauffmann.

Sawyer Stacks PN1994 .L5



Mannoni, Laurent. The Great Art of Light and Shadow: Archaeology of the Cinema.  (Translation of Le Grand Art de la Lumiere et de l'Ombre.) Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2000.

Groundbreaking work on the history of pre-cinema, a panoramic history from camera obscura and peep-show to the arrival of cinema in 1896 that places the developments of illuminated, moving, or technological images in their historical, social, and cultural context.

Clark Stacks NE2609 M36

Sawyer Stacks  TR848 .M27413 2000



Musser, Charles. Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Combines a biography of Edwin S. Porter with an institutional history of the Edison Manufacturing Company from the beginning of commercial motion pictures through 1909, based on exhaustive primary-source research (see Notes, pp. 491–550).  Shows how Porter's innovations and career were linked to structural changes in the industry, and how both reflect turn-of-the-century economic and social culture.

Sawyer Stacks PN1998.3 .P67 M87 1991



———.  Edison Motion Pictures, 1889–1900: An Annotated Filmography. Gemona, Italy: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto and Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.

Catalog of all the Edison films made between 1890 and 1900. Information about each film includes title and alternative titles, length, copyright holder and date, producer, camera, cast and production personnel, production date, location, source, description (taken in each case from period documents, usually trade catalogs or advertisements), source of the description, subject headings, archive where film can be found, citations to documents providing information on the film, and notes on points of interest to researchers that do not fit in other fields. Indexes by title, personal/corporate names, subject, location, cultural sources, and archival/private holdings. Includes a substantial introductory essay.

Sawyer Stacks  PN1999 .T47 M87 1997



———.  The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1990.

 Volume One in a projected 10-volume series on the history of the American cinema. Looks at the first 12 years of cinema, from 1895 to 1907. Includes chapters on cinema's novelty years (1896–1897), the role of the exhibitor (1897–1900), the rise of production companies (1900–1905) and the beginning of the Nickelodeon Era (1905–1907).

Clark Stacks NE2612 M87

Sawyer Stacks PN1993.5.U6 H55 v.1



Musser, Charles, and Carol Nelson. High-Class Moving Pictures: Lyman H. Howe and the Forgotten Era of Traveling Exhibition, 1880–1920. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Documents the story of Lyman H. Howe, who became "America's foremost traveling motion picture exhibitor" for 20 years, bringing "urban-based entertainments to the American heartland." Examines how commercial amusements both reflected and shaped the beliefs, values, and culture of the time, addressing questions of economics and class.

Sawyer Stacks PN1998.3 .H69 M87 1991



Niver, Kemp R. Early Motion Pictures: The Paper Print Collection in the Library of Congress.  Washington, D.C.: Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, 1985.

Catalog and guide to the 3,000+ films in the Library of Congress Paper Print Collection. Each entry includes title, copyright or distributor/producer, production credits, location and date of production, length and LC shelf location number, identification information, a brief summary, and notes on points of interest to researchers that do not fit in other fields. Indexes for credits and names/subjects.

Sawyer Stacks PN1997.75 .L5 1985



The Origins of the Cinema: A Mid-Summer 1968 Exhibition. Cardiff: Printed by Edward Roberts Ltd., 1968.

Exhibition catalog for a show at Dyvenor Castle, Cardiff, in 1968. The exhibit was divided into three sections: 1) optical entertainments and the persistence of vision,  2) the projected image, and  3) photography, stereography, and the analysis of motion.  For each section, the catalog gives a brief explanatory essay and a list of the items exhibited. Items include dioramas and panoramas, perspective views, peepshows, transparencies, kaleidoscopes, anamorphoses, the zootrope and praxinoscope, the magic lantern, phantasmagoria, animated slides, dissolving views, photography and stereoscopy, and various materials by Muybridge and Marey.

Clark Stacks NE2609 D96 1968



Popple, Simon, and Vanessa Toulmin, eds. Visual Delights:  Essays on the Popular and Projected Image in the 19th Century. Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 2000.

Clark Stacks NE2643 V27 2000



Prodger, Phillip. Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Exhibition catalog for the 2003 show at Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford, which focused on Muybridge's achievements as a photographic artist, concentrating on the motion studies he began in California in the 1870s and continued at the University of Pennsylvania from 1884 to 1886 and exploring what was original and what was unique about his art.  Includes essays on Muybridge and his legacy, the rise of the instantaneous photography movement, 1839–78, and the new frontier of instantaneous photography. Also includes an essay by Tom Gunning.

Clark Stacks NE2698 M993 S83

Sawyer Stacks TR840 .P76 2003



Rossell, Deac. Living Pictures: The Origins of the Movies. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

"A first attempt to examine the early days of moving pictures from a nonlinear and multidirectional perspective." Tom Gunning describes this book as "the most reliable handbook of the interlocking attempts to devise motion pictures in the 19th century… [it] offers a wonderful sense of the variety of approaches tried out by motion picture technicians…[and] demonstrates the visual qualities of vanished techniques of projection."

Sawyer Stacks TR848 .R68 1998

Sawyer Electronic Resource



Young, Mahonri Sharp. The Eight: The Realist Revolt in American Painting. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1973.

Brief biographies of Robert Henri, John Sloan, Arthur B. Davies, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, and Everett Shinn. Includes color plates of important works, a chronology, and a select bibliography. 

Clark Stacks ND212 Y68



Zurier, Rebecca, et al. Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York.  Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art and New York: Norton, 1995.

Documents and depicts the turn-of-the-century New York City that was home and studio to the group of artists dubbed "the Ashcan School" by their critics; also called The Eight. Juxtaposes paintings with reproductions of contemporary materials such as postcards and advertisements that show how the artists' works reflect the places, social concerns, and events of their time.

Clark Stacks ND212 S565 1995

Sawyer Stacks N6512.5 .E4 Z87 1995




Finding Books:

Online Catalogs and Union Catalogs


Online Catalogs 

Use the Clark library online catalog and Francis, the Williams College online catalog, to search for books in our own library system. 

On the Clark Electronic Resources page, click Selected regional and art library catalogs to find links to the online catalogs of research/art libraries such as Harvard, Yale, the Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many others. 



Union Catalogs

Eureka and WorldCat are databases that represent the holdings of thousands of libraries worldwide. Materials not available in the Clark or Williams libraries can be requested through Interlibrary Loan. Connect to these union catalogs on the Clark Electronic Resources page, or through Francis.

WorldCat's member libraries run the gamut of types of libraries: public, academic, research, special, and some larger school libraries. The database is larger and includes "popular" materials sometimes not available on Eureka.

Eureka's member libraries are the major research libraries; the database is smaller but more select, often including scholarly material not available on WorldCat.

BLC Virtual Catalog, accessed through Francis, is a union catalog of the holdings of other New England libraries such as Brown, the Boston Public Library, Boston University, University of New Hampshire, and University of Massachusetts. Materials found through BLC can be requested electronically through Williams' Interlibrary Loan system.


Searching an online catalog using Library of Congress subject headings is a more precise way of searching than using keywords, especially given that words such as "film" and "art" are more often than not used in ways that have nothing to do with what you are looking for.  The following subject headings will be especially useful for this course. 


Art and motion pictures

Art in motion pictures          

Boxing – United States – history

Art and cinema

Ashcan school of art

Dance in art

Eight (Group)

Film criticism

Modern Dance – history

Motion picture producers and directors

Motion pictures – bibliography

Motion pictures – history

Motion pictures and history

Motion pictures and the arts

Painting and motion pictures

Photography and art

Photography of art

Silent films

Visual culture




Indexes to Secondary-Source Materials


These indexes can be used to find articles, dissertations, and books published (mostly) after 1980. One exception is Science Citation Index, which covers journals back to 1900 and may therefore be a source of articles on technical processes and equipment.


America: History and Life

Historical Abstracts

These two databases index scholarly articles, dissertations, and book reviews in the field of history and culture. AHL covers North America (United States and Canada), from prehistory to the present; HA covers world history, excluding the United States and Canada, from 1450 to the present. They are produced by the same company, and once logged into one database you can switch to the other by clicking a button on the sidebar. Hotlinks take you to articles in e-journals owned by Williams.

Journal coverage is from 1954 to the present.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Art Abstracts

Art Index Retrospective

Indexes articles in fine arts journals, book reviews, and articles in museum bulletins for any period or genre of art, from classical antiquity to the present. Subjects such as archaeology, architectural history, museum studies, and the decorative arts are also included.  

AA covers from 1984 to the present, with abstracts from 1994; AIR covers 1929 to 1984.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI)

Science Citation Index (SCI)

Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)

(Click "Go" button for "Web of Science" in small print on initial screen to enter database. Then be sure to de-select the databases you do NOT want to search.) These databases can be used to do subject searches, but their power lies in cited reference searching. Starting with an important author or influential source, you can retrieve articles that cite that source, thus allowing you to trace an idea or influence forward in time. You can also find articles that cite the same material.  

 Journal coverage is from 1900 to the present (SCI), 1975 to the present (AHCI), and 1956 to the present (SSCI). This database can be quite difficult to use—ask for help if you need it!

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA)

Provides citations and abstracts for materials on European and American art from late antiquity to the present. Indexes journal articles, books, essays, conference proceedings, and exhibition catalogs in the field of art history. Covers mostly visual arts. BHA merges three databases: Bibliography of the History of Art (1990 to the present), International Repertory of the Literature of Art (1975–1989), and Repertoire d'Art et d'Archeolgie (1973–1989). To search further back in time, see the print title, below.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources

Répertoire d'art et d'archéologie. Paris: Bibliothèque d'art et d'archéologie, 1910–1989.

Clark Reference ZN5300 R46



Dissertation Abstracts

Indexes theses and dissertations from academic institutions in North America, Britain, and Europe from 1861 to the present. Abstracts for dissertations were added to the database in 1980; abstracts for theses in 1988. Dissertations can be an especially rich source for materials on a subject, and they include exhaustive bibliographies. Most dissertations can be obtained on Interlibrary Loan in microformat.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Humanities Abstracts

Index to scholarly journals in the humanities, including archaeology, classical studies, folklore, history, journalism, literature, music, performing arts, philosophy and religion. Good source for scholarly articles on film. Two useful descriptor terms to keep in mind are: art-in-motion-pictures and motion-pictures-in-art.

 Coverage is from 1980 to the present. For earlier coverage, consult the print indexes at Sawyer in the Reference area: Humanities Index (1974 to the present), Social Sciences and Humanities Index (1966–1974), and International Index (1907–1965).

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



International Index to the Performing Arts (IIPA)

Index to popular and scholarly journals covering dance, film, drama, television, the arts and entertainment industry, stagecraft, magic, musical theatre and performance art. Abstracts from 1998 forward. 

Coverage is from 1964 to the present.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



MLA Bibliography

Indexes journals, monographs, working papers, proceedings, and other formats in the fields of languages, literature, linguistics, and folklore. Includes articles on film studies and reviews. Descriptor terms to try: film, compared-to-art, relationship-to-painting.

Coverage is from 1963 to the present. 

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Readers' Guide Retrospective

Tried-and-true index to a wide variety of U.S. and Canadian general-interest periodicals and popular, non-technical magazines. Can be used to find articles on early cinema and on photography. Think creatively when searching; subject headings are limited and so you are essentially searching for title keywords.

Coverage is 1890–1984.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources




Finding 19th- and Early 20th-Century Materials


Index to 19th-century American Art Periodicals

Index to "nearly all" art journals published in the United States between 1840 and 1907. Each issue is indexed completely, including articles, art notes, illustrations, stories, poems, and advertisements. 

Clark Electronic Resources



London Times Digital Archive 1785–1985

Searchable full-text archive. Contains scanned images of the full London Times including advertisements, editorials, reviews, stock exchange tables, and weather reports. The Sunday edition is not included.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



New York Times Historical

Full text of the New York Times, 1851–1999. "Document type" dropdown box allows searching by type of article (feature, editorial, stock quote, review, etc.) It's a good idea to limit a search to searching citation and abstract, and you can also limit by time period.

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Nineteenth Century Masterfile

Collection of indexes to a variety of 19th-century publications, including English and American books, government documents, and journal and newspaper articles (e.g. the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's). Citations only.

Clark Electronic Resources page



PCI (Periodicals Contents Index), 1770–1993

A major retrospective electronic indexing project that covers mainly scholarly and academic journals in the humanities and social sciences from their beginnings to the 1990s. Citations only. 

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



Pro-Quest Index to Historical Newspapers

Indexes (among other titles) the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. Can search for advertisements. Full-text. Coverage varies from publication to publication.

Williams Electronic Indexes and Databases



Online Resources


Making of America Journals: 19th Century

MOA is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through Reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains the full text of approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.



The Nineteenth Century in Print: The Making of America in Books and Periodicals

Part of the Library of Congress American Memory project; integrates the two parts of the Making of America project at Michigan and Cornell.  Books and periodicals published mostly during the latter half of the 19th century. Subject areas include education, American history, sociology, psychology, and science and technology. Periodicals include Harper's Weekly, Atlantic Monthly, New Englander, North American Review, Punchinello, and Scientific American.  Full text.  Searchable by keyword, author, title, and subject.




Film Archives and Holdings


Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive

Does not include a catalog or database, but does include contact information and information on how to request film prints and how to use the archive. See also the Library of Congress site (National Film Preservation Board, Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, under Internet Resources, below) for more information.



The Film Catalog: A List of the Holdings of the Museum of Modern Art. Jon Gartenberg, general ed. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1985.

MOMA has the strongest international film collection in the U.S., incorporating all periods and genres.  (See also the link to "Museum of Modern Art: Film and Video Collection," below.) 

Sawyer Reference PN1993.45 .M88 1985



George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film

GEH is "a leading force in the field, with holdings of over 25,000 titles and a collection of stills, posters and papers with over 3 million artifacts." Collection strengths include the silent era of filmmaking (1895–1928), the golden age of Hollywood (the 1920s to the 1940s) and silent German cinema, creating a core collection of classics "unrivaled for its quality and diversity." Links to archival film loans, research requests, and footage requests.



Museum of Modern Art: Film and Video Collection

Links to information on the Celeste Bartos Film Study Center, the Circulating Film and Video Library, and the Film Stills Archive (temporarily closed due to a renovation project).



UCLA Film and Television Archive

Contains over 220,000 films and TV programs, and 27,000 feet of newsreel footage. Film collection contains materials dating back to the 1890s. To search the online database of holdings, click "Access" and then click the link to the online catalog (or simply connect to



World Directory of Moving Image and Sound Archives. Wolfgang Klaue, ed. Munich and New Providence: K.G. Saur, 1993.

Self-admittedly inadequate, "outdated the minute it is published," and containing only the most cursory information about many of the collections listed, this book is nevertheless useful as a starting point for locating archival collections on film. Browse sections for France, the U.K., and the U.S. Most of the repositories listed will by now most likely have online websites. See also the link to Moving Image Collections, under Finding Archival Material, below.

Sawyer Stacks PN1993.4 .W68 1993




Finding Archival Material


Archival Resources: Collections and Finding Aids

Database of archival collections in research libraries that are members of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), and archival finding aids created by those libraries as tools to access their collections. Search results for finding aids are displayed first, and you must click the link at the top of the screen to see the records for archival collections. Look here to find records for the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, the Thomas Edison Archives, the Eadweard Muybridge Papers at the University of Pennsylvania, and many other archival collections. 

Clark Electronic Resources



Archives of American Art

The AAA is a rich archive of papers on American art and artists. Search the online catalog to find (for instance) the George Hendricks Motion Picture History Papers, the Thomas Eakins Letters 1866–1934, the Library Company of Philadelphia Print Department photograph collection, [ca. 1850]–1890 (these include Eakins' motion studies), University of Pennsylvania papers concerning Eadweard Muybridge's studies on animal locomotion, 1886–1901, and many other treasure troves. Collections on microfilm may be borrowed through interlibrary loan from the AAA.




General archives database; not specific to film or art. Includes the entire collection of NUCMC (the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, compiled by the Library of Congress) from 1959 to the present, the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States (NIDS) and links to online finding aids. 

Clark/Williams Electronic Resources



The Edison Papers

Archive of the Thomas A. Edison papers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Click "Edison Papers: Editions" for descriptions of and links to the digital, book, and microfilm editions of the papers.   The Digital Edition, which is in progress, offers 180,000+ pages, including pages from Parts I to III of the microfilm edition and items from other public and private collections.  High-resolution copies of all website images are available for purchase. Click "Thomas Alva Edison" for biography, bibliography, chronology, patents, and other information. Click "Search" to search the digital edition of the papers.



Moving Image Collections:  A Window to the World's Moving Images

"Provides archivists, educators, and the general public the ability to discover, locate, and in some cases view moving images from repositories around the world." The MIC opening page provides access to two databases: a Union Catalog ( lists individual moving images collected and managed by MIC participating organizations, and an Archive Directory ( lists organizations that collect moving images.



Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archive

This part of the PAFA website functions as an overview of and finding guide to the archive, describing many of the materials in the archive and in relevant cases explaining where they are to be found on the AAA microfilm reels. With this information, it is possible to request relevant reels from the Archive of American Art. Click on "information resources for the Academy school" to find a short bibliography of publications about the Academy school.




Union catalog of the hundreds of member libraries of Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Includes thousands of records for archival collections and finding aids. Check the "Archival Materials" box near the bottom of the search screen to limit a search to archival resources, or do a general search and then look at the materials listed under the Archival Materials tab. 

Clark/Williams Electronic Resource




Internet Resources


100 Years of Cinema in Europe

Well-researched site on the history of cinema exhibition in Europe, with sections devoted to France, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, and Luxembourg, giving details on production and exhibition in the earliest years for each country. In English and Italian.



American Film Institute Catalog

The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films, 1893–1970 is a good source for systematic historical research in American film generally, though not necessarily the best source for pre-cinema studies. This source reflects a collaboration between the Museum of Motion Picture and Sound Recordings (Smithsonian Institution) and AFI, offering coverage for 45,000 films. Access to the Silent Film Database, 25,000 entries for silent American films from 1893–1930, does not require subscription.



American Memory Collection

Collection of early film clips from the Library of Congress, with substantial supporting information.  Includes early Edison productions, turn-of-the-century views of New York, the origins of American animation, American variety acts (vaudeville and popular entertainment), and views from the Spanish-American War. Available in streamed and downloadable forms, in MPEG, QuickTime and Real formats.




Site created by Carl Lucassen includes some animations of the work of 19th-century sequence photographers, or chronophotographers, such as Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey and Albert Londe, in a section entitled Chronophotographical Projections. There are other sections showing animations of the proto-cinema work of Wordsworth Donisthorpe and Louis Le Prince, and optical toys. Also includes a fascinating section with the text and images of early U.S. patents on motion picture machines. In Dutch and English.



Archivio del Movemento

Wide selection of pre-cinema and early cinema animations, including titles by Ottomar Anschütz, Albert Londe, Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne-Jules Marey, Lucien Bull, Georges Demeny, the Lumière brothers, Max Skladanowsky, and Thomas Edison. Text in Italian. Requires Windows Media Player.



Cinematheque Francaise

Website for the Museum of the Cinema in Paris. Click on "Activities" at the top and then on "Collections appareils" for information on the museum's collections of cinema apparatus, gathered by Henri Langlois and Laurent Mannoni. The CF also houses the Will Day Historic Collection of Cinematograph and Moving Picture Equipment, an "incomparable hoard" of documents and artifacts acquired by the museum in the 1960s.



The Complete History of the Discovery of Cinema

An ambitious attempt to trace the origins of motion pictures from 900 BC through to the arrival of cinematography at the end of the 19th century. Beware!—the quality of the information is variable and often wrong, but the overall conception is interesting and well illustrated, and it may be a good place to get background information or ideas. Check "related sites" and "bibliography" as well.



A Guide to Motion Picture Catalogs by American Producers and Distributors, 1894–1908: The Microfilm Edition.  Edited by Charles Musser. Frederick, MD:  University Publications of America, 1985.

Texts from the printed guide that accompanies the six-reel microfilm of motion picture catalogs (available, in theory, through interlibrary loan). The introduction describes the catalogs available on the film and the scope of the project. One section describes the role of catalogs in the early film industry, and another discusses how the catalogs can be used as a resource by archivists, filmmakers, film scholars, and historians.



Museum of the Moving Image Website

In 1999 London's Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) closed, awaiting the promised construction of a new museum. Filling the gap, Stephen Herbert has devised an unofficial online version of the sections of the Museum that covered pre-cinema and early cinema. A good place to learn about magic lanterns, the phantasmagoria, panoramas, Zoetropes, Phenakistoscopes, chronophotography, and the first twenty years of cinema.



National Film Preservation Board (Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting,and Recorded Sound Division)

Includes links to the National Film Registry List, the National Film Preservation Foundation (this includes films preserved through the NFPF), film resources at the Library of Congress and on the internet, (check out "Valuable Publications and Research Guides" at, and to the Moving Image Archives, a disorganized but useful page with lists of links to film archives all over the world.



National Museum of Photography, Film & Television

Website includes images of items in the Cinematography collection, which  "represents the evolution of the means of recording and showing moving images in a photographic form. It embraces the ‘pre-history' of cinematography, which ranges from optical toys and magic lanterns to pioneer work in motion studies, and the audio-visual field, such as slide/tape and multivision." The Printed Materials and Ephemera collection "provides the social, technical and cultural context for much of the material contained in the other four Museum Collections;" it includes books, magazines, drawings, designs, and ephemera such as posters, cartoons, and packaging.



Program for Art on Film Online

Art on Film Online is a clearinghouse for information about film, video, CD-ROM and other interactive productions on fine arts, architecture, photography, decorative arts, and related topics. Searching the database requires registration, but this is free. Search the database to find films on the work of (for example) Muybridge and Marey; search for "animation" and find references to such items as "Film before Film."



Who's Who of Victorian Cinema

"A biographical guide to the world of Victorian film…from the first glimmerings in the 1870s and 80s to the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901." The website is based on Who's Who of Victorian Cinema (London:  British Film Institute, 1996). Features 300 biographies of people who played significant roles in creating moving pictures, an essay on the technology of Victorian filmmaking, pictures of machines (cameras, projectors), a comprehensive Chronology of Events (under Resources) that places events in Victorian cinema side by side with larger historical events, and a fairly lengthy bibliography.



Yale University Research Guide in Film Studies

Well-organized hyperlinked research guide; some of the materials are books and electronic journals available only in or through the Yale libraries but most are links to freely available online resources.  Particularly useful categories are "How to find primary and critical materials" and "Selected reference resources by type."

There is also a list of online resources for silent film.

© 2006 Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
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