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Motion Picture Stills on Videodisc

The Library's collection of 92,000 8"x10" publicity stills (from about 6,700 motion pictures) can be viewed on videodisc in the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room. A printed title index provides the videodisc frame numbers which, when entered, retrieve the series of stills for a particular film. For each film there is a title frame that includes original title, alternate title, when known, and year of release. Cross-references for alternate titles are incorporated into the index.

The bulk of the collection falls into three chronological periods:

  1. 1942-1945: During this period, the Library participated with the Museum of Modern Art in New York in a project to analyze the content of American films and to recommend that selected titles be acquired for the library's collections through the mechanism of copyright deposit. The stills were given to the Library as part of the information assembled for the project.
  2. 1950-1956: Stills from this period were donated from the National Screen Service in the early 1970s.
  3. 1968 to 1981: In 1968, the National Screen Service began to deposit their publicity packets with the library on a regular basis. The stills from this period are from this material.

Most of the stills are black and white images from American features, but several hundred foreign features are scattered throughout, many of them British. An occasional documentary will be found, and more rarely, stills from television shows, theatrical serials and theatrical cartoons.

The duplication and sale of copies of most of the stills may be done after the patron has obtained written permission from the copyright owner. Stills from the early silent period may be free of copyright restrictions--thus permission from copyright owners will not be required.

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  April 28, 2016
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