Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

January 5, 1994

Public Broadcasting Service Donates TV Archives to Library of Congress

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has announced that it is donating its program archives to the Library of Congress. To be known as the "PBS Television Collection," the collection spans four decades and numbers well over 40,000 videotapes and films, including such celebrated programs as THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE, CREATIVITY WITH BILL MOYERS and HOLLYWOOD TELEVISION THEATRE, as well as large selections from such ongoing series as SESAME STREET and GREAT PERFORMANCES and NOVA.

The announcement was made by Robert Ottenhoff, PBS's chief operating officer, on January 5 during the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Ca. "The Library of Congress is the pre-eminent symbol of the enduring quest for knowledge and enlightenment," said Ottenhoff. "There is no better place anywhere than the Library of Congress for ensuring access by scholars to television's finest works."

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "The Library of Congress contains the largest repository of film and television in the United States, with a special mandate to collect, preserve, and make available the historical and creative record of America. PBS has been a pioneer in the development of television and has played a formative and responsible role in arts and documentary programming. This collection comprises some of the key moments in the history of creativity and knowledge in the latter half of the twentieth century. I am pleased to accept, on behalf of the American people, this record of the innovative men and women who produced programs for public television."

The PBS Television Collection is composed primarily of programs from PBS, but also includes productions distributed by the Educational Television and Radio Center (ETRC), a key source of educational programs in the 1950's and early 1960's, and National Educational Television (ETRC's name beginning in 1963). PBS, which was incorporated in November 1969, began distributing programs in fall 1970.

The Library already has a significant number of PBS programs available for research. However, the PBS Television Collection will, in some cases, enable the Library to offer researchers viewing copies of materials which the Library had previously only in negative form.

Among the early PBS landmarks to be given to the library are THE ADVOCATES, BILL MOYERS' JOURNAL, CIVILIZATION, THE ADAMS CHRONICLES, MEETING OF MINDS, THE SCARLET LETTER and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. Significant portions of such PBS mainstays as NOVA, the longest-running science series on American television, WALL STREET WEEK WITH LOUIS RUKEYSER, America's first financial news series, GREAT PERFORMANCES, the nation's oldest and most comprehensive performing-arts series, and SESAME STREET and MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD, two of America's leading children's series, are part of the collection. So, too, are programs from FRONTLINE, THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE, MASTERPIECE THEATRE, MYSTERY! and NATURE.

PBS will give most current and future productions to the library one year after PBS's rights to them expire. Among these recent hits are THE CIVIL WAR, EYES ON THE PRIZE I and II, THE GREAT DEPRESSION, HEALING AND THE MIND WITH BILL MOYERS, THE SECRET OF LIFE and THE NATURE OF SEX.

Representative of the Educational Television and Radio Center contribution to the collection are such 1950's series as SPOTLIGHT ON OPERA, UNCLE WONDER'S WORKSHOP, THE COMING SPACE AGE and THE CHALLENGE OF FOREIGN POLICY. Noteworthy offerings from National Educational Television include THE FRENCH CHEF, NET PLAYHOUSE, PUBLIC BROADCASTING LABORATORY, SOUL! and THE FORSYTE SAGA. The library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, which is responsible for the acquisition, cataloging, preservation and service of the television, radio, motion picture and recorded sound collections, will oversee the PBS Television Collection. Since the 1950s, the library has been collecting materials in order to preserve a permanent record of the television and radio programs of the United States. The library, pursuant to the 1976 American Television and Radio Archives legislation, is mandated to collect programs which are of public or cultural interest, historical significance, educational value or otherwise worthy of preservation. Its resources number over 150,000 television programs, 725,000 radio transcriptions, 1.7 million other sound recordings and 125,000 motion pictures.

The television research collections are available by advance appointment at the Library of Congress, without charge, for specialized individual research. Inquiries should be addressed to: Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 (telephone: 202-707-8572). The Library hopes to have the PBS collection processed and ready for research access before the end of calendar year 1994. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 101 million items on 532 miles of bookshelves. Its collections include 28 million books, 14 million photographs and four million maps. PBS is a private, non-profit corporation, serving 346 public television stations in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa with programs and educational services.

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PR 94-003
ISSN 0731-3527

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