Unique among cultural institutions that collect moving image and sound media, Washington University Libraries' Film & Media Archive is comprised not only of completed works in film and video, but also of the numerous materials that went into the creation of those works. The Archive collects photos, interview outtakes, stock footage, producers' research and notes, correspondence, treatments, and scripts, all of which provide a distinctive look at the filmmaking and storytelling process for scholars, teachers, filmmakers, and students.
The Film & Media Archive at Washington University in St. Louis opened its doors to the public in September 2002. The Archive houses rare and unique collections of film, videotape, audiotape, manuscripts, including scripts, storyboards, and other materials related to Civil Rights, African-American life, the history of Harlem, social justice, democracy and the arts.
The Archive's inaugural acquisition was the Henry Hampton/Blackside Collection. The collection was originally housed in Boston and was eagerly sought by numerous prestigious archives across the country. The Hampton Collection consists primarily of material collected in connection with the various documentary films made by the late Henry Hampton, a 1961 graduate of Washington University, and his production company Blackside, Inc.
The Henry Hampton Collection moved to Washington University in mid-2002, generating great excitement and inspiring a series of expansions in staffing, capabilities and activities designed to preserve, catalog and make available its massive and unique contents. As part of its commitment to the collection, Washington University has custom built a state-of-the-art environmentally controlled space to permanently house the archive.
The Archive currently consists of over 75,000 items and is expected to grow as collections are processed and new acquisitions are added. The contents of the Archive include all interviews, photos, scripts, production notes, stock footage, correspondence, and research materials created during the production of various television documentaries.
The acquisition and success in which the Film Archive has been able to manage the large and diverse materials in the Hampton Collection has assisted in attracting other prominent African-American documentary film collections. In the spring of 2006, the Film Archive expanded its holdings with the acquisition of the William Miles Collection.
William Miles, a New York based filmmaker, selected Washington University's Film & Media Archive as the place to deposit his life's work after seeing the care and attention it would receive. As with the Hampton Collection, the Miles Collection consists of all the outtakes, rough cuts, stock footage, interviews, photos, music, and research created during production.
The Film & Media Archive also houses the Insignia Collection, a collection of stock footage video outtakes and photographs from the Insignia Films 2003 PBS program Reporting America At War, and the Educational Film Collection (formerly the St. Louis Public School Film Collection), which consists of 256 titles of educational films obtained from the St. Louis Public School system film library.
The physical contents of the collections are made up of the following:
The majority of the film material is 16mm but there is some 35mm. Film material consists of negatives, sync reels, work prints, screening copies, and stock footage.
This includes all audio formats such as CDs, cassettes, LPs, DATs, and 1/4" reel.
This includes all recordings on a video format (1", 2", 3/4", BETA-SP, 8mm, VHS, Hi-8, mini-dv, dv-cam, D1, D3, and helical tapes).
This includes producers' research files, scripts, interview transcripts, shot logs, storycards, administration files and folders, magazines, posters, newspaper clippings, awards, and ephemera.
This includes 5.25" floppies, 3.5" disks, zip disks, and jaz disks.
There are various guide books, teacher manuals, and other publications that accompanied each of the series. However, the bulk of these books come from Blackside's and William Miles' libraries and consists of materials that were used for reference.
The Film Archive is part of the Library's Special Collections and is located in Washington University's West Campus Library. The Archive is open to the public for research and viewing purposes. Our hours of operation are from 8:30am - 5:00pm CST Monday through Friday. The Archive is closed Saturday and Sunday and all national holidays. Reservations to use the Archive are not required but recommended because public space is limited.
Film and Media Archive
One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1061
St. Louis, MO 63130
The Film & Media Archive is located by the Forsyth MetroLink Station.
Generally we can help walk-ins, however, it is more efficient if a reservation is made at least a day in advance. Please call or email the archive to set up a time for a visit. Go to the Research page for information on how to conduct research at the archive.
The archive has a viewing room and facilities and can accommodate materials on DVD, CD, VHS, U-Matic and Beta-SP. It is strongly encouraged that you book the viewing room/equipment in advance.
Film and Video Reproduction and Services
Washington University in St. Louis is pleased to offer film and video reproduction services to users of its Film & Media Archive. Please note: We are an archive and not a stock footage supplier and do not own the copyright to many of our holdings. As such, there may be limitations on some of the services we are able to offer. It is not always possible to provide materials on demand and not all of our holdings can be made immediately available to our users. Review our Policies and Procedures to get the correct forms for your request.
Film Inspection Services
The Film & Media Archive offers film inspection services for $20.00 per hour. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and subject to ongoing cataloging and preservation work. Please contact the Archive for more information.
Research or Screener Copies
The Film & Media Archive is able to provide low resolution dubs for research and viewing from the following sources-U-matic, VHS, beta-sp, and DVD. Copies made from our film resources and various obsolete video formats will be outsourced to a reputable vendor. Any vendor fees will be the responsibility of the user. All master copies must be returned to the Archive.
The Film & Media Archive installed a digital audiovisual workstation in 2009. Designed and configured by St. Louis-based Integrated Systems Group, the new workstation enables the preservation of a wide range of legacy media formats including U-matic, Betacam SP, VHS and S-VHS videocassettes. It also makes possible the capture of audio from compact audio cassettes and quarter-inch open-reel audio tape. The workstation uses an Apple Mac Pro equipped with two 2.8 GHz Quad Core Intel Xeon processors and the Final Cut Pro Studio suite of video editing tools. The Archive offers digitization services for $50.00 per hour of work. There are a wide range of output formats including MPEG-4, MPEG-2, H.264, AVI, Windows Media and Flash video files. Please contact the Archive for a full list.
The Film & Media Archive is able to license many of its holdings in which it holds copyrights. However, the copyright in many other materials are owned by third parties. The Archive can help identify copyright owners but it is the patron's responsibility to clear rights with the appropriate parties. The Archive will not make available high quality clean copies for use by patrons without written permission by the copyright owner.
Please contact the Film and Media Archive for information on Footage Licensing Agreements and licensing fees.
** Note: All revenue generated from licensing is spent on preservation of the media in the collection. **
The Film & Media Archive offers tours to individuals or groups, including classes. Tours can be scheduled Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:00pm.
Screenings of films found in the archive can be arranged. The archive also holds periodic screenings on campus, and has screened films with the Academic Film Archive of North America.
The Film & Media Archive frequently hosts classes in the reading room. Professors at Washington University are welcome to contact the Archive to schedule a time to bring classes by. The Archive has also hosted classes from schools in the surrounding area. Contact the Archive for more information.
The Film & Media Archive has worked with many groups and organizations on numerous events, programs, screenings and other collaborative efforts.
The Film & Media Archive has collaborated on numerous online projects, museum exhibitions and events.
The Archive provided video, photographs, and manuscript material for a lesson plan on the Civil Rights Movement. This project was produced in conjunction with WGBH and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
The Archive provided archival material including photographs, audio and video interviews for exhibitions at the following institutions:
The Film & Media Archive periodically mounts exhibitions in Olin Library. Past exhibits include:
The Film & Media Archive has hosted workshops including a Teacher Training Workshop in September 2006 conducted by Judy Richardson, former Blackside producer and current producer for Northern Light Productions. The workshop was co-sponsored by KETC and the topic was teaching the Civil Rights Movement from grades 1-12.
In November 2007, the Film Archive hosted an AMIA workshop on Digital Basics, which covered how to make knowledgeable decisions about digitizing collections and managing and preserving the files that are created.
The Film & Media Archive along with the African American Studies Program sponsor the annual essay contest in honor of documentary filmmaker William Miles, director of I Remember Harlem. The contest is open to undergraduate and graduate students of Washington University. Click here for more details.
Nadia Ghasedi, Film and Media Archivist, joined the Film Archive as the Cataloging and Preservation Archivist in January of 2007. She was promoted to Special Media Collections Archivist in July 2010. Nadia received a Certificate in Film Preservation from the L. Jeffrey School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York in 2006. Prior to that, she earned a BA in Communication Arts Radio-TV-Film, with an emphasis in production, from the University of Wisconsin--Madison. In addition, she earned a minor in Classical Humanities. Nadia was introduced to film archiving as an undergraduate student worker at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. Nadia leads the cataloging and film preservation efforts in the Archive.
Alison Carrick, Archive Assistant, received her B.A. degrees in English and Anthropology from the University of Kansas and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She has worked in Special Collections at Washington University since 1997 and in 2002 began work in the Film and Media Archive. Her responsibilities include maintaining the Film & Media Archive's website, participation in digitization projects, cataloging, planning and mounting exhibitions, patron assistance, and managing student workers.
Rudolph Clay - MALS - University of Michigan. Master's degree in Human Resources Management - Washington University. Head of Outreach Services and African & African American Studies Librarian, Washington University Libraries and Lecturer in African & African-American Studies.
James Hone, Digital Archivist, - has over 30 years experience in media production, preservation, and digitization including 11 years at CBS in New York. His recent work included the video preservation and digitization of former Congressman Richard A. Gephardt's media materials. Jim holds a BA in Government from Manhattan College and a M.Div. from Weston Jesuit School of Theology. His position in the Film Archive will be responsible for digitizing footage for access and availability on the Web in addition to establishing long-term digital preservation strategies.
Barry Kelley, Processing Assistant - joined Olin Library in 1991 as a searcher in Cataloging and became an adaptive cataloger the following year. From late 2005 to late 2010 he split his time between Cataloging and the Film Archive. His current duties consist mainly of cataloging and arranging archival materials. Barry received both a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Christopher Pepus, Archive Assistant, received a BA in history and government from the University of Virginia in 1991 and earned his MA in history there in 1994. He served as a teaching fellow at Washington University from 1997-2003. He worked part-time at Washington University Film Archive from 2003-2005, being made a full-time Archive Assistant in the latter year. His duties include processing requests, supervising student workers, cataloging, editing Eyes on the Prize interview transcripts, and assisting on select preservation projects.
Irene Taylor, Film and Media Catalog and Preservation Archivist , completed a one-year MIAP (Moving Image Archiving and Preservation) fellowship from New York University to work and study at the Film & Media Archive (2009-2010) before joining the staff in her current position. Irene previously worked as in intern at the Film & Media Archive during the summer of 2004 as part of her studies at New York University (NYU). She received a MA in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from NYU in 2005, and graduated from Emory University with a MA in Film Studies. Her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: Communications, History and English is from Boise State University.
Joseph Thompson, Education Archivist is a Senior Lecturer in English and African American Studies.. He earned an H.B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Delaware in 1994, and a Ph.D. in English and African American Studies from Yale University in 2001. Before arriving at Washington University, Joe served as the African American Studies Archivist and Resource Specialist for the Duke University Libraries. Joe teaches courses on 19th- and 20th-century African American literature, as well as courses on the concept of race in black thought and culture. His abiding interest in the work of libraries and archives was spawned by his doctoral research on the life and work of the writer and librarian-archivist Arna Bontemps. Joe is engaged in increasing scholarly activity in the Film Archive and is developing programs such as the senior undergraduate and graduate essay contests, as well as establishing research travel grants. Joe Teaches African American Literature: Early Writers to the Harlem Renaissance African American Literature: African American Writers Since the Harlem Renaissance The Concept of Race in Black Thought Research Seminar of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship