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Early Cinema: The "Silent" Era

Resources and tips for finding information about films made prior to 1929..

POSTERS & OTHER ARTIFACTS

DATABASES FOR HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS

SAMPLE SEARCH TERMS

“Moving picture*”

“Motion picture*”

“Film* (film, films, filmings)

Cinema* (cinema, cinematograph, cinematographe)

Screen*

Photoplay

Nickelodeon

Vitascope

Kinetoscope

Pathe

Biograph

Vitagraph

Lumiere

Melies

" " Using quotations glues words together into phrases. This helps narrow a search to only find the term desired.

*  An asterisk is a wild card that can stand in for one or more letters (or no letters). This expands a search to include various forms of a word.

FINDING MATERIALS CONTEMPORARY TO EARLY CINEMA

Materials created or published when a film was made or shown can provide a revealing perspective of the attitudes, assumptions and values of the time.

Old newspapers, journals, magazines and trade publications can have articles on new technologies, societal viewpoints and reactions, and film screenings and events. Display advertisements in these publications can provide indications of how films were released and marketed.

EARLY JOURNALS, MAGAZINES & TRADE PUBLICATIONS

Moving Picture World - 1917                 Picture-Play - Media HIstory Digital Library

Along with the first films, came the first publications devoted to the art and commerce of cinema.

 

MODERN STUDIES OF EARLY CINEMA

The following databases and electronic resources are good places to find information that looks back on early cinema. These resources can include film cast and credits, historical overviews, biographical information, critical analysis, and film reviews.

The Colby Library also has numerous books relating to the period. They can be found using the Colby Library online catalog.

VIEWING EARLY FILMS

Librarian

Laine Thielstrom's picture
Laine Thielstrom
Contact:
esthiels@colby.edu

Contact me by email or chat (send me a Google Hangouts invite). Or let's talk about your research or information need on Google Meet or Zoom!

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