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The Complete Moving Picture World, 1907-1919

The Media History Digital Library and Domitor are pleased to present a complete digital edition of the first 12 years of Moving Picture World, the key motion picture trade publication that covered the film business during the transformation of the viewing experience from the nickelodeon to the movie palace.

Scanned from the original color magazines, the MHDL’s collection of Moving Picture World begins in 1907 and extends through June 1919. The collection of over 70,000 pages is open access, and each issue is searchable, and free to read and download. The first 18 months are from microfilm and the remainder are scanned from original copies.

These issues contain thousands of film reviews, profiles of executives, directors and stars, advertisements for films and companies that no longer exist. As Annette D’Agostino noted in her Index to Short and Feature Film Reviews in the Moving Picture World, “the importance of these reviews cannot be overstated: they remain our only link to many films of the early cinema, and are a key to understanding the origins of film study.” Highlights of the first decade include articles on lantern slides, the successful (the New York preview screening of The Birth of a Nation) and the unsuccessful (e.g. Gaumont Chronophone), well-designed or lurid advertising, and finally the tenth anniversary issue in 1917 that includes articles signed by industry leaders including Carl Laemmle, Thomas H. Ince, Mack Sennett and Edwin Thanhouser.

Our digital edition of Moving Picture World is the cumulative result of three years of coordination and digitization. Thank you to the collections that provided copies for scanning: Eileen Bowser, Robert S. Birchard, the Pacific Film Archive Library and Film Study Center, and the Museum of Modern Art Library. Funders include Domitor, an anonymous donor (in memory of Carolyn Hauer), Richard Scheckman, and David Sorochty. Additionally, we thank Kathryn Fuller-Seeley and Q. David Bowers for sharing their microfilm scans and Andy Myers for reprocessing the files.

Domitor, the international society for the study of early cinema, sponsored the completion of the pre-1920 Moving Picture World through a fundraising drive among its members. Domitor’s funds also paid for the digitization of the French magazine Cine-Journal (1908-1912), the US v. MPPC (1912-1913), and more publications that you can find at the MHDL’s Early Cinema page. Thank you to Domitor’s president, Scott Curtis, for initiating the campaign and to all the members who contributed (you can see the full list of names here).

We have access to original copies to complete the run of Moving Picture World through its last issue in 1927, and are hoping to identify the estimated $8,000 it will take to complete scanning from 1919 to 1927.

In the coming months, we look forward to delivering a wealth of silent cinema publications, hundreds of books, and more broadcasting journals. We will also debut our new fulltext search platform. Thank you for everyone who has donated to us via the PayPal link on our homepage. Your contributions help support website hosting, scanning, and shipping. You keep us moving forward.

4 Responses

  1. [...] another wonderful collection to their scanned archives: early trade paper The Moving Picture World, every issue save the first from 1907 to 1919. From the first available article I learned of New York Nickelodeons shut down as fire hazards [...]

  2. [...] fantastic new resource for researchers and teachers of early cinema has just appeared online. The first twelve years of [...]

  3. Douglas E. Hall says:

    What a wonderful site and project. I am chairman of the Edgewater (NJ) Cultural and Historical Committee and am interested in the film industry in Edgewater in the period that Moving Picture World (MPW) was published. Richard Koszarski in his book, “Fort Lee: The Film Town,” discusses a report in MPW, June 19, 1915 about plans for the filming of “Battle of the Ballots” by Good Luck Film Co. We are about to open our own Edgewater Museum and would like to obtain any material we might reproduce on this film or the production people and cast of this film. Also anything on Momus Co., which produced films in Edgewater at the same period.
    Thank you.
    Douglas E. Hall
    Edgewater Cultural and Historical Committee

  4. Gorgeous !
    Thanks a lot.

    Didier Trarieux-Lumière
    grand-grand son of Auguste Lumière

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