Top 40 Journals

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We hope that you're able to browse and search our collections to find exactly what you need for your projects! Based on historic usage data and feedback from users, we've compiled this list of the top 40 publications contained within our collections. You can view the entire list below, or click "Read More" under any title to view all issues for that publication. These 40 journals span the the histories film, broadcasting, and recorded sound and represent the global scope of media history.

In addition to the publications listed here, browsing the collection pages or searching Lantern are other great ways to find what you're looking for!

Top 40 Journals

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1. Photoplay

The leading Hollywood fan magazine of the 1920s and 1930s. Photoplay offered readers portraits of their favorite movie stars and stories about their personal lives. The magazine played an important promotional function for the Hollywood industry, but its editors and reviewers could also be highly critical of Hollywood. Beginning in 1921, Photoplay bestowed its annual 'Medal of Honor' for the film readers voted as the best of the year. -- Eric Hoyt, 2011.

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2. Moving Picture World

Moving Picture World, founded in 1907 by J.P. Chalmers, was one of the motion picture industry's first trade papers. Published on a weekly basis in New York City, Moving Picture World informed exhibitors about films available for rental and editorialized on behalf of the growing industry (improving the quality of movies through higher filmmaking standards, not government censorship, was a frequent topic). The paper reached its height in the mid-to-late-1910s--a fact reflected in the circulation figures and the huge amount of advertising that filled every issue during the period. In the 1920s, Moving Picture World lost ground to other competing weekly trade papers -- including Variety, Exhibitor's Herald, and Motion Picture News. In 1927, Moving Picture World ceased publication when it was acquired by Martin Quigley's Exhibitor's Herald. Across the 20 year run of Moving Picture World, readers can watch the transition from short film programs to feature films and witness the transition from the dominance of Edison's Trust to the rise of the "Independent" film companies that ultimately became the Hollywood studios. Silent film historians have utilized and cited Moving Picture World more frequently than any other trade paper, and the publication still has many insights left to offer. -- Eric Hoyt, 2012/2013

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3. Motion Picture News

Motion Picture News was the leading film industry trade journal during the 1920s. Founded in 1908 as a counterweight to the dominant Moving Picture World, the News was the voice for the independent, non-Trust, producers. Later Motion Picture News expanded its coverage to the entire industry, supporting the independent exhibitor with objective film reviews, summaries of programs at theatres across the nation, activities of regional exchanges in the cities with regional exchanges, and excellent coverage of the coming of sound and screenings and stage shots at the major New York City theatres. -- David Pierce, 2013

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4. Film Daily

This leading industry publication, published out of New York, was founded in 1915 by Wid Gunning (who called his publication Wid's Daily until 1922). The Film Daily documented the rise of the Hollywood studios, the transition to sound, and the evolution of the American film industry (the paper finally shuttered in 1970). The Film Daily included feature reviews, news stories, and advertisements, but its extensive coverage of short films in the 1920s and 30s distinguished it from other trade papers of the period. -- Eric Hoyt, 2011/2013

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5. Exhibitors Herald

Founded in 1915 by a Chicago printing company as a regional trade paper for Midwest exhibitors. In 1916, editor Martin Quigley bought out the owners, and over the next 15 years, he grew EXHIBITORS HERALD into one of the most important national, weekly trade papers in the film business. Quigley acquired MOTOGRAPHY in 1917 and MOVING PICTURE WORLD in 1927. In 1930, he acquired MOTION PICTURE NEWS and the new 'consolidated' publication became MOTION PICTURE HERALD. From the pulpit of his editorial page, Quigley preached the need to improve the motion picture industry and improve the quality of the films. He skillfully served as a mediator in disputes -- between distributors and exhibitors, between the film industry and the Catholic Church (Quigley was one of the architects of the Production Code). Quigley claimed that EXHIBITORS HERALD represented the 'independent exhibitor' and sections like 'What the Picture Did for Me?' certainly provided a forum for theater owners. But plenty of exhibitors viewed Quigley as a servant to the studios and large theater chains. In response, publications such as SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW, INDEPENDENT EXHIBITORS FILM BULLETIN, HARRISON'S REPORTS, and BOX OFFICE were either formed or grew significantly in the years following Quigley's brief moment of consolidation in 1930. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014

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Cover image for Motion Picture Herald
6. Motion Picture Herald

Founded in 1915 by a Chicago printing company as a regional trade paper for Midwest exhibitors. In 1916, editor Martin Quigley bought out the owners, and over the next 15 years, he grew EXHIBITORS HERALD into one of the most important national, weekly trade papers in the film business. Quigley acquired MOTOGRAPHY in 1917 and MOVING PICTURE WORLD in 1927. In 1930, he acquired MOTION PICTURE NEWS and the new 'consolidated' publication became MOTION PICTURE HERALD. From the pulpit of his editorial page, Quigley preached the need to improve the motion picture industry and improve the quality of the films. He skillfully served as a mediator in disputes -- between distributors and exhibitors, between the film industry and the Catholic Church (Quigley was one of the architects of the Production Code). Quigley claimed that EXHIBITORS HERALD represented the 'independent exhibitor' and sections like 'What the Picture Did for Me?' certainly provided a forum for theater owners. But plenty of exhibitors viewed Quigley as a servant to the studios and large theater chains. In response, publications such as SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW, INDEPENDENT EXHIBITORS FILM BULLETIN, HARRISON'S REPORTS, and BOX OFFICE were either formed or grew significantly in the years following Quigley's brief moment of consolidation in 1930. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014

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Cover image for Variety
7. Variety

Founded in 1905 by Sime Silverman, Variety is the best known and most important trade paper in the history of American entertainment. Variety began as a New York weekly publication covering vaudeville, however, its scope expanded over time to include legitimate theatre, burlesque, motion pictures, radio, and television (transitions that the MHDL will eventually document within this record). In 1933, Daily Variety was launched in Los Angeles to offer in-depth coverage of the motion picture industry and serve as a competitor to The Hollywood Reporter, which was founded 'on the Coast' in 1930. In March 2013, Variety's owner ended the print edition of Daily Variety, though as of this writing, the weekly publication and a website offering non-stop news updates still exist. Variety may ultimately be best remembered for its integration of show business slang into entertainment trade coverage. Boffo. Hokum. Quickies. Svelte. Climaxer. Tenpercenter. Coastlander. Skein. We're still feeling zowied. -- Eric Hoyt, 2013

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Cover image for Motion Picture Daily
8. Motion Picture Daily

A New York-based daily trade paper published by Martin Quigley. The companion to Quigley's better known weekly publication, MOTION PICTURE HERALD, and a direct competitor to THE FILM DAILY, which was also published out of New York. Established in 1930, MOTION PICTURE DAILY enjoyed a circulation of roughly 5,000 readers most years of its four decades in print (a nearly identical circulation to THE FILM DAILY, but only one third of the readership of MOTION PICTURE HERALD, which reached a wider audience of exhibitors). In the 1930s, the MOTION PICTURE DAILY's editor, Maurice Kann, called on the movie industry to shift more production back to the East Coast. Any productions that filmed in New York received ample attention. New York City never regained its production lead over Hollywood, but the major studios used the Big Apple for their corporate and distribution headquarters. As a result, MOTION PICTURE DAILY tended to focus on economic and regulatory issues confronting the film industry. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014

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Cover image for Motion Picture Magazine
9. Motion Picture Magazine

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10. Broadcasting

This trade paper began in 1931 with a focus on radio, but as the TV industry expanded in the post-World War II era, the paper increasingly became devoted to television (even the title changed to BROADCASTING TELECASTING). Developments in technology, policy, advertising, and programming were covered. The paper's advertisements and articles reveal the intricate relationship among sponsors, stations, program suppliers, and station representatives -- the industry's term for middle-men who represented numerous local stations in negotiations with national sponsors. The success of particular stations or programming choices are frequently trumpeted in BROADCASTING'S advertisements -- always with the goal of selling more of something, such as a film program or a station's spot advertising time. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014

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11. Sponsor

Subtitle varies: The Buyers of broadcast advertising; The weekly magazine TV/radio advertisers use; the national weekly of TV & radio advertising

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12. Radio Mirror

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12. Picture-Play Magazine

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12. Radio age

Originally Motion Picture Classic (first issue 1915), renamed Movie Classic in September 1931. Sold as 'The Newsreel of the Newstands'; on par with Picture Play and Screenland in terms of content, quality, and circulation (solid but below that of Photoplay, et. al.) until it was absorbed by Motion Picture in 1937. -- Anne Helen Petersen, 2013. Secondary sources consulted: Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine by Anthony Slide and MovieMags.com.

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13. American Cinematographer

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13. Der Kinematograph

Germany’s first film trade journal, Der Kinematograph, played a prominent role in the film publishing landscape during the late Wilhelmine and Weimar periods and remains a key source for film historians today. The journal’s early history exemplifies the gradual emergence of cinema from the cinematograph, since it began as supplement to the popular variety journal Der Artist before becoming an independent publication dedicated to all aspects of the burgeoning film industry. As other scholars have pointed out, Der Kinematograph played an important role in the development of film criticism, especially after the ascension of Alfred Rosenthal to the position of chief editor in 1923. But it also covered a wide variety of topics from film history to technology to economic and juridical questions. The journal could also provide an interesting case study for the film politics of the Weimar period. In the early-1920s, it came under the control of the Scherl Verlag, run by the conservative media mogul Alfred Hugenberg (the Rupert Murdoch of his day), who would also acquire the UFA studio in 1927. This made it a prime target for left-wing groups such as the Volksverband für Filmkunst (Popular Association for Film Art), who saw Rosenthal and Hugenberg as key representatives of a capitalist mass media system dedicated to dumbing down the masses. In 1933, Der Kinematograph, like other film publications, was purged of Jewish colleagues, and the journal itself folded in 1935. —Michael Cowan, 2020

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14. Cinelandia

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15. Cine-mundial

Description (English): Cine-Mundial, the Spanish-language version of Moving Picture World, was published between 1916 and 1948. The magazine documents Hollywood’s growing dominance in Latin American markets in the 1920s and the emergence of national film industries, such as those of Mexico and Argentina after the introduction of sound film. Far from being a mere translation of its English-language counterpart, Cine-Mundial focused on issues that were important to its readers in Latin American and Spain—the representation of Latin Americans on screen, the geo-politics of film distribution, and Hollywood’s short foray into Spanish-language film production in the late 1920 and early 1930s. Functioning as both trade publication and fan magazine, its regular columns that featured reports from national correspondents and letters from readers from every corner of the Spanish-speaking world provides invaluable insight into Latin American audiences and their reception of both imported and nationally or regionally produced films. -- Laura Isabel Serna, 2013

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16. Cinema Star

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17. Filmindia

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18. Movie Makers

Movie Makers, the official publication of the Amateur Cinema League, documented and championed home movies and production by local film clubs. During 27 years of publication, Movie Makers provided extensive coverage of the growth of 16mm, the availability of Hollywood films to the home, filmmaking style, amateur production, and color cinematography. -- David Pierce, 2013

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19. Movie mirror.

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20. New York Clipper

The New York Clipper was one of the first theatrical trade newspapers in the United States. Founded in 1853, the Clipper offered weekly coverage of legitimate theatre, vaudeville, the circus, and other forms of entertainment (which, by the early-20th century, included motion pictures). In 1923, the Clipper was acquired and absorbed by one of its New York competitors: Variety. -- Eric Hoyt, 2013

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21. Billboard

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22. Exhibitor's Trade Review

In late-1916, Exhibitor's Trade Review entered a crowded market of weekly motion picture trade publications that already included the Moving Picture World, Motion Picture News, Exhibitor's Herald, and Motography, along with theatre and vaudeville-oriented papers that covered film, such as Variety, the Billboard, and the New York Clipper. To gain market share and differentiate itself from competitors, Exhibitor's Trade Review pursued a variety of tactics -- some constructive (gathering allies among exhibitor organizations), others destructive (smearing the reputations of competing trade papers and certain film companies that refused to buy advertising). Despite the behind-the-scenes controversies, though, Exhibitor's Trade Review appears to have, in the words of Alan Gevinson, 'established itself legitimately in its role as advisor to and fighter for the independent exhibitor.' All the issues that mattered to independent exhibitors were covered, including censorship, taxes, distributor contracts, piano accompaniment, and, of course, the films. In 1926, Exhibitor's Trade Review ceased weekly publication and only offered the daily service, Exhibitor's Daily, which was acquired a few years later by Martin Quigley as he attempted to consolidate the industry's trade papers under his control. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014

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23. Boxoffice

BOXOFFICE was the leading American exhibitor trade paper of the post-World War II era. But the publication had modest beginnings. In 1920, Ben Shlyen founded the paper, orginally titled THE REEL JOURNAL, in an office located in Kansas City's Film Row district. Like other regional exhibitor publications, THE REEL JOURNAL focused its attention on the local -- in this case, KC and the nearby territories that the city's distribution exchanges served. By the end of the 1920s, however, Shlyen had acquired or founded several more small exhibitor papers serving other US markets. In 1932, their titles all changed to BOXOFFICE, though they continued to be published in regional editions for decades to follow. -- Eric Hoyt, 2015

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24. Film Daily Year Book

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24. International Photographer

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24. The talking machine world

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25. Show World

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26. The Educational screen

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27. Business screen magazine

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28. The Optical Magic Lantern Journal

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29. Showmen's Trade Review

Established in 1933 by Charles 'Chick' Lewis, who previously edited the 'Manager's Round Table' section in Quigley's MOTION PICTURE HERALD. Lewis originally called his new publication SHOWMEN'S ROUND TABLE, but after a lawsuit from Quigley, he changed the title to SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW (STR). Over the next two decades, STR proved to be a formidable competitor to Quigley's HERALD and steadily grew in circulation. It's easy to see why exhibitors wanted to subscribe. STR's editorial voice, reviews of features and shorts, 'Box Office Slant' tips for how to promote movies, and concise and well organized 'Booking Guides' made it a trustworthy and highly useful magazine for exhibitors. -- Eric Hoyt, 2014

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30. Silver Screen

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31. TV Forecast

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31. TV Guide

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32. See and hear : the journal on audio-visual learning

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33. International Projectionist

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Cover image for Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers
33. Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers

The Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers (SMPE)Êdocuments the technological progress of the film industry, highlighting technical developments in production and exhibition. Of special interest are articles about special effects, theater practices, lighting, and the introduction of the 16mm format. Initially titled "Transactions of the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers."Digitized by the Prelinger Library and the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

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