Lbrary of Congress: Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division
Collection of more than 650,000 moving image items. Digital copies and descriptions of several hundred historical films from our collections can be accessed on the Library's American Memory site. Offsite researchers should start with the Library's Online Catalog [http://www.loc.gov/index.html]. Descriptions of holdings not represented in the Catalog can be found through published catalogs and collection guides and finding aids.
The Library of Congress began collecting motion pictures in 1893 when Thomas Edison and his brilliant assistant W.K.L. Dickson deposited the Edison Kinetoscopic Records for copyright. However, because of the difficulty of safely storing the flammable nitrate film used at the time, the Library retained only the descriptive material relating to motion pictures. In 1942, recognizing the importance of motion pictures and the need to preserve them as a historical record, the Library began the collection of the films themselves. From 1949 on these included films made for television. Today the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) has responsibility for the acquisition, cataloging and preservation of the motion picture and television collections. The Division operates the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room to provide access and information services to an international community of film and television professionals, archivists, scholars and researchers