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The WCFTR’s film collection encompasses a wide variety of American and international cinema. Whether a researcher is interested in Hollywood of the 1930s-1960s, independent filmmakers of the 1960s-1980s, postwar Soviet films of the 1950s-1970s, or Taiwanese films from the late 1970s-1990s, the WCFTR has all of this and so much more. Collection highlights include:

  • 2,000 16mm reference prints of feature films from Warner Brothers, RKO, and Monogram Pictures—virtually every feature released by these studios between 1931 and 1949
  • 1,500 Vitaphone short subjects
  • 300 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons from 1926 to 1949
  • 270 Soviet features and documentaries made from the 1950s to the 1970s
  • Over 120 Taiwanese feature films
  • The collections of influential independent filmmakers Shirley Clarke, Emile de Antonio, Lionel Rogosin, Richard Kaplan, Jill Godmilow, and Lewis Jacobs
  • Costume sketches by Academy Award-winners Edith Head and Dorothy Jeakins
  • Over two million publicity stills, pressbooks, posters, and lobby cards

One of the things that makes the WCFTR unique is that researchers can not only view films, but in many instances they also can utilize original documents created by the studios or creative personnel behind the productions. The United Artists collection details every aspect of the company’s operation including corporate minutes, financial records, production and distribution costs, overseas operations, producer’s records, and legal matters. Manuscript collections of individuals such as Dalton Trumbo, Kirk Douglas, Walter Wanger, Emile de Antonio, Howard Koch, Edith Head, Dorothy Jeakins, Norman Jewison, Walter Mirisch, and Edna Ferber, to name few, document every aspect of movie making from the perspective of directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, writers, and costume and set designers. 

Information about the WCFTR's collections is available in the University of Wisconsin's integrated library catalog:

[limit your search to the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives location to find the WCFTR's holdings]

To search the WCFTR Feature Film database, please visit: