In 2003, Washington University’s Film & Media Archive acquired two hundred 16mm film titles from the St. Louis Public School’s Film Collection.
The Educational Film Collection primarily contains academic and educational films from the 1960s and 70s and has now grown to 12,000 films, some with supporting materials along the lines of teacher, study, and film guides.
The collection covers a wide range of subjects including African-American history, the labor movement, advertising, and social education films. This educational genre of film includes purely education documentaries, dramatizations of literature and history, and “guidance” films which were made to highlight social mores or focus on safety issues. Federal funding throughout the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s helped make this a thriving genre.
Another portion of the collection went to the St. Louis branch of the Academic Film Archive of North America. Many of these academic films are in danger of being lost and an effort is underway to preserve these films. Sample titles from the collection include Eli Whitney; Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad; Immigrant from America; Minorities – Patterns of Change; Tribute to Malcolm X; and The Labor Movement: Beginnings and Growth in America.