The Film & Media Archive at Washington University in St. Louis opened its doors to the public in September 2002 with the acquisition of the Henry Hampton Collection. Unique among cultural institutions that collect moving image and sound media, Washington University Libraries' Film & Media Archive is comprised not only of completed works in film and video, but also of the numerous materials that went into the creation of works related to Civil Rights, African-American life, the history of Harlem, social justice, democracy and the arts.

The collections contain primary source material including original filmed interviews and outtakes, rare stock footage, photographs, producers’ research and notes, treatments, scripts, storyboards, and correspondence, all of which provide a distinctive look at the filmmaking and storytelling process for scholars, teachers, filmmakers, and students. Since 2002, the Archive has acquired several other important collections and now holds 6,500,000 feet of film, 1,300 linear feet of manuscripts, approximately 20,000 videotapes, over 10,000 audiotapes and reels, and a significant library of books, CDs and DVDs.


Actor and filmmaker Richard Beymer’s documentary film, A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer (1964) offers a rare portrait of segregated Mississippi during this historically significant time in American History. Beymer was one of the few filmmakers to spend significant time working with Freedom Summer volunteers...More

Dana Brown

Dana Brown was born in West Virginia in 1905. The eleventh of twelve children, Brown left home as a teenager, and traveled across America working a variety of jobs, many of them involving manual labor on the railroad, or as a ranch hand, before eventually finding work as a Fuller Brush salesman...More

carver-collectionThe Steve Carver Collection contains photographs and publicity material related to the production of More Than One Thing, a 1969 documentary by Steve Carver.  More Than One Thing was filmed in St. Louis while Mr. Carver was a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis. The film is a narrated slice of life that explores what it is like being an African American teenager growing up in the Pruitt-Igoe housing development. Footage from this film was utilized in the feature documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011).

fmaIncludes all materials from 8 major PBS television series (1986-2002) as well as early Blackside films and records (1968-1985). Topics include: civil rights, the great depression, poverty in America, African-American art and artists in the 20th century, and African-American religion and spirituality. More...

Portrait of Frank Marshall DavisThis collection contains an interview conducted with Frank Marshall Davis, notable African-American poet and journalist and former head of the American Negro Press, and recordings of poetry readings, photographs and news clippings. The Film and Media Archive partnered with the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Hawai'i to preserve and digitize this interview. More...

milesIncludes all PBS series and other television programs from 1979-1998. Topics include WWI, WWII, blacks in the military, black athletes, history of Harlem, and black cowboys. More...

This collection contains materials related to two films produced by the independent documentary company Paradigm Productions. The donation of 53 boxes includes original interviews, photographs, b-roll footage, and research files for two of Paradigm’s films, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It (2000) and Race Is the Place (2005). Paradigm Productions was founded in 1990 by filmmakers Tejada-Flores and Telles. It produces progressive documentary films with a sensitivity to issues of social justice and inclusion.

Harry Wald Collection

The Harry Wald Collection is an assemblage of burlesque films largely from the 1930s to the 1960s. The collection consists of 250 reels of 35mm film, including the...More

Jack Willis

In 2014, the Washington University Film & Media Archive acquired the collection of prolific documentary filmmaker and producer Jack Willis. The Jack Willis Collection contains film, video, and manuscript material from original, independent productions by Willis...More

stlouisIn 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 contains academic or educational films mainly from the 1960's and 70's has now grown to 12,000 films, some of which have supporting materials (teacher’s guides, study guides, film guides), and covers a wide range of subjects including African-American history, the labor movement, advertising, and social education films. This 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 50's, 60's and 70's 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; The Labor Movement: Beginnings and Growth in America.



Other collections in the Washington University Film & Media Archive.