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Research Guides

CIN201: Film Cultures 1: Art & Industry

A comprehensive guide to for finding the best primary source materials (1895-1968) for your Cinema Studies assignment.

Media History Digital Library - The Lantern

Media History Digital Library (MHDL):   

MHDL is "free online resource, featuring millions of pages of books and magazines from the histories of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound". The MHDL Collections covers Trade or Industry Magazines, Pressbooks, Fan Magazines, Technical Journals, and more (scroll down). 

MHDL's search platform is called The Lantern. It is allows researchers to access its extensive range of scanned materials, however it is important to strategically approach searching. 

The Lantern or its Advanced Search


MDHL / Lantern Search Tips 

MHDL Resources for Students 

MHDL has great help pages with search tips on how to build a search and filter your results in Lantern.

Learn about: 


BASIC TIPS to remember

Searching in Lantern

  • Use Lantern's Advanced Search Option (Link at the top of window) 
  • Use Quotations marks (search for specific phrases, e.g., "It Happened One Night", "Audrey Hepburn", "studio system")
  • AVOID using ANDORTHE because this database searches every word in every scanned publication.
  • Keyword Searches: Search multiple terms using Lantern's Advanced Search Option and choose to "find items that match [all OR any] of the fields" 

Narrowing your Search Results 

  • Use FILTERS to narrow your search results​: 
    • Date of Publication or Publication Title
    • MHDL Collections or Language ​


Media History Digital Library - Collections


Remember to restrict yourself to materials that meet the timespan appropriate for your topic and course requirement (1895-1968). 

Explore Media History Digital Library Collections

Radio Broadcast Magazine

Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Collection (1896-1964)

"The magazine Radio Broadcasting chronicles radio's early adoption by hobbyists and the debates about how the medium should be organized and regulated."

Early Cinema

Early Cinema Collection (1903-1928)

Collection includes fan magazines, industry publications for exhibitors and distributors, and more.

Fan Magazine Collection (1911-1963)

"Fan magazines gave audiences a way to experience the magic of the movies beyond the theatre. The magazines also gave producers a way to promote their stars and coming films."

Cinema Rome Cover Thumbnail

Global Cinema Collection (1904-1957)

"As a global history, media history has also been greatly influenced by the course of international events." This select range of publications cover a variety of locations: China, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland), India, Japan, United Kingdom. If you would like to use materials that are in other languages, please confirm use with your TAs or instructor.  


Government & Law Collection (1912-1995)

"The “Government & Law Collection” contains transcripts, decisions, and proceedings that chart the interplay between Hollywood, politics, and law. The collection includes extensive documentation relating to the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ infamous investigations into communists in Hollywood. Documents concerning economic regulation, censorship, and juvenile delinquency can also be found on this page. Most of the items in this collection were published by the U.S. Government Printing Office and digitized by the Internet Archive."

Hollywood Studio System Collection (1914-1964)

"The periodicals in this collection chart the studio system during its rise, the transition to sound, the Great Depression, the World War II years, and postwar decline. The periodicals present a variety of points of view within the industry, from the production-oriented Hollywood Reporter to the exhibitor-oriented publication Harrison's Reports, a 'reviewing service free from the influence of film advertising.'"

Lantern Slide Collection Icon

Magic Lantern and Lantern Slide Catalog Collection (1840s-1920s)

"Magic lantern and lantern slide distribution catalogs are rare items and mostly held in private collections. These catalogs can help archivists and collectors to identify magic lanterns and lantern slides and they also enrich knowledge of the development of the apparatus and projection technology. The illustrations give insight into the way in which the apparatus worked and what lantern slides, lanterns and accessories such as light sources, special lenses and projection equipment looked like."

See and Hear Journal

Non-Theatrical Film Collection (1918-1973)

"The educational possibilities of motion pictures were recognized early in the development of motion pictures and by the 1920s the "Visual Education" movement was established and extremely active. Spurred by the introduction of the cheaper to use, nonflammable 16mm format in 1923, the reuse of existing films for education and creation of new films for the classroom were part of a parallel motion picture industry."

Kik Pressbook

Pressbooks (1914-1953)

"Pressbooks reveal the multifaceted approaches used by film distributors to work with exhibitors to maximize the reach and profit of their films. Early on, pressbooks tended to be short and focused on pre-written columns that theaters could submit to their local newspapers to promote the film; later, they ballooned in size, were printed (at least partially) in splashy colors, and included advertising images, posters, heralds, ideas for promotional events, and so forth. ... The collection of pressbooks digitized here includes a wide swath of [United Artists (UA)] films from the 1920s-1950s."

Technical Journals Collection (1916-1965)

Publications that cover "improvements in film stocks, sound recording, color reproduction, cameras, lenses, lighting and other hardware". 

Year Books

Year Book Collection (1916-1964)

"Year Books or annuals documented the accomplishments and participants in specific industries. The Year Books for the motion picture industry are especially important for historians: for each year they catalog films released, highlight events, provide comprehensive listings of industry companies and personnel, reprint company financial statements, and contain evocative advertisements from industry suppliers, vendors, producers, stars and directors. ... There were two subcategories of year books - booking guides and studio directories. Booking guides helped exhibitors select films for their theaters, and often provided indexes to reviews in the affiliated magazine. Studio directories served to remind casting directors and others of performers under contract and freelance supporting players.