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Columbia, South Carolina
Rescuing Fox Movietone Newsreels
The opening logo for Fox Movietone newsreels. With an NEH grant, the University of South Carolina has made thousands of newsreels available online. Image courtesy of the University of South Carolina.

Together, the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) comprise one of the largest open-access archives of historical film footage in the United States. The archive was founded in 1980, when Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation donated the collection to the university. With more than 23,000 newsreel films from 1919–1934 and 1942–1944, the collection combines film clips of immense historical value with fascinating glimpses into life and culture during the interwar period and the beginning of World War II. On the MIRC website, viewers can watch the first coverage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor or learn the “Kerb Step,” a popular new dance move in the 1930s. With NEH preservation grants, the University of South Carolina was able to rehouse and catalogue newsreel stories that were held on delicate film strips, protecting and making them searchable, and it has digitized more than 8,000 of the stories, publishing them online where they can be watched by anyone for free.

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