Motion Picture, Sound Recordings, and Video
The Motion Picture, Sound,
and Video Branch of the National
Archives maintains a variety
of card catalogs describing
Many of these card catalogs were produced by the agency that created the records; others were compiled by National Archives staff.
The branch possesses about 7.5 million catalog cards, some of which are made available on microfilm or microfiche. A project to convert these cards to automated form has begun.
Main Card Catalog
The main card catalog describes both government and commercially-produced newsreels, public information, and documentary films covering a wide range of subjects. The earliest film dates from 1894, with the bulk dating from 1915 through the early 1970s. About 10,000 separate titles are included in this catalog and are arranged by record group (RG), title, credits and alphabetically by subject headings. Subject headings are loosely based on the Library of Congress scheme.
Ford Film Collection Catalog (RG 200 FC)
This card catalog, in conjunction with summary sheets, describes edited and unedited material donated to the National Archives by the Ford Motor Company in 1963. The collection covers a broad range of "Americana," with particular emphasis on the development and impact of the automobile. Dates range from 1915 to 1956. There are approximately 5,000 titles in the collection. The book Guide to the Ford Film Collection in the National Archives is available, but does not provide detailed item-level descriptions of the material.
Universal Newsreel Catalog (RG 200 UN)
This microfilmed card catalog describes edited stories and outtakes of Universal's world-wide coverage for the 1929-1967 period. Approximately 150,000 titles are described on over 600,000 cross-reference cards arranged in 13 broad subject categories, each of which is subdivided more specifically. There are approximately 125 rolls of Universal Newsreel microfilm. Summary sheets, arranged chronologically, are also available. Reference copies of the entire collection - as well as some outtakes - are available for viewing on videotape.
United States Air Force Catalog (RG 342)
This catalog includes a broad range of aviation and air force footage dating from 1900 through the 1970s. About 10,000 titles are described on numerically arranged cards.
Army Air Forces Special Film Project Catalog (18 SFP)
This catalog describes outtakes from the Army Air Forces production "Thunderbolts" covering activities of the 12th AAF in Europe in 1944 and 1945. It includes 800 titles arranged alphabetically by title and by subject heading. 16mm color prints are available for most subjects.
Army Air Force Combat Subjects/Signal Corps Army Depository Film (RG 18CS/111 ADC/111 LC)
This card catalog describes unedited and camera record footage covering all theaters of military activity during World War II, the occupation of Germany and Japan, war crimes trials, and the Korean War. Approximately 15,000 titles are described alphabetically by title and by subject heading based loosely on the Library of Congress scheme. 35mm black & white prints are available for all 18 CS subjects and for the 111 ADC series.
Navy Catalog (RG 428 NPC)
This catalog describes unedited and camera record footage covering Navy activities from World War II through 1965. It includes about 10,000 titles, and is available both in card and automated form.
Atomic Energy Commission Catalog (RG 362)
This catalog describes unedited film covering testing and research procedures at various AEC field installations from 1950 to 1953. About 220 titles are arranged by film number and alphabetically by subject heading.
Marine Corps Catalog (RG 127)
This microfiche catalog describes unedited and camera record footage shot mostly by Marine Corps units from World War I to about 1960. It includes about 60,000 subjects and is filmed on microfilm aperture cards.
Main Sound Catalog
This catalog briefly describes both government and privately-produced sound recordings from a variety of sources consisting of radio broadcasts, speeches, interviews, actuality sound, documentaries, oral history and public information programs. The earliest recording is from 1896, but most recordings fall in the 1935-present time span. Titles are described numerically and by personal name reference.
National Public Radio Catalog (RG 200 NPR)
This microfiche catalog indexes NPR news and public affairs broadcasts from 1971 to 1978. Indexes are by program title, name of speaker, subject keyword, subject classification, and geographic location. Reference copies are available on audio cassette.
Milo Ryan Phonoarchive Collection Catalog (RG 200 MR)
This catalog describes 5,000 recordings primarily of CBS-KIRO radio broadcasts from 1931 to 1977, which were originally maintained at the University of Washington. The collection consists of news and public affairs programs, actualities, speeches, interviews, wartime dramas and daily World War II news programs. Two finding aids are available: History in Sound: A Descriptive Listing of KIRO-CBS Collection of Broadcasts of the WWII Years (1963) and History in Sound: Part II (1972). Catalog cards contain brief content summaries, and are more detailed than the published guides. Most entries are available on reel-to-reel reference tapes.
ABC Radio Collection Catalog (RG 200 ABC)
This catalog describes 27,000 radio broadcasts of news and public affairs programs from 1943 to 1971. The catalog is arranged chronologically by date of broadcast and thereunder by program series, title, keyword, or personal name reference.
NASA Audio Collection Catalog (RG 255)
This catalog describes 1,400 NASA sound recordings dating from 1952 to 1975 and consisting of air-to-ground communications, astronauts' voices, public affairs programs, press conferences, speeches, and mission highlights. Some transcripts are available.
Supreme Court Oral Argument Collection (RG 267)
This catalog describes 5,000 sound recordings of oral arguments presented before the U.S. Supreme Court from October, 1955 through April 1978. Cases argued are indexed in published volumes of US Reports, which are available in the research room. Case citations by title, volume, and US Reports page number are required to locate recordings through the Court-prepared finding aid, which is arranged alphabetically by case name and thereunder chronologically. Reference copies are available.
Please note: A limited number of items have been described not on cards but in the National Archives Catalog.