Library and Text Archive

Library and text archive

The library and text archive of the Deutsches Filminstitut comprise one of the largest specialised collections on the subject of film in Europe. Both in its breadth and comprehensiveness, as well as the depth of its indexing, this department, located at the German National Library in Frankfurt since 2010, can claim to be one of the world’s most important centres for this type of research. The holdings have been accumulating since 1949, when the Filminstitut was founded. The basis was the private scholarly library of the Institute’s founder, Hanns Wilhelm Lavies, which documented film history since 1895. Additions were undertaken in subsequent years with the aim of acquiring complete holdings of all German-language publications.

International publications were received through purchase, exchange, gifts or deposit copies. In 2006 the library of the Deutsches Filmmuseum was integrated into the Institute’s library. This included historically valuable literature, particularly on the study of light in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as previously private libraries – such as that of Lotte Eisner – with dedicated copies and first editions. The library’s holdings include publications on the history and theory of film, on personalities, on individual films, genres and themes, on the financial and technical aspects of film, and also novelisations and published screenplays. The stock of „grey literature,“ which includes distribution and festival catalogues, is also wide-ranging.

In addition, the Institute has archived more than 6,500 videotapes and DVDs.

The text archive, too, offers multi-faceted collections for academic research. The holdings include approximately one million newspaper articles dealing with films, people and film-related topics, as well as distribution and press materials. These materials, which are systematically evaluated and updated on an ongoing basis, are accessible in more than 6,000 files and on 35,000 microfiches.

The text archive’s special collections contain valuable historical accumulations: among the approximately 40,000 film programmes one may find almost complete runs of the well-known programmes „Illustrierter Filmkurier“ (1919-1944) and „Illustrierte Filmbühne“ (1946-1969).

Also in the holdings are 3,000 censorship cards from the years 1920 to 1945 and a well-rounded inventory of film dramaturgy, in which synopses and treatments share shelf-space with revealing original shooting scripts. Among these is the original script of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s SUNRISE (USA 1927) with the director’s handwritten remarks, which may be seen in the permanent exhibition. The extensive periodicals collection holds unique historical material, including the oldest German film journal, „Der Kinematograph,“ first published in 1907. The most important German and international periodicals of the post-1945 era are also accessible – current subscriptions include approximately 100 periodicals. Just as for the book holdings, all periodicals may be searched for via the Frankfurt Museum Libraries joint web catalogue www.museumsbibliotheken.frankfurt.de.

Deutsche Bibliothek



For further information please contact

Jens Kaufmann
Tel. +49 (0)69 961 220 430

Text Archive
Christof Schöbel
Tel. +49 (0)69 961 220 414

Debora Classen
Tel. +49 (0)69 961 220 413

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