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Classic Magazine Access


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I'm a student who would love to read/write about classic films and stars. I've seen various magazines for sale on eBay... Photoplay, Movie Story, Movie Life... I was wondering if ANY libraries in the US had back issues of these on file and if so, which ones, because I'd love to do some reading without spending a fortune trying to find the information that I need. Does anyone know if the articles are indexed online or elsewhere?


Any information is extremely helpful-- I'm afraid the librarians at my university and the local public library didn't have much information and I'm hoping for assistance from some fellow classic movies enthusiasts.

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Can you give me your city and state? I am a Librarian and I can try to research this for you using a database called worldcat among others. For instance I'm seeing that the Chicago Public Library, just as an example, has Photoplay Magazine for the years 1916-1940. If I knew where you were I could look for libraries near you. In 1941 Photoplay merged with Movie Mirror so it would have to be searched separately after that date.


Generally a database will help you locate the collection in hard copy or from microfilm or microfiche. Once you've located where it is you would then have to go to that location and either research or photocopy what you need. Libraries rarely let these hard bound back issues circulate. If you want particular articles from these magazines, that you can cite, then your university library will be able to get photocopies of the articles for you but they will probably charge so much a page after some point.



You are looking for old stuff from often out of print periodicals. These will most likely not be indexed on line. You would have to do your research the old fashioned way by finding a hard copy periodicals index that would include the titles you are seeking. If you are in a large city it will be much easier for you because the collections you seek may be near enough for you to get to them in person. ( like the Chicago Photoplay issues)


If you are attending a university you can probably access a database like worldcat yourself through your libraries homepage. I know this may sound very confusing and perhaps too difficult but, once you get the hang of it, it can be very interesting and even fun since you really care about what your researching. If you are interested get back to me and I will go into this more with you.


By the way a good Librarian should always do there best to help you. They will usually however, only point you toward the proper research tool and show you how to use it. After that you have to do the research independently, have patience, and ask for help again if you don't understand how a research tool works.


I hope I haven't scared you off of this it sounds like interesting research.


Regards, Molo

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I'm nearest St. Louis public libraries and a number of good university libraries, so I can do the research "the old fashioned way." I also go to Chicago occasionally so I could even do that sort of research there, I think. The periodical index at my (small) university was of little help to me, but I'm guessing other libraries have different, better indices.


I've ordered many photocopies of articles in the past through my university and fortunately I have never been charged, and the librarians I have spoken with have said that with citations they can be of more use to me, so I guess my first step is to go find those indices and take it from there...


Thanks for all of your help, Molo14. You didn't scare me off at all- I love doing research!

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Hi Octoberbest,


From what little research I've done it looks like the Saint Louis public library has *Photoplay Magazine* in their bound periodicals stacks.


The OCLC record looks like this:


Summary: 10-54(1916-1940)

OCLC Number: 2253523

Date of Report: 19921000

Location: SVPP

Format: Unspecified

Holdings: 10(1916)-54(1940)



I won't bore you with the rest of the holdings info but they seem to have it all in bound volumes up until 1977. They also have *Motion Picture Herald* although its not clear if they have all of it. There is even a hit for them on the *Movie Life* title but no holdings information. The Saint Louis library homepage says these titles are available in the central stacks in hard bound volumes and while they don't circulate you could go there and browse freely and copy what you like.


If you search their library for these titles remember to go to "advanced search" and restrict the search type to "keywords title" and the materials type to "Serials". It looks like the Saint Louis public library has a good collection of the type of periodicals you're looking for.


Good luck with your research!



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