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Silent Films Research at the Library for the Performing Arts: Databases

A guide to the films and Special Collections held at the Library for the Performing Arts that document the Silent Film era.


Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
Huge, fully-searchable database of film information, including credits, plot summaries, character names, movie ratings, year of release, running times, soundtracks, country of production, genres, production companies, distributors, special effects companies, reference literature, filming locations and movie trivia.

American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films
A comprehensive chronicle of the first century of American cinema.

American Silent Feature Film Database
The first comprehensive survey of the survival of American silent feature films. It contains information on the nearly 11,000 U.S. feature films released between 1912-1929, and holdings information about 3,300 of those titles for which elements are known to exist.

The search platform for the collections of the Media History Digital Library, an open access initiative led by Eric Hoyt and the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. The Media History Digital Library (MHDL) digitizes collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access.

Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive [on-site NYPL access only]
Archival research resource containing the key periodicals for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to the 21st century. The core US and UK popular and trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting, theatre and video games are included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Issues have been scanned in high-resolution color, with individual indexing of articles, covers, ads and reviews.

New York Clipper
Published in New York City, the Clipper was issued weekly from 1853 to 1924. Covering all aspects of popular entertainment, it is an excellent source for Silent Film era news. The Clipper was absorbed into the entertainment journal Variety (available through the Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive listed above)