Motion Picture Scripts Collection
V. Additional Motion Picture Records in the New York State Archives
In addition to the case files that were established for each film reviewed by State censors, the Archives also holds a variety of other records related to the Motion Picture Division and its activities. These include the following:
A1415. Annual Reports, 1922-1947. 25 volumes.
Printed annual reports of the Motion Picture Division and its predecessor, the Motion Picture Commission. Each report contains a narrative text and accompanying statistical tables describing the following: an overview of the functions and activities of each Division unit; any new or significant event affecting the censorship process; the number of films reviewed and the number and types of determinations made; and a summary of the Divisions's financial receipts and expenditures. The reports are arranged chronologically.
A1416. Handbooks of Laws, Rules, and Regulations, 1927-1963. 17 volumes.
Pocket-size pamphlets that reprint New York State laws, rules, and regulations regarding the review and licensing of motion picture films. There are handbooks for the following years: 1927-1929, 1932-1934, 1938, 1939, 1946-1948, 1952, 1953, 1955-1957, and 1963. Arranged chronologically.
A1417. Eliminations Bulletins, 1927-1965. 2.5 cubic feet.
Mimeographed monthly "Eliminations Bulletins" that were compiled by the Division and distributed to film censorship boards in other states or countries. The bulletin summarized New York's censorship determinations by listing film titles, applicants, and footage in three categories: licensed without eliminations; licensed with eliminations (including a description of the scene or a transcript of dialogue that was determined to be offensive); and rejected outright. A separate section noted recent changes in film titles by listing the old title, new title, and the applicant's name. The bulletins are arranged in reverse chronological order.
A1419. Film Title Index, 1921-1965. 22 cubic feet.
This series is a card index to the license application case files. The cards are arranged alphabetically by film title and contain the following information: title and any sub-titles of the film; title changes, if any; name of film exchange; manufacturer's name; number of reels; film footage (not always listed); date application was received; names of film's stars; date licensed; case file number; and numbers of seals issued (in some instances, years in which seals were issued are provided). The cards also record whether a film was approved with eliminations (but not what was eliminated) or rejected. There are notations on the back of cards if a film was rejected or approved with eliminations by censorship boards outside of New York. These notations usually include the date of the censorship body's eliminations bulletin in which the decision was published.
A1421. Distributor/Exchange Card File, 1921-1965. 4 cubic feet.
Index cards listing the titles of films submitted for license by exchanges. On each card the name of the exchange is entered on top, and underneath are listed the titles of the films submitted, the type of film (silent or audio), the date of application, and either the license number (for films from 1921-1944) or the case file number (for films from 1945-1965). The cards are arranged in alphabetical order by name of exchange.
A1423. Alphabetical List of Films Rejected or Films Approved with Eliminations, 1921-1965. 1 volume.
An alphabetical index to motion pictures rejected or approved with eliminations. The index lists the title of the film (and subtitles if applicable); whether or not the film is foreign and if it was dubbed; a note stating if the film was rejected (but no explanation is provided, if so); and the serial number assigned to the film. The entries between 1923 and 1927 also provide the date of the examination bulletin (some are found in Series A1417, Elimination Bulletins, 1927-1965) containing reasons why films were altered or rejected.
A1422. Record of Films Rejected or Films Approved with Eliminations, 1921-1958. 5 cubic feet.
Records contain summary information on each film rejected or approved with eliminations. The entries contain the following information: application number between 1921 and 1958, date received, film title, applicant's name, manufacturer's name, number of reels, date of examination, examiner's name, determination made, and reason for determination (including a description of scenes that were altered or a plot synopsis of films that were rejected). Entries between 1921 and 1927 contain an additional form indicating requests for appeals or applications for re-examination. Until April 1930 entries for rejected films and approvals with eliminations were interfiled; thereafter separate volumes were kept for the two different actions. Within the volumes for 1921 through June 1931 entries are arranged chronologically by the date an application was received. After June 1931, entries are arranged chronologically by year, and thereunder alphabetically by film title.
A1420. License Application Summary Books, 1921-1965. 120 volumes.
Bound volumes containing information on applications and fees received daily and the actions taken on each. The volumes list the following: the serial number that was issued to films licensed; the applicant name (exchange or distributor); number of original prints; number of duplicate prints; number of reels of film; total film footage; number of seals issued; amounts of fees received for licenses, permits, and seals; title of film; country of origin, if foreign; and action taken (approved, approved with eliminations, or rejected). The later volumes also provide information on Motion Picture Association determinations (either yes or no is recorded). Statistical data was totalled daily for the various categories of information, and cumulative totals were entered for each month. Separate books (7 volumes) were for 16mm film applications between 1941 and 1965. All volumes are arranged chronologically. Finding aids: there is a list of the inclusive dates of each volume.
A1433. License Application Summary Books for Films Sent to Albany, 1927-1965. 16 volumes.
These volumes concern only requests for duplicate seals that were issued by the Albany office between 1927 and 1965. The following information is provided for each film: the serial number that was issued to films licensed; the applicant name (exchange or distributor); number of original prints; number of duplicate prints; number of reels of film; total film footage; number of seals; amount received for licenses, permits, and seals; title of film; country of origin, if foreign; and action taken (approved, approved with eliminations, or rejected). The later volumes also provide information on Motion Picture Association determinations (either a yes or no response is recorded.) Figures are totaled daily for the various categories of information, and totals are also entered at the end of each month.
A1427. Distributor and Exchange Correspondence Files, 1929-1965. 2 cubic feet.
Files containing correspondence between the division and film exchange (distributors). The majority of the correspondence concerns the licensing of films, issuance of seals, requests for scripts of foreign films, requests for license applications, notifications of change of film titles, payment of license fees, and the ownership of film rights. The series is arranged in alphabetical order by name of the film exchanges and thereunder chronologically. Correspondence with 16mm film exchanges is filed separately at the end.
A1428. Censorship Files, 1927-1945. 3.5 cubic feet.
Background files relating to film censorship activity, especially the activities of other state censor boards. Files are divided into four topical categories as follows: Advertising (clippings from newspapers and photographic negatives pertaining to objectional film advertising); Censor Groups (correspondence, reports, publications, press releases, legal opinions, and decisions relating to city, state, Federal, and foreign film censorship boards); Censorship (correspondence, memoranda, and reports pertaining to the Division's licensing activities, especially regarding newsreels submitted for licensing); Classes of Films (correspondence, and memoranda, relating to sensitive film topics such a burlesque, liquor, religion, sex, communism, crime, narcotics, prostitution, and birth control). Within each category, the files are arranged by subtopics and thereunder alphabetically by subject. Finding aids: A list of folder headings is available.
A1429. Subject Files, 1923-1965. 23 cubic feet.
Files containing incoming and outgoing correspondence, memoranda of minutes, reports, newspaper clippings and other printed material, budget summations and reports, copies of legislative bills pertaining to censorship, and printed minutes of federal committees and commissions regarding film censorship. The files cover a broad range of topics, such as legislation dealing with censorship, censorship policy, budget and financial reporting, personnel matters, public opinion, and court rulings. The files are arranged alphabetically by several dozen broad subject categories and thereunder alphabetically by more specific subjects. Finding Aids: A list of folder headings is available.
A1430. Eliminations Bulletins from Other States and Countries, 1951-1965. 1 cubic foot.
Printed or carbon copies of eliminations bulletins issued by other states, the Canadian provinces, and foreign countries that had film censorship boards. Most of these bulletins were issued monthly and were not distributed to the general public. The formats of the various bulletins differ slightly, but all contain the following information: A list of pictures approved, the distributor of the film, number of reels, and a brief description of action or dialogue to be deleted. Some bulletins list the running time of a film, the length of film reels, and the seal number issued. The bulletins are grouped by geographical location, then arranged in alphabetical order by name of state or country, and then arranged in chronological order.