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Lady in the DarkIris Barry and the Art of Film$
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Robert Sitton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165785

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165785.001.0001

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Meanwhile, Back at the Library

Meanwhile, Back at the Library

(p.245) 23 Meanwhile, Back at the Library
Lady in the Dark

Robert Sitton

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on Iris Barry's continued efforts to build the Film Library and its infrastructure during the late 1930s and early 1940s. In 1937 the library received a large deposit of films and documents from David Wark Griffith. In January 1939 the Film Library published The Film in America, the first of a three-volume bibliography compiled by WPA writers working under Iris' supervision, intended to be “the world's most comprehensive guide to the literature of the motion picture.” Augmenting the publications and collecting activity, a signal change also occurred in the way the Museum of Modern Art Film Library related to its public. Since 1936 the library had shown films from its collection only to members of the Museum, scholars visiting its offices, or by renting prints to colleges and other nontheatrical venues throughout the country. But on May 11, 1939, in the 500-seat theater in the Museum's basement, Film Library exhibitions were first opened to the public. In this manner the Film Library transformed itself from a collection with a circulating film library into an exhibition facility.

Keywords:   Museum of Modern Art, Film Library, David Wark Griffith, The Film in America, public film exhibitions

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