Seeing Sweden

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks visiting Stockholm in 1924 (Mary och Doug besöker Stockholm), from

Just launched on our lucky world is, an online archive of Swedish film, produced in a collaboration between the Swedish Film Institute and the Swedish National Library. Over 300 films have been made available so far, dating from 1897 to 1996, and another 300 are promised for this year.

The site is in Swedish only, but easy enough to navigate, with simple search, categories, timeline and browse options. The Bioscope recommends clicking on any search option, then using the decade categories on the bottom left-hand side of the page to navigate films from the silent period. There is one from the 1890s, three from the 1900s, fourteen from the teens, and fifty-three from the 1920s. You will then find a mixture of actualities, newsreels, animation films, travelogues and amateur films (fiction films are few overall, and there are none for the silent period), of varying lengths. Each film comes with video player (with full screen option), catalogue data, description, and links to the Svensk Filmdatabas (the Swedish national filmography) or the Swedish Media Database, both of which we must make the topic of another post soon. There are assorted Web 2.0 tools, including pinpointing the film locations via Google Maps (‘Visa karta’).

The King of Sweden meets the King of Siam (Thailand) at Logårdstrappan, in Konungens af Siam landstigning vid Logårdstrappan (1897)

So what can we find there? Well, there is the first native Swedish film, Ernest Florman’s Konungens af Siam landstigning vid Logårdstrappan, showing King Oscar II of Sweden meeting King Chulalonkorn of Siam on 13 July 1897. There is a phantom ride rail journey in 1911 from Narvik to Riksgränsen, a protest meeting against the government’s defence policy held in 1914, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks visiting Stockholm in 1924, a delightful 1926 film showing author Selma Lagerlöf at home and studying a filmstrip from Victor Sjöström’s The Tower of Lies (1925) based on her novel, several issues of the 1920s newsreel Paramountjournalen, beautiful colour footage of Stockholm in 1927, and much more. The subject is not so much Swedish film as Swedish life on film, documenting a changing society in the clearest and most engrossing terms. It is a really fine discovery tool for Swedish social history. Set aside the language barrier and go explore.

Acknowledgments to Iestyn Hughes’ continually useful Tatws Newydd blog for the intelligence about the site.

Bioscope Newsreel no. 14

Busy times continue, meaning that the Bioscope is rather just ticking over at the moment, but here are your Friday news snippets. Weighter posts will follow in good time, I promise.

Harold Lloyd in 3-D
The iconic clock-face sequence from Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last (1923) has been digitally remastered, colourised and converted to 3D, with the approval of his granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd. Says Suzanne,

The tasteful colorization and 3D conversion that Legend3D has performed on my grandfather’s Safety Last clip has given it new life. Harold Lloyd’s film masterpiece from 1923 has been updated for audiences old and new, preserving the magic and dignity of the original film.

Some may beg to differ. Read more.

Our Hospitality on Blu-Ray
New from Kino next month will be the Bioscope’s favourite Buster Keaton film, Our Hospitality (1923), on Blu-Ray and a special 2-disc DVD edition. It comes with a Carl Davis score performed by the Thames Silent Orchestra and a score compiled by Donald Hunsberger. It follows on the heels of Kino’s Blu-Ray releases of The General, Steamboat Bill Jr., Sherlock Jr. and The Three Ages. Read more.

Scotland’s first Hollywood star
A feature film is to be made of the life of Cissie Loftus, Scottish stage actress whose success in America led to the leading role in the film A Lady Of Quality (1913) and a long career on stage and occasionally on film (her last film was The Black Cat in 1941), though with a tragic personal life. Read more.

The death of 16mm
Filmmaker Tacia Dean in The Guardian bemoans the end of professional 16mm printing in the UK with the closure of Soho Film Lab’s printing services. “Many of us are exhausted from grieving over the dismantling of analogue technologies. Digital is not better than analogue, but different. What we are asking for is co-existence.” Read more.

‘Til next time!

Slides and clippings

Slide announcing the screening of Daughters of the Night (US 1924), which deserves some sort of prize for selling a mundane subject (telephone operator) with a tempting title. From the George Eastman House collection

I’m going to revisit the subjects of a few of the earliest Bioscope posts, way back in 2007 when the reading figures were not high and consequently resources were highlighted which may have been missed by many. Also the writing was more sparse in those days; now we wax lyrical.

So, first up is George Eastman House’s Pre-Cinema Project. GEH has published relatively small samples from its vast photographic collections, as and when it digitises them, presenting them collectively as a ‘digital image sampler’. The Photography Collection Online site, of which Pre-Cinema Project is a part, could not be more plainly presented, but what it lacks in web design it more than makes up for in richness of content.

Slide accompanying the multi-media entertainment The Photo-Drama of Creation (1914), from the George Eastman House collection

The Pre-Cinema Project itself is dedicated to ‘Images of media and devices used before motion picture film’, though in fact there is more there than pre-cinema images. You will find a fine selection of magic lantern images, including photographs of lanterns, magic lantern slides, toy lantern slides, a Muybridge Zoopraxiscope disk, slip slides, paper silhouette slides, and the dauntingly-named megalethoscope slides. There are children’s tales, travelogues, and slides depicting Shakespeare’s plays. But what you wouldn’t know about from the pre-cinema name is the sub-collection of movie-related lantern slides: slides used in film shows, including announcement of forthcoming attractions, song slides, slides from the multimedia Christian show The Photo-drama of Creation, and slides passing on messages to the audience. Unfortunately none comes with any catalogue data, and it doesn’t look like the collection has been added to since 2007.

Early cameras and projectors from the George Eastman House collection

It’s well worth checking other parts of Photography Collection Online for material related to cinema: for instance, lantern slides, stereo views, selected cine cameras and especially Coming Attraction slides – a large collection of slides advertising forthcoming films.

More recently George Eastman House has added a new image licensing section to its site, which has more of interest to us. It makes available images which can be licensed for educational use and scholarly research, publishing, advertising and so on. The ‘thumbnails’ provided are somewhat larger than thumbnails, making this a handy research resource in itself, and among the collections is Turconi Frame Clippings, a collection of two- or three-frame clipping from early films made by the Italian archivist Davide Turconi. They are a mixture of French, Italian and unidentified. As well as being beautiful in their own right, they provide a good opportunity for looking up close at perforations, frame-lines, edge lettering, and so forth.

Frame clippings from Au Pays de l’Or (Pathé 1908)

This is just a small sample from the substantial and important Turconi collection of up to 20,000 clippings covering films 1905-1915, many of them hand-coloured, which is undergoing preservation in a joint programme between George Eastman House, the Cineteca del Friuli, and the Giornate del Cinema Muto. Most come originally from the collection of films collected by Swiss priest Joseph Joye which was discovered by Turconi and is now held by the BFI National Archive. More information on the project can be found here.

Nuit blanche

Busy times, folks, and your scribe is otherwise engaged. So until normal service resumes, here’s another modern silent film for you. It’s an exceptionally stylish, award-winning work directed by Arev Manoukian, with visual effects by Marc-André Gray and lush, haunting music by Samuel Bisson, made by Spy Films with the support of the National Film Board of Canada. If you seek romance, and you want your romance in slow motion, this is for you. It’s a quite a piece of work, and there’s a ‘making of’ video too – an impressive (and wordless) production in itself:

Bioscope Newsreel no. 13


Well, here’s another end to the working week, and here’s another edition of the Bioscope newsreel, our weekly round-up of silent matters not otherwise covered by our main posts.

Gypsy Charlie
Charlie Chaplin’s biography has been investigated in immense detail (not least by himself) so one treats the new suggestion that he was born in a gypsy caravan near Birmingham with more than a little scepticism. But a letter in the Chaplin archive at Montreaux claims that this was so. Hmmm. Read more.

Bird’s Eye View
The full programme for London’s Bird’s Eye View film festival has been published, with the usual silent film component, this time around including Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sparrows and The Wind. The festival takes place 8-17 March. Read more.

Miriam Hansen
There’s a tribute to the late Miriam Hansen, early film theorist extraordinaire, written by her friend Tom Gunning, on the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Read more.

Shot scales
At the dauntingly erudite Research into Film blog (subtitled “An empirical approach to film studies”), Nick Redfern applies the scientific method to studying films. His analysis of shot scales in 1920s French film includes such challenging observations as “The slope of the linear trendline in Figure 1 is -0.0456 (95% CI: -0.0682, -0.0231) and the intercept is 0.3254 (95% CI: 0.2245, 0.4263)”. Memo to self to write a Bioscope post on cinemetrics some time soon. Read more.

Lovesick on Sheppey
It may only be local news (i.e. local to North Kent), but to be honest not much of cultural interest tends to happen on the Isle of Sheppey, so it’s exciting to note that a modern silent film short has been partly shot there. The film is called Lovesick and it’s described as “a silent film about a couple forced to part after one of them develops gills”. Isn’t it always the way? Read more.

‘Til next time!

La photographie animée

The De Bedts Kinetograph (1896), from La photographie animée

The latest publication to enter the Bioscope Library of early film texts freely available online is Eugène Trutat’s La photographie animée. Trutat was the director of the museum of natural history at Toulouse, a naturalist, mountaineer and photographer. He wrote a number of books on photography and discovery, and in 1899 he produced one of the first books to document the new technology of cinematography, in La photographie animée.

It is a book known to the specialist but not as widely cited as say its British counterpart, Henry V. Hopwood’s Living Pictures which was published the same year (and can be found in the Bioscope Library and on the Internet Archive, in its 1915 edition). That may simply be on account of its comparative rarity, and because it is in French. The Internet Archive has triumphantly overcome the rarity hurdle; whether the language remains a challenge is down to the individual. In any case one of the book’s particular riches is its copious illustrations of film technologies, which need no translation.

A film winder, from La photographie animée

The main part of the book is a survey of moving image technologies up to 1899, with a particular emphasis on French machines. There is the usual opening thesis on the principles of animated photography and its antecedents found in the ‘pre-cinema’ work of Muybridge, Marey, Londe, Janssen and others. Trutat had a particular interest in multiple-lens cameras, and includes his own invention among those discussed. He then describes the principles and the mechanics of the film devices of Thomas Edison, Georges Demeny, Georges de Bedts, the Lumière brothers and Henri Joly, along with many minor names and technologies now mostly forgotten. For those who have a grasp of such things, Trutat is much given to marking his many illustrations with letters to point out particular mechanical points. It is very much a technician’s book.

He concludes with some practical advice on the production and presentation of films, finishing with a handy list of French patents. So, not a book for everyone, but an invaluable text for the specialist and a fine resource for the iconography of late nineteenth-century motion pictures for the rest of us.

Huntley Film Archives

The Way of a Boy (c.1924), a delightful children’s stop-animation film made by Bradbury Productions, one of the treasures to be found in the Huntley Film Archives. I can find nothing about its production. Is it the American film of this title dated 1926 on the IMDb? Does anyone know?

For a while now I’ve been contemplating a post on silent films to be found on YouTube. However each time I attempt it I find myself defeated by the complexities of the copyright and ethical issues involved. Simply put, some silent film content is put there legitimately, some is not, and of the latter some has been put there in good faith, and some has not. Working out which is which is a minefield, and most people don’t much care. But here at the Bioscope we always check the source of a YouTube video and try to determine its true source and ownership. And we never include videos ripped from DVDs or television programmes (with the occasional exceptional of content re-used in mash-ups to form a new work). Those are the house rules.

Another hazard with YouTube is the inaccuracy of descriptions, something particularly prevalent for silent film era content where owners may not know the correct title, date or other identification of the film in their possession. This came home to me recently when I came across the YouTube channel of Huntley Film Archives, though the channel itself is full of riches and Huntley’s is a collection it would be good to tell you about in any case. So here goes.

Huntley Film Archives is a small British commercial film archive with a big reputation. It is a favourite of many a television researcher look for distinctive footage on social history and popular culture, and it is particularly strong in such subjects as entertainment, transport, travelogues, home movies and early films. Countless television programmes have named Huntley Film Archives in their end credits, and it remains an Aladdin’s cave of a collection, time and again coming up with just the right piece of footage that you couldn’t find anywhere else. It was founded in 1984 by the late John Huntley, a one-time acquisitions officer at the National Film Archive, a renowned film historian (Railways in the Cinema, British Film Music, British Technicolor Films) and an outstanding communicator, who gave hundreds upon hundreds of talks, shows, radio and television interviews on film history, always peerlessly entertaining and equipped with an anecdote for every occasion.

Battleship ‘Odin’ with all her Guns in Action (1900), filmed at Kiel by the British Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Spectacularly filmed in 70mm, the impact of this film on a big screen is considerable and must have been overwhelming in 1900

You can find out more about the collection through its online database, though there are no clips apart from a few showreels. But it has now put some 240 videos onto its YouTube channel, and what an extraordinary collection it is, from home movies of the Festival of Britain to modern day celebrity trivia, from Butlin’s holiday camps to Kuwaiti advertising films, and from early computers to a British Film Institute summer school in 1948. What I want to draw attention to here is the silent films, because there are some real treasures available, though some have been misidentified or just not identified at all, a shame since the knowledge about the films often exists (a number are duplicated in the BFI National Archive for instance). Others, however, seem to be mysteries, as demonstrated by The Way of a Boy at the top of the post. Here are some more highlights.

Clog Dancing for the Championship of England (1898), made by Robert W. Paul

This is a delightful Robert Paul film, unique to the Huntley collection. Entitled Clog Dancing for the Championship of England, it shows the contestants in the world clog dancing championship of 1898, held in Bow. It is described in the Paul catalogue thus:

An extremely fine film of the first four competitors in the famous championship clog dancing contest. Each dances separately, and then altogether, finishing with the champion (Mr. Burns) clog dancing on a dinner plate without breaking same.

I’ve not been able to find Mr Burns’ full name [update: he was James G. Burns – see comments], but he and his competitors (Melia, Nixon and what could be Hannant) are helpfully identified on the film by the use of name cards. The film clearly does not depict the actual contest, instead recreating the event complete with the original judges conveniently bunched together to fit in the shot.

Extract from Dr Wise on Influenza (1919), a public health information film and one of the few films made at the time about the Spanish Flu epidemic that survive

This is a British public information film from 1919, made by Joseph Best for the Local Government Board. It is notable for being one of the very few films in existence that document the Spanish Flu epidemic which killed more people worldwide than had died in World War One. The full film is some 800 feet long; this extract shows how the flu germ is spread in public. (The full film is described in detail on the BFI database here).

Extract from The Coronation of King Peter I of Serbia and a Ride through Serbia (1904), the oldest surviving film of Serbia

This remarkable film was made by Yorkshireman Frank Mottershaw, who travelled to Serbia with Arnold Muir Wilson, a lawyer, journalist and Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of Serbia. Mottershaw was commissioned to film the coronation ceremonies of King Peter I of Serbia on 21 September 1904 and general scenes, and the film’s remarkable nature comes simply from being it being the oldest surviving film of Serbia. This sequence from the film shows people in Belgrade at the time of the coronation. The complete film is held by the Jugoslovenska Kinoteka.

The Taming of the Shrew (1923), a little-known example of a silent Shakespeare film, starting Lauderdale Maitland and Dacia Deane

Finally this is a silent Shakespeare film, one that’s hardly ever been seen or written about. It’s The Taming of the Shrew, made in 1923 by the British and Colonial Kinematograph Company, directed by Edwin J. Collins and adapted by Eliot Stannard, who later wrote scenarios for Alfred Hitchcock. Lauderdale Maitland plays Petruchio and Dacia Deane is Katharina. It’s a two-reeler which concentrating on the wooing of Katharina, and though it’s no masterpiece it’s an adequate film of its type, which is a potted guide to literary highlights of a kind that rather appealed to British filmmakers at this time.

And there are more: for example, a Lumière film of 1897 showing a Japanese family at home in 1897 (the film was shot by François-Constant Girel and I believe shows the family of Inabata Katsutaro); a Bonzo the Dog cartoon from 1925, Bonzoby; rare footage of what Huntley’s call a “working class wedding from the 1910s“; and stunning footage of the Wuppertal suspended monorail, filmed I think by the German branch of Biograph, Deutsches Mutoskop und Biograph Gesellschaft, in the late 1890s.

The video clips don’t look great, often they’ve been transferred at the wrong speed, and each comes with timecode and Huntley’s name at the ID number written along the top. But we must be grateful to Huntley’s for making such treasures available to all, in whatever form. It’s just that they glitter all the more once we know what they are, who made them, and when.


Detail from photograph showing Inuit man looking through a film camera in 1929, from the Library and Archives Canada collection

The Canadiana Discovery Portal is a new service (still in beta mode) that aims to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ (the dream of all administrators and information specialists) for seaching Canadian history. It brings together 60 million pages of information from fourteen institutions: Alouette Canada, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Calgary Public Library,, Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada, Library and Archives Canada, Manitobia, Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative, The National Gallery of Canada, Queen’s University, Scholars Portal/University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, Toronto Public Library, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan and Vancouver Public Library.

All of these records point to actual digital objects, and on first inspection this looks like the complete digital library for Canada. A second look tells us that this is not quite the case, since some of the those libraries have only provided access to selected items from their digital collections (so Library and Archives Canada has contributed “part of their MIKAN collection, a wide-ranging repository of Canadian images, covering many aspects of Canadian life between 1850 and 1950”). But others have been more comprehensive, and in any case much more content promised in the future. So the result is much like the European Union’s Europeana (recently reviewed by the Bioscope), a portal to digital content accessible on the sites of individual institutions, selectively but handily made available through the one portal. The records on the portal itself are brief, with links taking you to the descriptions and the digial objects themselves on the sites of the contributing organisations.

Children going to Allen Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta in 1922 to see Penrod, from Glenbow Museum

OK, so we know what we’re dealing – now is it any use for researching our subject of silent films? The answer is yes, though the records available so far aren’t quite as extensive as might have been hoped. Searching for our usual test term of ‘kinetoscope’ brings up a measly two results – and that for the same book appearing twice. Trying ‘cinematograph’ yields 36 results, ‘cinema’ gives us 545 (narrowed down to 24 for a date range 1900-1930), ‘motion picture’ provides a more productive 95 (1899-1930 date range). Searches can also be refined by medium and contributor, and sorted by date and relevance.

And yet what you can find there is frequently fascinating, because you are being pointed to such a variety of original documents: books, official papers, photographs, letters, magazine articles, scores, video files and more (mainstream newspapers do not seem to be included). Some quick searches three up a letter from a Canadian soldier based in France in 1917 writing home to his mother to say he is about to see a Chaplin film and The Battle of the Somme; edition no. 1 of of Le panorama: le seul magazine en langue française consacré aux vues animées from 1919; an account of an 1899 screening before 600 doctors in Paris of a film of an abdominal hysterectomy made by Eugène-Louis Doyen, from the journal Maritime Medical News; and a marvellous set of photographs from Glenbow Museum of cinemas in Edmonton in the early 1920s showing how they promoted various films (such as Douglas Fairbanks in The Three Musketeers) (search under ‘motion picture’ and Alouette Canada collection).

Group of cameramen outside the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau, Ottawa, in 1923, from the Libraries and Archives Canada collection

It should be noted that some of the digital resources, particularly books contributed by the University of Toronto, are not accessible to general readers but only to Canadian users from higher education institutions.

Anyway, this is a very helpful route in to some rich Canadian resources. Go explore.

P.S. The Bioscope has previously covered other, film-specific Canadian resources. Here are the links:

Bioscope Newsreel no. 12

People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag)

Killruddery Film Festival
Ireland’s Killruddery Film Festival, with its strong emphasis on silent film, returns 10-13 March 2011 and the programme has just been announced. Highlights include The O’Kalems in Ireland, La Roue, White Shadows in the South Seas, 7th Heaven, Early Masterpieces of the Avant Garde, The Garden of Eden, Regeneration, People on Sunday and Ireland’s Other Silent Film Heritage (the Irish in Early Hollywood), an illustrated lecture by Kevin Brownlow. Read more.

Kansas Silent Film Festival
The annual Kansas Silent Film Festival takes place 25-27 February 2011. Highlights include David Shepard speaking on Chaplin at Keystone, Speedy, Chang, The Circus, The Last Command, A Thief Catcher, 7th Heaven and Wings. Special guest will be Harold lloyd expert Annette D’Agonstino Llloyd. Read more.

Q&A with film scholar Frank Kessler
On Cinespect, there’s a thoughtful interview with Frank Kessler, early film historian, sometime Bioscope contributor, and all round good chap, discussing issues in media historiography and the trick film by way of Christian Metz and Georges Méliès. Read more.

How to be a motion picture director
Dan North’s rather fine Spectacular Attractions blog offers unusual advice from Marshall Neilan in 1925 on how to be a motion picture director. “How should a director act in public?” “Like a nut or like an owl. Both methods have proved successful. By no means act normal”. Read more.

BBC permanent
It hasn’t much to do with silent films, but the BBC’s quiet announcement of a change in the Service Licence for its TV channel BBC4 and radio channels Radio 3 and Radio 4 is highly significant for access to audio-visual archives online. All three will now all have the the ability to offer programming on-demand for an unlimited period after broadcast, instead of the limited period at present. This is the start of something big – the permanent online archive for broadcast content. Keep watching. Read more.

‘Til next time.

Discovering newspapers

The digitised newspapers section of Australia’s digital library Trove

For some while I’ve been saying we needed an updated round-up post on the collections of digitised newspapers that now exist online. At last its time has come.

The number of historic newspapers titles now available online, either free or through a variety of pay-models, is now prodigious. Though there are some individual titles of particular importance for the study of silent film topics (and I’m referring to general newspapers rather than specialist film journals), this post covers general directories and portals.

British Newspapers
The British Library is engaged on a massive digitisation programme for British newspapers up to 1900. Two million pages have been digitised so far for 19th century newspapers, though the majority are available online to UK higher and further education users only (a checkbox enables searches across free content only). A further 40 million pages will be added in time, with a subscription model aimed at all users. Among the papers covered is The Era, an important source of information for film exhibition in the UK in the 1890s.

Chronicling America
This is a newspaper digitisation programme sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. It covers newspapers published 1860-1922 for the following states: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Papers available include The San Francisco Call, The New York Sun, The Washington Times, The Colored American, and The New York Evening Times. Currently there are some 2.7 million pages from 348 titles, all free to use.

Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Established in 1997, today it contains nearly 1.5 million digital documents. The library includes just under 800,000 periodical pages, including Le Figaro and L’Humanité. The content is all French, of course, and is a mixture of free and paid-for content.

Google News Archive
Google’s news search engine browses historic news resources, both free and subscription-based, so you are offered tantalising glimpses of news stories that can be yours if only you’ll pay. The helpful timeline feature shows you in which period your search term shows up the most. The Google News display is a listing all of the freely-available digitised newspapers on the service (mostly American), which allows you to browse the pages of individual titles by decades, year, month, week or day.

The Easton Free Press reports on Edison’s latest invention, 10 March 1894, from Google News Archive Search

ICON: International Coalition on Newspapers
Listing of past, present, and prospective digitisation projects of historic newspapers worldwide.

News Archives
This is a very useful directory of news sources online, provided by the University of North Carolina’s ibilio information database. It provides links and descriptions (including access information) for news archives (current and historical) from around the world, including U.S. News Archives on the Web, Asian News Archives on the Web, Canadian News Archives, and the particularly useful International News Archives on the Web, covering Central America & Caribbean, South America, United Kingdom and Ireland, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Australia & New Zealand.

NewspaperARCHIVE describes itself as the world’s largest online archive of historical newspapers. It has tens of millions of newspapers pages and says that it is adding a page a second to the site. Although the greater part of the archive is American newspapers, there are also papers for China, Ireland, South Africa, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan and especially the United Kingdom. It lets you know your search results for free, but access is for subscribers only. Annual membership starts at $5.99 per month (for a 12-month period).

Newspaper Archive Sources on the Web
The Library of Congress’s useful listing of online newspaper directories around the world.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
This is a private collection of digitised New York newspapers, which boasts over 15,000,000 pages, dating 1795-2007. The source of the newspapers is a microfilm set of the State of New York Newspaper Project of the 1970s/80s, and it’s unclear how a private individual is able to publish all this, but it exists, and all for free.

Papers Past
This excellent site contains over one million freely-available pages from sixty-one digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals covering the period 1839 to 1945. The search and presentation tools are a model of their kind.

Trove is a discovery tool for information on Australia and Australians. It is the digital library par excellence, praised highly when first reviewed by the Bioscope when it was in beta mode). The newspaper section of the site presents the results of the on-going Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program: an eventual 4.4 million pages covering a range of titles from every state and territory, from the earliest newspaper published in Australia in 1803 through to the mid 1950s. To date 1.87 million pages are available online, with exemplary discovery tools.

UK Press Online
Paid access service to two million British newspapers, chiefly boasting the Daily Mirror archive (1903 – current) and the Daily Express archive (1900 – current).

Wikipedia: List of online newspaper archives
This is probably the fullest single listing of newspaper titles available online, both free and pay. It covers Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Caribbean, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Zanzibar, and Worldwide.

And there are many more. Others you should try out include ANNO (Austrian Newspapers Online – all free), the California Digital Newspaper Collection (free – and excellent for silent film research), the Caribbean Newspaper Digital Library (free), Iceland’s (free), Irish Newspaper Archives (subscription), and NewspaperSG covering English-language newspapers published in Malaya and Singapore 1831-2006 (free).

There are many more national services and paid services, links to which you are going to find among the directories listed above. But if you have particular favourites do let me know (especially if they have proved useful in researching silent film topics).

I’ll endeavour to keep this post up-to-date as a reference source. Meanwhile, you can always browse previous Bioscope posts on digitised newspapers, other periodicals and film journals under the Digitised Journals category.