How to Search the Collection

The majority of the HFA's holdings are now cataloged at a basic level in HOLLIS. Please limit location by Harvard Film Archive to search our holdings.  Please email to make an appointment to view film.

Some of the HFA’s collections have finding aids available. To browse the finding aids, limit search by repository.

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Research Inquiries

The Harvard Film Archive collection is available to Harvard faculty and students as well as researchers and scholars from outside the university. Descriptions of collections are available on our website. Researchers can also find valuable online resources here.  All research inquiries should be submitted via email.

Researchers looking for DVD copies of films can search Lamont Library’s circulating collection in HOLLIS Classic. Additionally, the Film Study Library, located on the fourth floor of Sever Hall, has a large, non-circulating collection of DVDs and videos, including many rare titles. The library also houses viewing facilities. Its catalog can be accessed at the FSL or inquiries can be directed to Amy Sloper, Collections Archivist.

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Using the Collection

Viewing Prints at the HFA

Harvard Film Archive collections are open to all adult researchers regardless of academic affiliation.

Film prints are made accessible by appointment only and in close consultation with Film Conservation staff. Although prints do not circulate for individual use, patrons are encouraged to use the collection on-site. If their condition allows, prints from the HFA collection may be viewed on a flatbed viewer at the Film Conservation Center in Central Square.

Please note:

Viewings take place on site only, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fee for the monitored use of the flatbed viewer is $25 per hour for non-Harvard scholars, $15 per hour for non-Harvard students. Payment is due at the end of the session. We accept cash and check.

Researchers interested in setting up a viewing appointment should submit a request here. In your e-mail, please include:

Once staff has reviewed the request, the patron will be contacted and advised of item availability and viewing appointment dates.

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For Harvard Faculty

Using an HFA Print for a Course

A complete list of HFA print titles must be submitted to Heidi Bliss, the Film Study Coordinator, at least four weeks in advance of the start of each semester so HFA staff has time to inspect the requested titles to determine if they can be projected for class.  The Film Conservator will inform the Film Study Coordinator as soon as possible of any issues regarding the quality or availability of an HFA film print.

Please email Mark Johnson, HFA Collections Manager, for details about using HFA prints.

35mm film must be projected by an HFA-approved projectionist in either the CCVA lecture hall or the North West labs. Use of a number of rare archival 16mm film prints is restricted to the Carpenter Center Lecture Hall. In-classroom 16mm film projection is sometimes available at the discretion of the Film Conservator.

It is occasionally possible for 16mm prints from the collection to be projected by Film Conservation Center staff using portable equipment in classrooms. Email Mark Johnson for more information.

HFA prints are prepped and available one week prior to screening date.

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Print Loans

Prints from the HFA collection are regularly loaned to FIAF-member motion picture archives and other venues that meet the HFA’s strict requirements for the professional care, handling, and projection of archival films. All archival loan inquiries should be directed to Mark Johnson, HFA Collections Manager, and should be made at least four weeks in advance of screening date. Print sources are listed in the individual film and program descriptions on our website. 

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Motion Picture Stills

Submit a request by email for information about images from the Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection and the Promotional Materials Collection.

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HFA Collections Blog

Learn more about the HFA Collection by visiting the Collections Blog, written by the HFA Film Conservation team.

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Films Preserved by the HFA

Abbot and Costello with Connie Haines - Joseph Dephoure, 1945

Abigail Child
16mm film-to-film preservation made possible through a grant from the Film Foundation administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation
   Pacific Far East Line (1979)
   Peripeteia I (1977)
   Peripeteia II (1978)
   Prefaces (1981)
   Mutiny (1983)

George Kuchar
   The San Francisco Art Institute classroom collaborations:
   One Night a Week (1978)
   The Asphalt Ribbon (ca. 1978)
   The Power of the Press (1977)
   Motel Capri (1986)
   Club Vatican (1984)
   The Carnal Bipeds (1973)

   Harvard Film Archive / Pacific Film Archive collaborations:
   I, an Actress (1977)
   A Wild Night in El Reno (1977)

Helen Hill
Preserved in collaboration with Colorlab and the Orphan Film Symposium:
   Raindance (1990)
   Vessel (1992)
   World's Smallest Fair (1995)
   Scratch and Crow (1995)
   Tunnel of Love (1996)
   Your New Pig is Down the Road (1999)
   Film for Rosie (2000)
   Mouseholes (1999)
   Madame Winger Makes a Film: A Survival Guide to the 21st Century (2001)
   Bohemian Town (2004)

Preserved in collaboration with Colorlab and the Center for Home Movies:
   Helen Hill's home movies

Oidhche Sheanchais (A Night of Storytelling) - Robert Flaherty, 1934
Preserved in collaboration with Harvard's Houghton Library and Celtic Department

Presenting Jane & Presenting Jane - Outtakes - John Latouche & Harrison Starr, 1953
Preserved with the assistance of Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room

Quarry - Richard Rogers (NFPF Grant)

Aldo Tambellini
16mm film-to-film preservation made possible through a grant from the Film Foundation administered by the National Film Preservation
   The Black Films:
   Black Is (1966)
   Black Plus X (1966)
   Black Trip #1 (1965)
   Black Trip #2 (1966)
   Black TV (1969)
   Blackout (1966)

   Black projection performance films:
   Sunblack (ca. 1966)
   Black '67 (1967)
   Black Spiral (1969)

33 Yo-Yo Tricks - P. White, 1976 (NFPF Grant)

Sand, or Peter and the Wolf - Caroline Leaf, 1968 (NFPF Grant)

[Untitled Norman Mailer Film] - Norman Mailer, 1947

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700