Millions of Pages: Digital Archives and Finding Women’s Work

by Liz Clarke (Brock University)     

Abstract: The home page of Media History Digital Library announces that the website features “millions of pages of books and magazines from the history of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound.” This paper investigates how the accessibility of trade press, fan magazines, and other early cinema print materials has helped feminist film history research. In other words, is there material remaining in the “millions of pages” that might help to reshape traditional film histories? The trade press and fan magazines are not known for showcasing below-the-line work, and the space given to women creative workers is fairly small. This paper aims to reassess content and discourse analysis of the online archival collections, in order to better serve the aims of feminist film historians.

Liz Clarke is an Assistant Professor at Brock University in Canada. Her research includes a project on women in films about war from 1908 to 1919; a project on women screenwriters in early Hollywood, and women writers for television.