Today a moviegoer's ticket buys access to a feature film and a few promotional trailers. Before the 1960s, however, filmgoers
were often treated to a double bill of feature films, including the main attraction and a “B” film, newsreels, and other short
subjects (see The Studio Era: Women on Sceen for a discussion of these three types of films). The Library's collections allow the researcher to study the whole of this
cinematic experience, which reached its apotheosis in the studio era—a period from the 1920s to the 1950s when a handful of
Hollywood companies dominated the production, distribution, and exhibition of American films.
Motion pictures from the studio era are scattered throughout the division's collections. The largest holdings are found in
the Copyright Collection and in gift collections from major studios. The collections of Columbia, Disney, Paramount, RKO,
Universal, and Warner Bros. films include more than ten thousand features and shorts produced during that era. Although reference
copies are available for some of these materials, the majority of the studio deposits consist of preprint elements (such as
negatives and fine-grain master positives) that are not available for viewing. In addition, the division has supplemented
its Copyright and Studio Collections with purchases of 16mm television prints, videos, laser discs, and DVDs.