My place of work has subscriptions to online research sites like JSTOR (short for Journal Storage), ARTstor, Project Muse and other archival databases. If you or anyone who does not work for a university, research center or think-tank tries to read, say, The Journal of the Society of Cinematologists, volume 1 first published in 1961 and later to become Cinema Journal you will not be able to. You will receive plenty of links on Google from JSTOR, Project Muse and several universities (it's published by the University of Texas) but if you click on them they will inform you that your institution must have a subscription if you want to read the entire issue. I inform you of this not to stick my tongue out and go "Nyah nyah" in your face but because I hope to use these resources more frequently here at Cinema Styles.
First, you should understand that visiting these sites is how I spend most of my work day, even though it shouldn't be. You see, I have hundreds of weekly tasks in my job and none of it requires going to these sites but the guys and gals at the top have given me the keys to the kingdom with access to these sites ( I. Am. A. History. Nerd.) and expect me to, what, just ignore it? My God, these archival sites have EVERYTHING! I'm not kidding. They're loaded to the gills with all manner of historical booty. So, yeah, I'll just totally ignore these sites and get right on that report for you Mrs Tessmacher. Fat chance!
Also, it's not just journals, books, magazines and dissertations, it's pictures. PICTURES GALORE! And not just any pictures, thousands upon thousands of PUBLIC DOMAIN PICTURES!And the pictures that are still in copyright usually have a "fair use" notice in the "rights" section allowing their publication for non-commercial use but most are public domain from decades long past. Many were never used because the lighting was wrong, better shots existed or the AP didn't pick it up for some other ephemeral reason lost to the ages. Pictures of stars getting out of a cab, attending a charity ball, attending the Oscars, getting on a plane, or doing some other perfectly random activity. Remember that pic I put up of Bette Davis speaking at the dedication of temporary homes for vets? Where do you think that came from, Doctor Macro? Or the most recent one of Loretta Young handing off a bowl of money or that pic of Marge and Gower Champion. They all came from archival storage sites.
Now these pics may bore some, or possibly many, but I find them interesting simply because they are so, uh... uninteresting. Does that make any sense? In other words, a search of Google images produces glamour pics of Loretta Young or shots from her movies but I prefer the historical minutia of Young at the California Hospital in the forties for some charity function giving some guy a bowlful of money. It has more of a time-capsule quality to it that the glamour shots are missing.
I've already saved hundreds of such photos from these sites and thousands when you count all the historical pics I've downloaded that have nothing to do with the movies and so will never show up here. I slowly filter them out on Cinema Styles... but why? Why not just throw them up each and every opportunity I can between a post? So prepare yourself to start getting lots of photo posts here of stars in perfectly banal situations. Or attending the Oscars, like this one for instance:
That's Walter Plunkett, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Edith Head in March, 1952 at the 24th Annual Oscars for the year 1951. Plunkett won Best Costume Design, Color, for An American in Paris and Head won Best Costume Design, Black and White, for A Place in the Sun. Zsa Zsa presented.
So yes, expect me to bore you with tons of these in the coming months (as long as I don't get laid off). One exception to this will be exploitation photos. There are plenty of photos in these archives of stars in the drunk tank, stars on a slab at the morgue, stars after suicide attempts and so on. Don't expect to see any of those here. It's odd I know. They've been dead for decades so it's not like I would be invading anyone's privacy but still, I don't want to put those kinds of photos up at Cinema Styles. But as for the rest, up they go. And anyone else with access to these institutional archives*, join me. There are tons of public domain photographs with "No known restrictions on publication" - and they're just waiting to be seen and appreciated.
*If you have access to these kinds of archives and are curious what is allowed and what isn't go here for information on copyright issues. In a nutshell, anything before 1923 is public domain and anything from 1923 through 1963 is public domain unless the copyright was renewed. If it was renewed it should say so on the site and have a section where it grants the right to use it through fair use doctrine. In other cases it may require permission and will provide the contact info of the rights holder, usually a museum, library or university that can be contacted through e-mail. After 1963 it gets a little more complicated. Just another reason to stick with the old stuff.