Perhaps the most satisfying moment of a film preservation project is its completion, when an archivist can rest assured that the films are finally safeguarded. Fresh from the lab, the movies are now accessible to researchers and can be screened or digitized for the general public. The most recent example is Wayne State University’s preservation of two films shot on its campus (and in Detroit) in 1925 and 1932. Preserved through a 2015 NFPF Federal Grant, the footage provides an unvarnished, non-Hollywood look at what college life was like more than 80 years ago, with freshman vs. sophomore games (bloodshed included), a “Freshman Frolic,” Christmas festivals, costumed dances (one attendee is dressed as “the Forgotten Man,” a reference to a 1932 speech by President Roosevelt), football and a women’s hockey game, and appearances from Michigan Governor Wilber M. Brucker and jazz singer Irene Daye, a Wayne State alumnus. For links to videos of the films and further information, see the University Library’s blog post by archivist Mary J. Wallace, who supervised the project.
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