Study Center

The Study Center at Northeast Historic Film houses over 3,000 reference videos transferred from archival items in the moving image collections, over 2,000 books, pamphlets, and manuals, and over 6,000 moving image periodicals. These materials may be reviewed on site at no charge.  There is also a growing number of resources available online.

Study Center Online

A growing number of Study Center resources can now be accessed on-line as well as by an actual visit.

Study Center at NHF

Appointments to use the Study Center must be made in advance. Call 207-469-0924 or email to schedule a time. See below for examples of the types of items available in our Study Center.

Moving Images

Northeast Historic Film's moving images consist primarily of film and videotape related to the northern New England region: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. The archives holds more than 800 film and video collections, including Maine and Massachusetts television stations from the 1950s to the 1990s, industrial films, silent fiction, independent works, student films and videos, amateur films and home movies. Home movies are important cultural and historical records, providing coverage of family activities, recreation, landscapes and the built environment, and work life.



The Archie Stewart Collection, over 75,000 feet of 16mm original reversal film, by Archie Stewart (1902-1998), who began shooting in 1926.  He was an active member of the Amateur Cinema League, an aeronautics enthusiast, sportsman, and second-generation Buick salesman. Unlike most amateur filmmakers, who continued to shoot silent film, around Christmas 1935 he acquired a 16mm sound camera and used it to document family activities, in 1937 publishing one of the first articles on amateur sound in the ACL magazine Movie Makers.



The WCSH Collection, from Portland, Maine, is one of seven Maine TV collections covering sports, news, government, and feature stories. Television collections record events that are locally significant and of wider interest. People, Places, and Things (1978-1988), approximately 600 stories by Clif Reynolds, covers arts, agriculture, and oddities. Forty-six videotapes document a young Maine girl, Samantha Smith, to connect with the leadership and youth of the Soviet Union in the early 1980s.  The WCVB-TV Collection, from Boston, Massachusetts, is being processed in the four-partner Boston TV News Digital Library initiative, 2010-2012. 



The Goodall Mills Collection consists of 16mm industrial films, which document the Sanford Mills and Goodall Worsted Company in Sanford, Maine. Included in the collection is The Goodall Summertime: The Story of Warm Weather Profits (1932), Framed around a fictional story about the owner of a menswear shop eager to increase sales, the film describes the manufacturing process and gives tips on how to market and sell the company's Palm Beach Suit.



Donors, staff, and researchers have added annotation to collection files, sometimes consisting of photographs and notes, relevant bibliographies, excerpts from publications and presentations. Some films, such as Cherryfield, 1938, come with manuscripts that identify nearly all people and places represented. Visiting the Study Center is the only way to access this additional information.



Northeast Historic Film collects moving image technology such as projectors, cameras, and editing equipment to provide an overall picture of the filmmaking process, with a strong emphasis on amateur filmmaking.  The Alan & Natalie Kattelle Collection is a world-class assembly of cameras, projectors, and other amateur moviemaking equipment.  Alan Kattelle, an NHF Advisor, is the author of Home Movies: A History of the American Industry, 1897 – 1979. (Read a presentation given by Kattelle at the 2003 Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium)


In addition to the Kattelle technology collection, NHF holds obsolescent machines that assist in understanding production and presentation of the moving images in our collections, such as 9.5mm film projectors and cameras and analog video decks. Some viewing and editing apparatus is available for use in assessment of collections by potential donors.


Still Images & Ephemera

Our primary collecting focus is northern New England, but since many aspects of film exhibition and audience practices were similar throughout the nation, broader collections strengthen NHF collections by showing similarities and contrasts.  This rationale, that national and international references provide contextual data, supports the acquisition of selected national trade periodicals and focused materials relating to moviegoing.


Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, Ph.D., has called NHF “the premier archives of pre-1930, or nickelodeon era, or even overall film exhibition and moviegoing in the nation.”

NHF collects still images, from production and publicity shots to postcards of cinemas.  The Q. David Bowers Collection contains lithographed postcards of theaters across the United States. We maintain regional cinema material including business records, scrapbooks, and advertising ephemera.

Books & Periodicals

The Study Center contains reference works to assist the staff and serve researchers and students. Areas of interest are standard reference works for audiovisual archiving, relevant interpretive works, biographies, instructional volumes, and directories.