Films and Videos
Guide to Mental Health Motion Pictures The guide contains references to nearly 200 films and videorecordings produced from the 1930s up to and including 1970. Most deal with mental or psychiatric disorders as defined or recognized at the time the films were produced, as well as their corresponding causes and treatments. Some films focus on improving mental attitudes and thus overall health.
NLM historical films and videos are administered by the Historical Audiovisuals Program.
- About the Historical Audiovisuals Program
- Digital Collections
- Guides to the Historical Audiovisuals Collection
- Other Sources for Historical Medical Films
- How to Search Films and Videos
- How to Access and Use Films and Videos
- Contact Historical Audiovisuals
The Historical Audiovisuals Program collects, preserves, and makes available to researchers and the public moving images and sound which document the history of medicine, biomedical science, health and disease in all time periods and cultures. Administered by the NLM History of Medicine Division (HMD), the program promotes and conducts scholarly research and public education through popular and scholarly programs of seminars, lectures, exhibitions, film programs, publications, and online catalogs and subject guides.
Films and videos collection
The NLM films and videos collection is a principal repository for biomedical images in the U.S. The HMD collection includes more than 5,300 films and video recordings dating from 1900 to the present. More than 500 titles date from before 1950. The collection includes instructional films, public health documentaries, commercial films with medical themes, public service announcements, histories of medicine on film, recordings of public lectures and ceremonies, and documentary footage of biomedical research.
The collection is particularly strong in the following areas:
- Mental health
- Drug abuse prevention
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- U.S. Public Health Service films
- History of clinical dentistry
Selected films of interest
The Sarnoff Collection (1918-1948) consists of early films of patient education, anatomy studies, and surgery. Of interest is The Respiratory System (1918).
The Petrolagar films (1928-1930) show footage of early surgery. Ivan Pavlov and Chauncey Leake appear in the film of the 13th International Conference of Physiology (1929).
Root Technic shows a root canal procedure shot with a hand-cranked camera through a magnifying glass (1917).
Combined Right Herniotomy and Appendectomy under Cocaine shows the use of cocaine as anesthesia (1917).
Atomic Medical Cases documents the effects of the atom bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1949).
Forgotten Frontier shows footage of traveling nurses in the Appalachian Mountains (1931).
The American Dental Associations collection of approximately 400 films represents a significant compilation of the history of clinical dentistry. One example is Classroom Talks by Dental Supervisor (1910).
While most of the films are in English, important parts of the collection are in German, Russian, French, and Spanish. One example is Herr Professor Doktor Jakob Erdheim (1933).
Digitized Films and Videos from the Historic Audiovisual collections. These films prototype new access to HMD's film collection. Search full-text across catalog data and film transcripts! Digitized films are part of NLM's new digital repository infrastructure http://collections.nlm.nih.gov.
- Guide to Tropical Disease Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals
- Guide to Mental Health Motion Pictures
- National Library of Medicine's Motion Pictures and Videocassettes about the Public Health Service and its Agencies (1998) (pdf)
- ACT UP Oral History Project: http://actuporalhistory.org/interviews/index.html
- The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives at the Johns Hopkins University
- The Archives of the History of American Psychology
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Center for the History of Psychology
- Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University
- Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive
- Medical Stock Sources: Medical Stock Footage Sources
- Moving Image Collections
- Motion Pictures in the Library of Congress
- National Audiovisual Center (NAC)
- National Museum of American History Archives Center
- National Museum of Health and Medicine
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
- Smithsonian Institution
- UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History & Special Collections
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- U.S. National Archives & Records Administration (NARA)
- Waring Historical Library of the Medical University of South Carolina
- The William H. Welch Medical Library at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions
Search for films, videos, and audio recordings in the Library catalog (LocatorPlus).
View films and videos in the Library
Request films and videos through the Library Catalog (LocatorPlus). Films and videos can be viewed in the History of Medicine Reading Room, which is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M., except on federal holidays.
Borrow films and videos
Service copies of films and videos may be borrowed through interlibrary loan. For more information see Interlibrary Loan Fact Sheet.
Purchase copies of films and videos
Films and videos may be duplicated if they are determined to be in the public domain, or if written permission from the copyright holder has been received by the Historical Audiovisuals Archivist.
For more information, see Historical Films and Videos Duplication: Information and Vendor List (pdf) and the five steps listed below.
Before a film or video can be copied, the patron completes the following steps:
- Resolve copyright status
If the film or video is not in the public domain, obtain written permission from the copyright holder. The copyright holder is often named on the LocatorPlus records. See also Historical Collections Copyright Information.
- Choose vendor
Choose one of the Library’s approved vendors. Arrangements are in place at each of the companies for hand-carrying our films. Courier costs are charged to the patron. The film company will tell you the cost of conversion and the length of time it will take to complete the job. The Library does not charge patrons a service fee for copying.
- Complete forms
After arrangements with the vendor are complete, fill out the Historical Films and Videos Duplication: User Agreement (pdf) and Restriction Notice (pdf). Complete and return one set of forms for each film to the Archivist by mail or in person. The forms cannot be faxed, as faxed signatures are not necessarily legal and binding.
- Confirm arrangements
Once the Archivist receives the forms, they will contact the patron to confirm arrangements. The Archivist will prepare the manifest and deliver the films to the Preservation and Collection Management Section. The Preservation and Collection Management Section will pack the films for shipment, call the vendor, and arrange for the films to be picked up. After the film has been copied, the vendor will send the copy to the patron and return the original to the Library. If the patron has questions about copying, contact Karen Sinkule at 301-435-7117, Monday thru Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Credit line
If using the film in a production, please include the phrase Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
- Resolve copyright status
Note: The following commercial non-government Web sites are linked for your convenience. The government does not endorse or guarantee the services of these companies.
The laboratories approved to make film-to-film or film-to-video reproductions of NLM's vintage footage are:
Nancy Dosch, Ph.D.
Phone: (301) 402-8818
Fax: (301) 402-0982
Historical Audiovisuals Collection
History of Medicine Division, Bldg. 38, Rm. 1E-21
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894