Title: Educational Film Collection

Collection Number: 9995

Span Dates: 1940 – 1989

Creator: USC Film Distribution

Extent: 5000 Reels

Links: 1986 Film Catalog

Subject(s): Educational Films , Instructional Films , Nontheatrical Films , Student Produced Films , Health and Safety , University of Southern California Film Distribution , USC , Herbert E. Farmer


Notes: During Word War II, USC archivist Herb Farmer served as officer in charge of the Navy Motion Picture Camera School. In this position, Farmer witnessed first-hand the military’s use of film as an educational tool. He specifically noted the importance of high-quality filmmaking in instructional films and adopted the belief that the entertainment value of these films should be on par with dramatic films shown in theaters.
Upon returning to USC after the war, Farmer initiated an educational film distribution and production program at the university. Many other universities and libraries were also distributing educational films at this time, but USC was unique in its practice of integrating the production and distribution of films. USC’s first film distribution catalog was released in 1951 and the educational film market remained strong through the 1970s. The 1984 – 86 catalog was USC’s last, but while many colleges and universities deaccessioned their nontheatrical films, USC still maintains its collection in the Hefner Archive.
The educational film collection includes many USC student produced films and covers a wide range of topics. Subjects listed in the final distribution catalog include: agriculture, biography, business and economics, civics and political systems, education, English language, fine arts, foreign language, U.S. and world geography, guidance and counseling, health and safety, U.S. and world history, home economics, industrial and technical education, literature and drama, mathematics, physical education and recreation, psychology, religion and philosophy, natural and physical science, social science, and sociology.

Citation: Educational Film Collection, Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Location: USC Hefner Archive

Access: Available by appointment or digital access for a fee.