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George Eastman Museum launches Technicolor Online Research Archive

A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities helped fund the digitization of the museum’s Technicolor archive

Rochester, N.Y., August 9, 2017—The George Eastman Museum has officially launched the Technicolor Online Research Archive available at technicolor.eastman.org. The online archive contains more than 40,000 documents from the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation, ranging in date from 1914 to 1955. Notes, journals, correspondence, film tests, technical drawings, and other documents are now available for the public to search and browse.

The Technicolor Collection—technical notebooks, research files, bottles of dyes, and Technicolor cameras and equipment and printing equipment—was assembled by the George Eastman Museum over several decades. For more information, visit eastman.org/collection-highlights-technicolor.

“The museum has the definitive holdings of Technicolor materials, and part of our mission is to make these historic objects and documents available to the public,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director of the George Eastman Museum. “The Technicolor Online Research Archive gives scholars, researchers, students, and film aficionados unprecedented access to the inner workings of one of the most important companies in the history of cinema.”

Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with matching funds from Technicolor SA and the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation, the Technicolor Online Research Archive is a digital-asset database containing high-resolution scans and catalogue records from the museum’s Technicolor Collection, including the Technicolor Notebooks Collection, the Technicolor Corporate Archive, the Technicolor News and Views Collection, and the John M. Andreas Collection.

  • The Technicolor Notebooks Collection contains valuable information on the beginnings of the company, its forays into early two-color filmmaking, and its successful development of breakthrough three-color film technology. The collection consists of research notebooks produced by Technicolor scientists from 1914 to 1958, donated to the museum by Eastman Kodak Company in 1980, as well as research notebooks of Leonard Troland and John F. Kienninger, purchased by the museum in 2013.
  • The Technicolor Corporate Archive contains a wide array of corporate documents, correspondence, company histories, promotional materials, and financial records, donated to the museum by Technicolor Corporation in 2009. The items scanned for this project span the years 1916 to 1955.
  • The Technicolor News and Views Collection is a series of promotional newsletters produced by the company from 1939 to 1955. Donated by Eastman Kodak Company in the 1960s, these newsletters are held in the Eastman Museum’s Richard and Ronay Menschel Library.
  • The John M. Andreas Collection contains the papers of John M. Andreas, PhD, head of the research department at Technicolor during the company’s busiest years, from the 1940s to the 1960s. The collection, donated to the Eastman Museum by the Andreas family in 2005, concerns dye and chemical research to improve Technicolor’s dye-imbibition process, as well as a wide variety of miscellaneous research projects undertaken by the company during those years. The Andreas collection also includes thousands of bottles of dye powders, many of which are on display at the museum.

In 2015, the George Eastman Museum published The Dawn of Technicolor, 1915–1935, which recounted the first two decades of the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation and its development of a series of two-color processes as necessary steps toward full-color motion picture photography and printing.  The book was awarded the Henry Allen Moe Prize for Catalogs of Distinction in the Arts from the New York State Historical Association and the Richard Wall Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of recorded performance from the Theatre Library Association. The Technicolor Online Research Archive is a major step forward to enabling future scholarship on the technical, artistic, and commercial history of Technicolor.