In 1980, the University of South Carolina was selected by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation to receive a portion of the Fox Movietone News Collection, which contains reels of the first synchronization of moving images and sound. Through this gift of 11 million feet of news reels covering events from 1919 to 1934 and World War II, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the University of South Carolina Newsfilm Library was born.
The Newsfilm Library’s collection has grown to an estimated 20 million feet of film through the acquisition of other film collections. To cover the high expense of preserving the most endangered and historically significant nitrate films in the Movietone Collection, the Library has established a preservation endowment.
In 2005 the library was awarded a cost-sharing grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that will allow it to replace corroding storage containers. The metal film boxes, in which Fox housed and sent the film collection to South Carolina, will be replaced with archival containers that will extend the life of the film and allow the library more time to convert the reels to new formats. Through the Newsfilm Library’s efforts, these millions of feet of images documenting the history and culture of the United States are being saved.