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New Rochelle's Iona College To Archive Thanhouser Films

Iona College in New Rochelle will establish a film archive from Thanhouser Co.
Iona College in New Rochelle will establish a film archive from Thanhouser Co. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. --  Iona College will be home to the Thanhouser Film Archive, which will include digital archives of Thanhouser Co. Film Preservation Inc.’s cinematic and documentary holdings.

The original Thanhouser Co., founded by Edwin Thanhouser in New Rochelle in 1909, produced more than 1,000 films, making the city an early center of American filmmaking.

“Just as the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College honors one of New Rochelle’s historical figures, the Thanhouser Film Archive will greatly benefit our community by honoring Thanhouser’s pioneering contribution to our nation’s cultural heritage,” said Michael Marsden, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“Thanhouser digital files will be directly accessible to the public,” said Dean Defino, director of film studies at Iona College. “The archive will provide opportunities for Iona’s faculty and outside scholars to conduct primary source research and adopt materials into course curricula, and for students to gain archival experience in this foundational area of mass media.”

"Documents and artifacts of the Thanhouser collection will be digitized by librarians and student interns in Ryan Library," said Rick Palladino, director of libraries.

“Thanhouser Co.’s silent films, which ranged from Shakespeare’s plays to popular subjects, have found a most fitting home at Iona College,” said Ned Thanhouser, Edwin’s grandson and president of TCFP.

Thanhouser has been actively involved in researching and preserving early motion pictures since 1986. “I am delighted that my grandfather’s contributions will be made available for the enjoyment of future generations, and his memory perpetuated,” he stated.

TCFP’s archives currently include numerous surviving Thanhouser films, photographs, postcards, glass slides, posters and other items of ephemera. In 1988, Ned Thanhouser and his family established the Thanhouser Film Preservation Trust at the Library of Congress to fund the acquisition and preservation of nitrate-based Thanhouser films.

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