The Universal Newsreel Collection is the largest donated newsreel collection in the Moving Image and Sound Branch at the National Archives. The popular collection includes nearly 4,000 edited releases which were originally shown in movie theaters, as well as 8,500 reels of unedited outtakes.
Nearly 4,000 Universal Newsreel Release descriptions have been added to the National Archives Catalog, the result of a unique, multi-year collaborative effort by NARA staff of the Moving Image and Sound Branch and Citizen Archivist Phil Stewart. The project’s goal was to systematically transcribe the content of the twice-weekly synopsis, or release sheets, for each year. The descriptions provide the release date, titles and brief summaries of the individual stories in each release for the film reels in NARA’s holdings, which date from July 1929 to December 1967, when Universal ceased operations.
The descriptions were made live in the Catalog in February 2022, and digital video files and any tags which were originally added to the legacy descriptions have been added subsequently.
To see what a film looks like and it’s corresponding Catalog description, see this example of the film: Universal News Volume 18, Release 387, Stories #1-4, April 5, 1945 and its description in the Catalog: Universal Newsreel Volume 18, Release 387.
For more information about Universal, or to view the catalog, click here.