The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929

“The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912-1929” by David Pierce from the Council on Library and Information Resources ( and the Library of Congress.

A 73 page report on the status of the surviving American Silent Films. Abstract from CLIR.


From the executive summary:

This report focuses on those titles that have managed to survive to the present day and represents the first comprehensive survey of the survival of American silent feature films. The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films documents 10,919 silent feature films of American origin released through 1930. Treasures from the Film Archives, published by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), is the primary source of information regarding silent film survival in the archival community. The FIAF information has been enhanced by information from corporations, libraries, and private collectors.
Only 2,749 (25%) of American silent feature films survive in complete form. Another 562 (17% of the surviving titles and 5% of total production) survive in incomplete form. Of these, at least 151 titles survive in versions that have one reel missing. Another 275 titles survive in versions that are not complete, missing two reels or more. This includes the films that survive only in 9.5mm abridgements and many of the Eastman Kodak Kodascope 16mm home library releases where footage was eliminated to reduce the running time. Finally, there are 136 confirmed fragments, where one reel or less survives. There are probably many more odd reels in collections, unidentified and uncataloged.

Thanks to Kevin B for first letting me know about this. By the end of the day it was all over the news and FB. An important report.


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