For film historians, cinephiles, or even fans who want to dig a little deeper into their favorite movies, the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library is once again open to the public after closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Established in 1928, the library boasts an incredible collection of archival materials and rare motion picture reference items, essential to the study of the art and industry of film. Read on to learn more about the library’s holdings, as well as how to visit in person.
Who Was Margaret Herrick?
Margaret Herrick was the Academy’s librarian from 1936 to 1943 and laid the foundation for what is now one of the world’s most respected and well-known film-related libraries. After her stint as Academy librarian, Herrick went on to become the Academy’s Executive Director in 1945 and is also responsible for transforming the Oscars ceremony into the major televised event it is today.
Through her efforts, and the work of librarians and archivists who followed, the Margaret Herrick Library collection has continued to acquire and preserve materials, making them available to the public and scholars alike.
How To Visit
Visiting the Margaret Herrick Library is currently by appointment only. Please be aware that there is limited capacity and high demand for space in the reading room, so there may be a wait for your appointment. To request an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Location & Hours
The Margaret Herrick Library is located in the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study.
333 S. La Cienega Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90211
Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Services such as retrieving materials and photocopying stop half an hour before closing time, please plan accordingly.
The library offers a variety of collections for research and study and is regularly adding new materials to its various holdings. Those collections include:
The library has a collection of English and foreign-language publications on all aspects of filmmaking, from screenwriting to exhibition, and covering film history from its beginning to the digital revolution. Popular books and publications from the United States and around the world make up the collection, including reference works, biographies, and books dedicated to different film genres. Highlights include rare items such as Eadweard Muybridge's 1881 first edition of Attitudes of Animals in Motion and a copy of the novel Gone with the Wind, autographed by the film's principal cast members as well as its producer and director.
The library’s script collection contains over 15,000 scripts from produced films, spanning from 1910 to the present, with additional scripts being actively collected. These include unpublished versions in a variety of forms, from outlines and treatments to first drafts, revisions, and final shooting scripts. In addition to thousands of screenplays from American feature films, there are scripts from silent productions, foreign language films, documentaries, and animated features and shorts.
The library’s collection of 13 million photographs includes candid behind-the-scenes moments, production stills, red carpet coverage, reference photos, and much, much more. Many of the stills are original black-and-white photographs, but there are also negatives (black-and-white and color), color slides and transparencies, film frames, glass negatives and glass slides.
As you might expect, the Oscars and Academy History collection is extensive, covering the Oscars ceremony itself plus related events like Governors Awards and Scientific and Technical Awards ceremonies, and the Nominees Luncheon. The collection contains photographs from the red carpet to the Governor’s Ball, transcripts of the ceremonies, and databases of winners, nominations, and other relevant information.
This collection contains clippings from newspapers and magazines, studio press releases, publicity and advertising material, and photographs, giving insight to historical and contemporary views of filmmaking and Hollywood. Other items include production notes on everything from live-action and animated shorts to documentaries, and experimental films, and even files on film projects that were never completed or released.
From modern day one-sheets to pre-cinema projection displays, the library has hundreds of examples of the graphic arts associated with motion pictures. This collection also includes production art materials, such as costume and production design drawings, title art, and animation artwork. Much of this collection has been generously given by designers, collectors, and professional organizations. There is even a small number of paintings and illustrations of prominent industry individuals available for viewing.
Dating back to the beginning of film and going into the present, the periodicals collection contains over 3,000 titles, mostly from the United States, but also covering other countries' English-language magazines. From influential fan magazines like Photoplay to technical journals like Sight and Sound, there is a wide array of information available for the film historian (or a long-dedicated fan!).
Covering careers of companies, organizations, and individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry, this collection includes a variety of materials, including production files, scripts, correspondence, clippings, contracts, manuscripts, notes, scrapbooks, costume and production design drawings, storyboards, sheet music, music scores and recorded sound. Access to the special collections is limited to qualified students and researchers, and appointments are required.