Miles and miles of movie posters: An archive of 10,000 begins its digitized online release

A trove of more than 10,000 movie posters begins its digitized debut


Here at Sightlines we’re superfans of open digital archives.

Of course we firstly love physical material and actual libraries. Everything is better in person — especially cultural objects.

But we celebrate the egalitarianism that open, public digital archives represent.

In a democracy, culture belongs to everyone.

We got excited earlier this year when the Library of Congress unleashed into the public realm a huge trove of roadside Americana photographs. And we were over the moon when the Ransom Center announced that it had digitized more than 27,000 images and page scans from Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez’s archive. 

Now, comes an another ambitious Ransom Center digitization project. The University of Texas humanities archive and library has set out to digitize each of the more than 10,000 movie posters in its collection.

And the first 500 have just been released online.

The largest part of the Ransom Center’s movie poster comes from the Interstate Theater Circuit collection. In its beginning, the Interstate company was a vaudeville booking and presenting company. But by 1920 Interstate had grabbed on to the then-new form of entertainment: motion pictures.

At its peak, Interstate managed almost every movie theater in Texas. And its residual collection of movie posters cover the 1940s through the 1970s with a particular strength in the films of the 1950s and 1950s.

The Bijou Theater
Austin, Texas
c. 1910, an early Interstate theater. Image courtesy Ransom Center.

Peruse the Ransom Center’s online archive of movie posters here.

The center’s blog story on the project is here.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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