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By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina (USC) is set to “cut the ribbon,” next month, on its new 2,000-square-ft. cold-storage film repository for its recently acquired U.S. Marine Corps film collection.

The collection, “entrusted” to the USC Libraries’ Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) from the Marine Corps History Division based in Quantico, Virginia, includes some 10,000 films documenting the history of the U.S. Marine Corps during the 20th century from about 1919 through the end of the Vietnam War. The films – all 16mm and 35mm celluloid on reels totaling 1,800 hours of footage – feature U.S. Marines in action during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, as well as wartime and peacetime Marine Corps training, large-scale military exercises, equipment testing, and various recruiting and public relations activities.

In addition to housing the collection, MIRC is developing plans to digitize the films and make them freely available to the public. The cost of digitizing the films will be $2-million according to University officials.

“This will be the largest single Marine Corps film collection in the nation,” says Beth Norris Well, director of development for University Libraries. “The new home for the collection is important to us as we honor our military by helping preserve and digitize their history, and it’s a perfect fit since the University and our state are both so military friendly.”

The Marine Corps History Division is a branch of the Marine Corps University. The division selected USC because of MIRC’s recognized expertise in film preservation and restoration. MIRC is one of the largest “and most respected” academic film and video repositories in the nation. Among MIRC’s holdings is the Fox Movietone News Collection, approximately 2,000 hours of silent and sound films documenting national and global events from 1919 through 1934 and, through the war years, from 1942 through 1944. [See http://library.sc.edu/p/Collections/MIRC/About for listing of MIRC’s collections.]

The new Marine Corps film-repository (aka “the vault”) will open May 25, 2017. It will be housed inside the vast MIRC building complex at 707 Catawba Street in Columbia.

For more information, please visit http://library.sc.edu/marinecorps.

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