Guide to the Morris and Dorothy Margolin film collection, 1947-1982
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The Morris and Dorothy Margolin film collection dates from 1947 to 1982 and includes twenty-five 16mm and seven Super 8 motion picture films created by Morris Margolin, chiefly documenting Morris and Dorothy's international travels. The films include footage from Pakistan, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, and Kenya -- rare destinations for Western travelers in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Highlights include an abundance of images of the Soviet Union and Israel, and images of Capetown documenting the apartheid years. All of the films are color, and a few include sound elements such as narration, music, or even sound effects. The collection also includes a handful of home movies that document family trips and events such as graduations and birthdays, and one film that appears to be a professionally produced documentary about the Soviet Union. The films are complemented by over 4,000 color slides of still images taken during their travels. The collection, arranged chronologically, also includes Digital Betacam preservation tapes, DVD masters and DVD use copies.
- Collection Number
- Morris and Dorothy Margolin film collection
- Margolin, Morris, 1908-1990
- 10 Linear Feet, 4839 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
The Morris and Dorothy Margolin Film Collection includes 32 home movies that capture the Margolins' travels between 1947 and 1976. Destinations represented in the collection include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jamaica, Kenya, Majorca, Monaco, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Scotland, South Africa, the Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, and Yugoslavia.
Also included is a handful of home movies that document family trips and events such as graduations and birthdays, and one film that appears to be a professionally produced documentary about the Soviet Union acquired by the Margolins during their travels.
Particularly notable is the adventurous nature of many of the countries visited, such as the Soviet Union, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, and Kenya -- rare destinations for Western travelers in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The films are also noteworthy because Morris often trained his camera on his surroundings, recording everyday life as well as architectural and geographical features of the countries he visited. His wife Dorothy also makes frequent appearances in the films.
The films are complemented by over 4,000 color slides taken in most of these same countries from 1959 to 1982. Of particular interest are images from the former Soviet Union and Israel, both from the mid-1960s, as well as early images of France, Italy, and Thailand.
Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
The films are arranged chronologically and includes Super 8mm and 16mm reversal originals as well as Digital Betacam preservation tape masters and DVD masters. DVD use copies of each film are available to researchers. All of the films in the collection are in color. Many are silent, but some include voiceover narration, music, and even sound effects.
Film titles were taken directly from original labels and typically give an overview of destinations visisted on a particular trip. For most films, a preliminary or detailed shot list is included in the finding aid. These provide more information on specific cities and sites visited. Reel numbers were assigned by archivists during processing; they generally reflect order of accession.
The slides are also arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by country.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research and digital viewing copies are available. Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Morris and Dorothy Margolin film collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Shotlists were created by Rubenstein Library staff for a number of the films. Contact the Rubenstein Library for further information.
This film does not appear to have been made by Morris Margolin; rather, it is likely that it is a documentary film acquired by the Margolins on their trip to the Soviet Union.
In addition to filming their surroundings, the Margolins took many color photographs in the same countries, and had them formatted into color film transparencies (slides) which they could then project at special gatherings. The slides are in good condition, with vivid images depicting buildings, native citizens, street scenes, tourist sights, and oftentimes Dorothy or Morris Margolin make an appearance.
The earliest images are from France in 1959, and the latest offer views of a 1982 trip to Italy. Of particular interest are over 200 hundred slides from Russia taken in the 1960s, and many images of Israel from the 1960s and 1971. There are also images from Florence and Verona, Italy from 1968 - two years following the devastating 1966 flood.
The 4172 slides, arranged in chronological order and then alphabetically by country, were originally in carousel trays; their original projection sequencing has been preserved. The slides have been numbered sequentially, which does not always match their original slot position numbe as there were sometimes gaps in the original tray sequence.
A note on the carousel box for Tray 1 of 2 says "With Eleanor and Kal [?]."
Images are from Moscow. A handwritten note on the carousel box says "Sound on tape."
Includes Moscow and Leningrad. A note on the carousel box says "Excellent," and "Sound on tape."
Includes Kenya, Tanzania, Zululand, and South Africa.
Includes Bournemouth, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Born on July 28, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York, Morris Margolin spent most of his life in the New York metropolitan area. He graduated from New York University (NYU) in 1926 and taught accounting at Far Rockaway High School in Queens, New York from 1933 to 1940. Morris was the founding partner of Margolin, Winer & Evans, an accounting firm established in Jamaica, New York, in 1946 that later moved to Garden City, Long Island. He was also a charter member and former president of the Jamaica, Queens, chapter of B’nai B’rith, a global Jewish community service organization.
In 1936, Morris married Dorothy Safran. Dorothy was born to Polish parents in Budapest, Hungary, on July 28, 1911. Her family emmigrated to the United States in 1913 and settled in New York City. Dorothy graduated from NYU, where she studied Spanish language and culture, and also did graduate work. Dorothy was a lover of the arts and an active member of Women Strike for Peace. The couple had two daughters: Elaine, born in 1940, and Linda, born in 1944.
Morris was an amateur filmmaker, photography enthusiast, and classical music aficionado. The Margolins were avid travelers, taking an extensive series of international trips. Morris documented their travels through his photography and filmmaking and then shared his films with fellow members of the Metropolitan Film Club in Manhattan and at B’nai B’rith functions. The couple also hosted screenings in their home for friends and family.
Morris retired in 1970, and the Margolins soon moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where Morris continued to share his films and photos with new friends. Morris passed away in 1990, Dorothy in 2007.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
- Margolin family
- Margolin, Dorothy
- Margolin, Morris, 1908-1990
- Metropolitan Film Club
The Morris and Dorothy Margolin film collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2006 and 2011.
Processed by Stephanie Barnwell, September 2011; some shot lists by Beth Ann Koelsch
Encoded by Stephanie Barnwell, September 2011
Addition of slides processed by Levi Crews, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, and Sara Reams, November 2013; encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico and Sara Reams, November 2013
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2006-0114, 2011-0174