Student's Discovery Aids Library of Congress Film Restoration

Tuesday, Sep 20, 2016

Robert Anen, a second-year graduate student in New York University's Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) MA program in NYU Tisch's Department of Cinema Studies, made a discovery during his summer 2016 internship at Indiana University (IU) Libraries' Moving Image Archive that will help the Library of Congress restore a landmark multimedia production. His internship was made possible by a generous stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access Education and Training program.

Think (1964) by Ray and Charles Eames was shown across 22 multi-sized screens at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. According to the Eames' website, "visitors were lifted 53 feet" into the IBM Pavilion's Ovoid Theater to view Think, which "explored problem-solving techniques for issues both commonplace and complex."

The New York World’s Fair introduced computer technology to millions of visitors, particularly at the IBM Pavilion. Rachael Stoeltje, director of IU Libraries’ Moving Image Archive, describes what these pavilion visitors might have experienced. "Think was more than innovative, it was historic. It intermixed motion pictures and slide projections with a live emcee.”

Now, more than 50 years later, a newly discovered home movie in the Edward and Naomi Feil Collection at IU Libraries’ Moving Image Archive is helping the Library of Congress bring Think back to life. 

THINK, Photographs by Charles and Ray Eames (
THINK, Photographs by Charles and Ray Eames (

With the support of a generous stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, MIAP student Robert Anen traveled halfway across the county to spend his 10-week internship processing the recently acquired Feil Collection for IU Libraries’ Moving Image Archive. Following a class trip to the National Audio Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, VA, Anen knew that staff at the Library of Congress were restoring Think. Archival reconstruction of such complex media requires documentation to help conservators put all the pieces together.

“The archivists had little in the way of accurate scripts or a complete visual record to verify their reconstruction of the original version of the film,” explains Stoeltje. The newly discovered Feil film includes shots of Think the restoration team had not seen, helping them reintegrate images previously thought extraneous. 

“It’s hard to find a better example of organizational cooperation than the nexus between IU’s Libraries Moving Image Archive, NYU’s MIAP program, and the Library of Congress. Sometimes it really does take a village to restore a film,” said Mike Mashon, Head of the Moving Image Section at the Library of Congress.

Reflecting on his time with the Feil Collection Anen said, “Inventorying the films was a fascinating and moving experience for me, not only as a media archivist but as a human. I had the chance to examine the artistic process of a filmmaker whose passion for cinema burned so hot that even his home life seemed like a film set.”

Read the full press release here and Robert Anen's blog posts about his summer internship working on the Feil Collection here. You can watch a digitized version of the Feils' NY Fair 1964-1965 home movie here, courtesy of IU Libraries' Media Collections Online.