Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Norman Witty Cinema Collection, 1917-2008

Summary Information

Abstract

A collection of rare periodicals, books, and printed ephemera on topics related to cinema history, assembled by the cinema enthusiast and rare book collector Norman Witty (1941-2013).

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1933
Bib ID 13263479 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Witty, Norman
Title Norman Witty Cinema Collection, 1917-2008
Physical Description 5 linear feet (4 boxes)
Language(s) English , Italian , French , Spanish; Castilian .
Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Arranged in one series: Norman Witty Cinema Collection.

Description

Summary

The collection is primarily composed of periodicals, books, and printed ephemera related to cinema and film studies. It was assembled by Norman Witty, a cinephile and dealer of rare books, comics, and posters. The subject matter of the collection reflects Witty's particular interests in silent films and French New Wave cinema. The materials date from 1917 to 2008.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Norman Witty Cinema Collection; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

Frances Witty Hamermesh also donated more than two hundred graphic novels from Norman Witty's collection to Columbia University Libraries. Inscribed copies are located in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Other copies are in the circulating collection. These materials can be found by searching the Libraries' catalog, CLIO, using the term "Frances Witty Hamermesh."

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Processed by Martha Tenney.

Processed by Tamsin Ramjit.

Finding aid written by Celeste Brewer.

Revision Description

2018-05-16 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Periodicals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printed Ephemera Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New wave films Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Silent films Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Norman Witty (1941-2013) was a cinephile and dealer of vintage movie posters, comics, and books.

Witty came to love movies in the mid-1950s as a teenager who frequented neighborhood theatres in the Dorchester and Mattapan sections of Boston. These included the Oriental Theatre, a movie palace built in the late 1920s, with ornate Chinese-themed interiors and twinkling stars on the ceiling. He moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Northwestern University. Witty began his collection while in Los Angeles, and eventually began trading and selling items sourced in Los Angeles on the East coast.

In the early 1970s, Witty moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he operated the bookstore Omega Books for approximately fifteen years. He frequented antiquarian book shows and film and comic book festivals, where he purchased and traded for things he loved. He regularly participated in the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair; the Giornate del Cinema Muto (silent film festival) in Pordenone, Italy; and comic book festivals in Lucca, Italy and Angoulême, France. He purchased and traded for books of interest, not necessarily books that would be marketable. He loved silent film and silent film actresses; Grace Kelly; and the films of John Ford, Godard, and Truffaut.

In addition to his interest in cinema, Witty was considered an expert in underground and vintage comic books. He died in New York City on November 21, 2013.