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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
Professional and personal papers of Robert J. Flaherty and of his associates Frances Hubbard Flaherty and David Flaherty, concerning his career as an explorer in the Hudson Bay area, and as a film-maker from 1913 until 1951. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, financial records, scripts, publicity materials, his books, short stories, and articles and stills from his films including NANOOK OF THE NORTH (1922), MOANA (1925), MAN OF ARAN (1934), ELEPHANT BOY (1937), THE LAND (1941), and LOUISIANA STORY (1948). Also, files of the Robert Flaherty Foundation, including the later personal papers of Flaherty's wife, Frances Hubbard Flaherty.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Other Finding Aids
The original typed finding aid for the collection is available for use at the RBML, as necessary.
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
The following boxes are located off-site: CMI Boxes 81-96, Box 97. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
1) No original materials may be removed from the library at any time.
2) Requests for photoduplication must be made in writing to one of the officers of International Film Seminars.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Robert Joseph Flaherty papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Alternate Form Available
Ownership and Custodial History
On permanent deposit from International Film Seminars, Inc., 1966, 1979.
Photographs by Robert J. Flaherty, Frances H. Flaherty, and others are: on extended loan to the Flaherty Study Center, School of Theology, Claremont College, Claremont, CA 91711.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--International Film Seminars, Inc. Method of acquisition--On permanent deposit; Date of acquisition--1966. Accession number--M-66.
Letter from Robert Flaherty to William Edwin Rudge, circa 1946-1947. Accn: 2016.2017.M084. Gift of Joanna Rudge Long.
1 box of material from Cecile Starr re. Frances Hubbard Flaherty and others [2009-2010-M058].
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/1989.
Due to a need for clarification on the availability of film strips, photographs and stills listed in the finding aid, particularly in light of the statement that some photographs are on extended loan at Flaherty Study Center, a review of the RBML's collection file and existing finding aid was done by Catherine C. Ricciardi in August 2021. The Flaherty Center was allowed to take all photographic material for purposes of duplication and preservation in 1972, and this material has remained with the Flaherty Study Center, School of Theology, Claremont College, Claremont, CA 91711. As this material was not at Columbia University when the collection was microfilmed, this material is not available on the microfilms made by Columbia University. All individual items and files listed in the finding aid that are currently at the Flaherty Study Center are now noted in the container list, and also listed in a separate list at the end of the document. All historical references to container information and the availability of microfilm for these items has been corrected in the finding aid.
2009-06-26 File created.
2019-02-07 XML document revised by Catherine C. Ricciardi. Revised library's statement on the required use of microfilm copies. Removed outdated restriction statements regarding Boxes 11-14.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2021-08-18 Review of description pertaining to film strips, photographs, and stills done by CCR. Corrections made to existing container lists. For more detailed information, see the note under Processing Information.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Film producer and director, pioneer in the documentary film. Robert Joseph Flaherty was married to Frances Hubbard Flaherty. His brother was the documentary film-maker David Flaherty.
The Robert Flaherty Foundation, later absorbed by International Film Seminars, Inc., was established after Flaherty's death to encourage study of "the Flaherty method" of film-making, to advise young directors, and to ensure the continued availability of the Flaherty films.