Archives Awareness: Charlie Chaplin Archive


Published: June 28, 2019 by Katie Kuryla

If you are a fan of Charlie Chaplin and the silent film era, there is a fascinating online site for both serious researches or regular fans of the film master’s work.

The Bologna Film Library has opened a special online Charlie Chaplin archive. This archive is a separate project of the Bologna Foundation, which has already worked on the restoration and preservation of Chaplin’s films.

The project digitized Chaplin’s “very own and painstakingly preserved professional and personal archives, from his early career on the English stage, to his final days in Switzerland.”

According to the project’s curators, the archive includes all the available material from, “the first handwritten notes of a storyline to the shooting of the film itself, stage by stage documentary evidence of the development of a film, or a project that never even became a film,” but also materials that are not directly related to the movies: “poems, lyrics, drawings, programs, contracts, letters, magazines, travel souvenirs, comic books, cartoon strips, praise and criticism.”

What is important to note is that a large part of these documents and images have not been previously available to the public, and give a detailed insight into Chaplin’s film concepts and his approach to filmmaking, but also his life in general.

The Archive leaves its visitors with the possibility to make their own searches or explore curated topic sections, like the one on Chaplin’s early career, another on his music, or yet another on his travels. There are other categories, the important ones, like the one on Chaplin as a director, or the more ‘specific interest’ ones, like the one on Chaplin’s luxury item purchases.

To see the archive, click here


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