The Bob Hope Collection comprises manuscript materials, photographs, sound recordings, and moving images. The manuscript and photograph materials were processed in 2018 by David Jackson, Archivist at the Division's National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, VA. Those materials alone—scripts, jokes, monologues, correspondence, manuscripts, promotional materials, photographs, and clippings documenting Hope's work as an entertainer, actor, comedian, and philanthropist, across multiple mediums and disciplines including radio, television, film, and live performance—span over 860 linear feet.
In this guide you will learn about Bob Hope and his materials here at the Library of Congress, gather tips for searching our collections, and find information about listening, viewing, and researching in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers.
Bob Hope materials can be accessed in both the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers. Sound recordings and the manuscript and photograph materials can be accessed in the Recorded Sound Research Center; television programs in the Moving Image Research Center. There is also an on-site database of scanned jokes and scripts—Hope's infamous "Joke Vault"—that can be accessed in both Research Centers. Musical scores were transferred to the Music Division and can be accessed in the Performing Arts Reading Room.
The Library of Congress began collecting motion pictures in 1893 when Thomas Edison and his brilliant assistant W.K.L. Dickson deposited the Edison Kinetoscopic Records for copyright. However, because of the difficulty of safely storing the flammable nitrate film used at the time, the Library retained only the descriptive material relating to motion pictures. In 1942, recognizing the importance of motion pictures and the need to preserve them as a historical record, the Library began the collection of the films themselves; from 1949 on these included films made for television. Today the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) is responsible for the acquisition, cataloging and preservation of the Library's motion picture and television collections.
The Recorded Sound Research Center provides access to the commercial and archival audio holdings of the Library of Congress. The collection dates from 1926 when Victor Records donated over 400 discs to the Library's Music Division to supplement its print and manuscript holdings. In the custody of the Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division since 1978, the collection has grown to include over 2 million items encompassing audio formats from cylinders to CDs.