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Bob Hope at the Library of Congress

Using the Collection

Film and television materials in the Bob Hope Collection can be viewed in the Moving Image Research Center. Audio materials and the manuscript materials described in the Finding Aid are available for research in the Recorded Sound Research Center. An internal database of Hope's Joke File can be accessed in both research centers. Read on to learn more about conducting research in our facilities.

Searching the Collections

Moving image and recorded sound items can be found in a few places throughout the Library's public catalogs, as well as in databases and resources that are only available on-site in the Research Centers. Be sure to get in touch with the moving image and recorded sound reference librarians as you search our collections - they are always happy to help locate materials!

NOTE: Contacting the reference staff is especially crucial for the Library's audiovisual materials, as a portion of these items are only searchable in on-site resources. (See below for more information.)

In the Research Centers

Bob Hope's Joke File has been scanned into an internal database that is only available in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers. If you aren't able to come to the Research Centers, reference librarians are can search for specific jokes and content for you.

Other resources available in the Research Centers include reference books, subscription databases, subject files, collection inventories, manuscript materials and program information from the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), filmographies, discographies, and an internal database called MAVIS. MAVIS contains catalog records for even more of our film, television, and recorded sound collections, and is only available on-site because it doesn't have a public interface. Many of the audiovisual items in the Bob Hope Collection are cataloged in MAVIS, so get in touch with reference librarians in Moving Image or Recorded Sound if you don't find what you're looking for in the Library's Online Catalog or in SONIC.

Search Strategies

  • Start with the Online Catalog. Advanced Search is the easiest way to get to moving image and recorded sound holdings. If you're searching for film or television, add movingim in a second keyword search box. If you're looking for recorded sound, add recording in the second box. This will limit your results to only these types of materials.
  • SONIC is a good place to search for radio broadcasts.
  • While both of the catalogs above offer some subject access, it is usually more effective to search by title, date, or name
  • Many performers are not listed in our records for radio broadcasts, and while it is always worth trying to search a performer's name, the specific program title and a dateare often more useful for locating broadcasts. Often news broadcasts have very generic titles and our cataloging rarely includes information about the specific stories covered on a broadcast for a given day.
  • In SONIC, form and genre terms may assist you when searching by subject. See our guide to those terms at the link below.
  • Form/Genre Term Guide
  • The Moving Image Section has several published collection catalogs. Three Decades of Television, the fourth guide listed here, will be of particular use for those researching Bob Hope's television career. Full-text copies of the four published catalogs can be found on the Hathi Trust Digital Library:
    • Early Motion Pictures: The Paper Print Collection in the Library of Congress by Kemp Niver (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1985). Describes approximately 3,000 films made between 1894 and 1915. Some libraries may only have the previous edition: Motion Pictures from the Library of Congress Paper Print Collection, 1894-1912 (Berkeley: University of California Press,1967). Full-Text External
    • The George Kleine Collection of Early Motion Pictures in the Library of Congress: A Catalog (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1980). Describes 456 motion pictures produced between 1898 and 1926. Full-Text External
    • The Theodore Roosevelt Association Film Collection: A Catalog (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1986). Describes 318 films relating to the life and career of Theodore Roosevelt. Full-Text External
    • Three Decades of Television: A Catalog of Television Programs Acquired by the Library of Congress 1949-1979, compiled by Sarah Rouse and Katharine Loughney. (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1989). This catalog cites over 14,000 broadcasts acquired between 1949-1979. Programs include series, serials, tele-features, specials and documentaries; daytime and prime-time programs; local, network, DuMont, and syndicated broadcasts; and educational material. Full-Text External
  • Get in touch! If you can't find a film or broadcast in the online catalog, that doesn't mean we don't have it. The Library has several onsite indexes, card catalogs, and internal databases that are not searchable online. Reference librarians in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers are always happy to help locate materials. Use the Ask-a-Librarian links in this Guide, or see additional contact information in the links below.
    - Researching Library of Congress Moving Image Holdings
    - Conducting Research in the Library's Recorded Sound Collections

Viewing & Listening Procedures

Photograph from The Road to Morocco in 1940. Bob Hope Collection, Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division.

To view or listen to materials, submit a request to our reference librarians.

When submitting viewing requests, please provide the title, call number, and date of the item. Names associated with the item, such as director/creator or performers, are also helpful. Call numbers will be a combination of capital letters and numbers, and will vary depending on the format of the item and the collection it is in (e.g. VBG 3214; FCA 4414-4416, LWO 5599 gr12 r2a1-3b, NCPB 5434, Decca 12-1401).

For recordings, album notes and jackets may also be requested.

Viewing Appointments

Appointments for viewing film prints and video copies should be made as far in advance as possible to guarantee that requests can be fulfilled, with a minimum of ten days advance notice. A six-week lead time will guarantee that all but the most irreparably damaged items can be made accessible. Less advance notice curtails staff time to inspect requested items and deliver them to the Moving Image Research Center from off-site storage. Viewers can call the Research Center at 202-707-8572 or submit requests through Ask A Librarian.

Although advance notice is not needed for items that have been digitized, a reservation is recommended to guarantee equipment availability. If an appointment needs to be canceled or rescheduled, please contact the reference staff as soon as possible. Cancelation without sufficient notice can prevent others from having access to the facilities.

Listening Appointments

Appointments are required for listening to most of the material in our collection. Recordings do not circulate. Listeners can telephone the Research Center at (202) 707-7833 or submit requests through Ask a Librarian.

A growing number of our recordings have been digitized and are available for listening on demand. All others will take at least two weeks for our engineers to digitize for your listening appointment. Special arrangements are required for requests of more than five items at one time. Certain audio formats will require more time to digitize and will necessitate a longer wait. Please contact the Research Center as soon as possible with large requests or to identify previously digitized recordings.


Recording equipment of any type is not allowed. Photographing images from the screen for reference purposes will be permitted only when authorized in advance by our reference staff.

Reader Identification Card

Each user of the Library's research areas, including the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Research Centers, is required to have a Reader Identification Card issued by the Library.