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Croatia and the Croatian Collections in the Library of Congress

Motion Pictures and Recorded Sound

Selection of Croatian publications in the fields of broadcasting, cinema, and television. Library of Congress General Collections

A survey of the Croatian collections in the Library of Congress would not be complete without some mention of audio-visual format materials. Two reading rooms provide access to recordings, fiction and non-fiction films and TV programs from or related to Croatia: the Moving Image Research Center and the Recorded Sound Research Center. Each research center is the primary point of contact for materials in their respective formats, especially given that some of the materials in audio-visual formats are not fully cataloged and findable via the Library of Congress online catalog.

Moving Image Research Center

The Moving Image Resource Center holds a number of interesting items related to Croatia, including a collection of animated films produced by Zagreb Film External, a film studio established in 1953. The animated films in the Library's collection were produced from 1957-1989. In the collection are 10 episodes of the TV series Professor Balthazar, about a kindly professor who helps solve problems with magical inventions, such as Victor's Egg-o-Matic [Viktorov jajomat], Of Mouse and Ben [O Mišu i Satovima], and Arts and Flowers [Rodjendanska priča]. Besides the Professor Balthazar episodes, other animated films in the collection from Zagreb Film include the classic Cowboy Jimmy (1957) by Dušan Vukotić and A Visit from Space (Posjet iz svemira) by Zlatko Grgić (1964).

Outside of animation, the Croatian film collection is not strong, holding only selected notable works such as Halima’s path (Halimin put) (2012) about a Bosnian Muslim woman trying to find her son's body after the war, and a documentary on the Bleiburg tragedy, the repatriation after World War II of Croatian civilians and unarmed former soldiers by the British to Tito-controlled Yugoslavia, where many of them were executed. Historical footage is more prevalent with materials from the collection of German World War II newsreels, a 1921 film Il Paradiso nell'ombra delle spade--Fiume d'Italia durante l'occupazione dei legionari with footage of soldiers, civilians, and political figures recounting from the Italian point of view the conflict over Fiume (Rijeka) and Gabriele D'Annunzio's role in the events, and even a CBS broadcast with Mike Wallace called Death of Yugoslavia.

As with all other kinds of materials from Croatia described in this guide, it will also be beneficial to search for materials under subject headings related to Yugoslavia, not just Croatia. For example, the Library also holds documentaries about the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s such as Roots of the Yugoslav Civil War and Memories do not burn. All of the materials in this collection must be used onsite.

About the Moving Image Research Center

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.

Recorded Sound Research Center

Sound recordings of Croatian music are held by the Recorded Sound Research Center. Hundreds of titles from Croatia or with a Yugoslav connection can be found in the Library of Congress online catalog by conducting a search limiting the results to the location of Recorded Sound. One collection strength is Croatian and Dalmatian folk music with many examples of both instrumental and choral music such as recordings by Radio Pula music editor Renato Pernić. Croatian classical music also is well-represented with recordings, for instance, by the Zagreb Quartet and by the composer Božidar Kunc. An example of recordings of great European operatic or classical works by Croatian musicians is the Rimsky-Korsakov opera Sadko performed by the National Opera in Zagreb.

Another area of interest are recordings of sacred music and chants such as La vision de Tondal and Dalmatica, from oral to written transmission. Many of the recordings in the collection from Croatia were produced by Jugoton, the recording studio established in 1947 in Zagreb, although the Library has not collected many records of its successor Croatia Records. Examples of the Jugoton recordings in the Library's collection are Milo more moje, a collection of Dalmatian songs sung by various Croatian artists, and U kamenu pjesma piše by the popular composer Stjepan Mihaljinec. Croatian pop and rock music are not covered in the collection to the same extent as folk, sacred, and classical music.

Lastly, the Recorded Sound Research Center holds recordings associated with books, regardless of subject. For example, a dictionary of the Hvar dialect was accompanied by a CD with readings of five stories in the spoken word of the dialect. The 12th-century Gospel lectionary from Trogir known as the Trogirski evanđelistar was reproduced in a two-volume facsimile accompanied by recordings of sacred music performed by performed by the tenor Želimir Pusǩarić, tenor, and bass Marijan Jurišić. All of the materials in the Recorded Sound Research Center must be used onsite.

About the Recorded Sound Research Center

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.