Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive

The Written Word

15 episodes, 1957, Department of Cinema, University of Southern California

From WNET:

"This long-awaited series featuring Dr. Frank Barter tells the story of human records from primitive marks and pictographs to the coming of modern machine methods of printing after 1800. Using pictures, charts, maps, blackboard, and many models and demonstrations, the program tells the story of our alphabet from its Proto-Semitic beginnings to important families of modern typefaces. Attention is given to cuneiform writing and to the many varieties of writing of the Egyptians. The basic writing substances of the western world (clay, papyrus, parchment and paper) are all discussed and actual demonstrations show the making of a clay brick and the manufacture of sheets of papyrus and paper. Dr. Baxter demonstrates the art of block printing, and on a model of an early press prints a small four-page folio book. Most of the models, drawings, and visual materials used on these programs are the work of the lecturer. Original manuscript and printed leaves and books are displayed and commented on. Dr. Baxter feels that this brief series constitutes an interesting introduction to the history of the written and printed word. A bibliography prepared by Dr. Baxter will be available for distribution."