In addition to its moving image holdings, the Spielberg Archive maintains a Documentation Center containing print materials and still photographs relating to Jewish, Israeli and Yiddish film. The collection includes, but is not limited to, titles held as film prints or video copies by the Archive.
Prior to 1988, the Documentation Center consisted of a small number of production files deposited by the producing institutions and sundry relevant press clippings. In 1988, the Archive was bequeathed the collection of David Matis (1906-1988), a Yiddish journalist with a keen interest in Jewish film in its broadest sense. The resource assembled by Matis over more than four decades consisted of about 700 files containing thousands of press clippings, stills and other documents. In the wake of this substantial bequest, the Archive named the Documentation Center in memory of David Matis.
The Collection continues to expand, notably due to ongoing research by Archive staff. Some film veterans have deposited or donated documents relating to their careers. The surviving parts of Norman Lourie's Palestine Films archive, saved thanks to the vigilance of Uri Geffen, the archivist of Moshav Shavei Tzion, are currently in the early stages of processing and will help fill a large gap in the film history of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Archive acquired the collection of Michael Elkins, a well-known local director, scriptwriter and editor. The collection includes film scripts, correspondence and reviews.
The exceptional collection of Murray Rosenberg (1872-1966) was bequeathed to the Spielberg Archive in April 2005 by his nephew Dr. Cyril Levene and his wife Suzie Levene from Jerusalem. In 1911 Rosenberg embarked on a film expedition to Palestine thus producing the earliest Zionist film. Murray Rosenberg's film is recognized as the pioneering work of capturing the Jewish life in Palestine on film. This valuable collection, which includes diaries, miscellaneous documents, and still-photographs, provides abundant information on the film culture of the period.
In 1971, Mrs Ellen Navon, widow of Yosef Navon, bequeathed approximately 50 reels of 16 mm film, the majority in color, to the Archive. In August 2005, his papers were deposited at the Archive. This documentation collection complements the films and it is fitting that both should be preserved in the same Archive. Yosef Navon, was one of the founders of the Geva Film Studios, director, cameraman and sound technician.
In 2000, with the help of a generous grant from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, the Archive scanned the Matis Documentation Collection and uploaded it to an internal database. The Archive has migrated this invaluable material to Artlid, a web-based database. Links to documents in Artlid have been added to a number of selected films in Aleph, the Archive's online catalog.
The Artlid Database is currently not open to public use. Some items are accesible through the catalog online. For other archive items form the Matis collection please contact the archive. We make great efforts in making it accessible online as soon as possible.