When a Ken Burns film on PBS ends and the credits roll, I enjoy seeing which names listed as archival sources also contribute collection descriptions to ArchiveGrid. Hopefully ArchiveGrid will help scholars find archival footage for a future Emmy-winning Burns work about American history. In the meantime, we’re paying tribute to our favorite documentary filmmaker’s 61st birthday today by highlighting 10 records in ArchiveGrid describing collections with materials about Burns’ career:
1. In the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there are around 4,900 items in the archives of Burns’ production company, Florentine Films.
2. A script draft at the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the series “Baseball” also includes the music log sheets.
3. An interview on videocassette with Burns was recorded in 1998 as part of a television history collection project at Syracuse University.
4. After the series “The War” came out, Burns gave a presentation at the University of North Florida about his research interests and goals for the film. The DVD recording is in the school’s special collections.
5. Burns also gave a lecture at Brown University and a file for that occasion is in the school’s special events department archives.
6. Thirty-eight boxes in the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming include the client files of Gerard F. McCauley, a literary agent who represented Burns.
7. Here is a collection at the Library of Virginia of the Charles McDowell papers. His career in news reporting landed him spots on PBS shows, most notably as a panelist on “Washington Week in Review” for 18 years. McDowell provided voice-overs for Burns’ “The Civil War” and “Baseball.”
8. Papers of another name related to “The Civil War” are at Stanford University. Don Edward Fehrenbacher was a historian, writer, professor, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and he was a consultant on the film.
9. The papers at the Rhode Island Historical Society of Maj. Sullivan Ballou, a Woonsocket lawyer and Civil War solder, include a letter he wrote to his wife shortly before dying from wounds. Dated July 14, 1861, it is known as one of the most stirring letters written during the war and Burns featured it in “The Civil War.”
10. Sports history is documented in the papers of Peter Levine, a historian and retired Michigan State University professor. He was a consultant for “Baseball.”