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An Internship of Discovery with Arthur Kleiner

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Arthur Kleiner photograph.jpgBy Heidi Anderson-Ferdinand, Intern in Special Collections and Rare Books

Working as an intern in Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts I get the unalloyed pleasure of opening box after box, folder after folder, and working my way through the contents. You might think that when you read through material in an archive you are walking among ghosts, but I find that I feel like the ghost, watching from behind the curtain as the players move across the stage. I listen in to conversations written across a page, look into the faces and places in photographs that held meaning for the subject of the archive, read newspaper articles that refer to performances or awards. It is an autobiography in raw material and can feel surprisingly intimate.

Anna Pavlova photograph.jpgThroughout the spring I worked on the Arthur Kleiner collection. Each day would bring a new discovery; correspondence between Mr. Kleiner and composers and film historians from around the world, photographs and postcards, reading room tickets from London, pages of research material for a book on music composed for films. There were many surprises waiting in the wings, like the day I opened a folder and found a stack of glossy photographs ... Anna Pavlova! Nijinski! Especially interesting were the letters to Arthur Kleiner from film historian/film maker Jay Leyden. Together these two gentlemen tracked down leads in a search for the missing (complete) version of Miesel's film score for Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. Any student of early cinema would be interested in reading this collection of letters.

 

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