Scope and Content Note

This series is arranged in four topical subseries: advertising, censor groups, censorship in general, and categories of films. Files contain correspondence, memoranda, newspaper and magazine clippings, photograph negatives, copies of court opinions, film industry publications, copies of printed reports and minutes of film conferences, copies of legislative bills regarding censorship (foreign, domestic, and New York State), press releases of motion picture associations and unions, annual reports of other state censorship boards and motion picture associations, and decisions and opinions of other state movie censorship boards.

These records were apparently generated by the Motion Picture Division in order to gather background data on the activities of other censorship boards on questionable films, on court opinions regarding freedom of expression, about various motion picture associations and unions that advocated freedom from censorship, and other subjects dealing with film censorship. The files contain records that document the Division's approach to sensitive film topics, such as burlesque, liquor, religion, sex, communism, crime, narcotics, prostitution, and birth control. In order to facilitate decisions on these questions the Division frequently corresponded with other censorship bodies asking what determinations were made on certain films or requesting an opinion on a specific issue. A large portion of this series consists of files that were established for each of these censorship bodies.