28 April 2010 – The Schlemmer Frame Collection is the property of Edith Schlemmer, the former chief archivist of the Austrian Film Museum. Mrs. Schlemmer had received it in the 1960s as a donation from an anonymous collector, and decided to make it available to the Austrian Film Museum for purposes of research and publication.
This little treasure consists of 2254 frames and fragments of films, mostly silent and mostly from the period between 1910 and 1920, many of which are believed lost. The collection has now been digitized and ordered, with the aim of identifying and cataloging the individual items as well as preserving the original order. At present, 35% of the collection have been identified. The process of research and identification is ongoing and will presumably continue for several years. As a parallel endeavour, a visual database of these beautiful images has been created and can be accessed here.
Although many film archives are in possession of these types of collections, it is the first time that one of them receives such detailed attention from researchers. The aim of the Austrian Film Museum is to make these images accessible to the larger public, to enable everyone to enjoy the colors and photography of early cinema, to constitute a historical resource for archivists and researchers, and to enlarge the debate about open archives and “orphan” collections held in those archives.