Original Research Papers Available from UCSB

This is a constantly building collection of web accessible research papers on various aspects of the people, films and history of the American Film Company housed here at UCSB.


Margarita Fischer, First Lady of the Flying A
Publication: Noticias, Journal of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum
Volume: XXXII, No: 1


Margarita Fischer's experiences with the early moving picture business provide an extensive survey of how the new technology evolved into an industry. Margarita participated in the Flying A during three distinct periods and her story illustrates the working world of a moving picture star.


The American Film Company: 1910-1923
Publication: The Flying A - Silent Film in Santa Barbara, Exhibition Catalog, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 2012


The decade that began in 1910 was a profound one, as the telephone, the automobile, and the airplane all transitioned from curiosity to accepted facts of modern 20th-century life. Home entertainment products like the phonograph became commonplace in parlors across the country, while an avalanche of published sheet music provided an interactive entertainment experience for anyone with access to a piano. It was a technology-mad era and the pace of modern living was unlike anything that had come before.

Nothing summed up these changes better than the moving picture. Merely fifteen years old, this newest member of the arts had entered its adolescence— awkward, enthusiastic, and changing dynamically with each coming year. The scientific minds that had given birth to the movies were being replaced by those with a more commercial, mass-production way of thinking. The film “industry” had begun, and Santa Barbara would play her part.


Reclaiming "Lost Films"
Publication: The Moving Image, University of Minnesota Press, Volume: 16, No: 1


This essay offers a close analysis of an innovative and ongoing project aimed at archiving materials related to the American Film Company (AFC), an important silent-era studio that until recently has largely been obscured in the historical record. Our focus is on the studio's holdings in the Paper Print Fragment collection at the Library of Congress. Unlike the complete paper print records, the lesser-known fragment collection consists of paper rolls on which at least one frame from every scene of a given film was contact printed to register that film for copyright. The Library of Congress holds approximately four hundred AFC paper print fragments. By analyzing several of the AFC's fragments, we demonstrate the value of the collection to mapping part of early film history. We also place the studio's fragments in the context of a larger effort to digitize the collection and to build a website that provides researchers, students, and the public with access to a wide range of archival materials related to the AFC and the early cinema culture of which it was a part.

Additional Archival Resources

There are a number of archives that house manuscripts, photographs and various forms of American Film Company films. Click these links to get information on how to contact these organizations.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Academy's Margaret Herrick Library holds both manuscript and photographic records related to the American Film Company and various people who worked there. It has yet to be determined if the film archives hold any prints.

8949 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills,CA 90211

British FIlm Institute

It may surprise some to find that the BFI would hold the second largest collection of Flying A films. Not so surprising when one realizes that the London office handled most all distribution outside of North America. 35mm viewing copies are available for a fee. Be sure to arrange ahead of the time of your visit since the films must come in from offsite and also be prepared for flatbed viewings

21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN England

Chicago Historical Museum

The CHM has two collections related to the Flying A, manuscripts and photos. They actually come from the same original files which have been broken up to conform to the library's system of inventory. The most significant portion of the collection is a film by film set of files representing roughly 25% of American's titles, both shorts and features. Photos, contracts, scenarios and other materials are included. These records were saved by John Freuler's daughter when the entire company records were being dumped, bless her. Unfortunately, we assume, the rest of the files were burned.

Clark Street at North Avenue
Chicago,IL 60614-6071

George Eastman House

The GEH provides screening access to their limited collection of Flying A prints. A fee is charged and it is important to arrange far ahead of any planned visit. Not all of the collection has viewing copies

900 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14607 900 East Avenue
Rochester,NY 14607

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress holds a significant amount of American Film Company material including paper "fragments" (selected 35mm frames sent for copyright protection) and a limited number of 35mm film prints available for viewing by appointment.
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington,DC 20540

Santa Barbara Historical Museum

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum's Gledhill Library holds a wealth of original photographic prints related to the American Film Company. The museum also contains one of the cameras used to produce Flying A films.
136 East De La Guerra St.
Santa Barbara,CA 93101

L.A. County Museum of Natural History

The LACMNH's Seaver Library is a very useful research library for topics of related to Southern California and the West. Materials directly related to the American Film Company have yet to be discovered but many items are yet to be cataloged and there's always hope!

Exposition Park
Los Angeles,CA

Smithsonian Institution


UCLA Film and Television Archive

The archives hold a limited number of American Film Company prints. Perhaps the most significant is the recently restored Mary Miles Minter production "Peggy Leads the Way."

Wichita State University Libraries

Department of Special Collections
Wichita,KS 67260-0068