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Marion Stokes and a Collection Connection

By Henry Handley and Kayla Harris

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, UD students can take part in an AVIATE activity — a film screening of the documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, in connection with the exhibit A Living Library. Registration through 1850 is available for up to 25 students, though the program may be offered again if students express interest.

Student participants will earn PATH credit for engaging with a selection of clips from the documentary, screened in Room 240 in Roesch Library from 6 to 7 p.m. The film covers the life, activism and collection of Marion Stokes, who began recording American television in 1979 and continued doing so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through 2012. The screening and discussion will focus on the meaning of collecting, recording and preserving media for Stokes, for UD libraries and special collections, and for participants.

All current UD students, faculty and staff have access to the full documentary, which the Marian Library and University of Dayton Libraries licensed via Kanopy.

Recorder was selected for the Tribeca Festival and was a New York Times Critics Pick in 2019, but it is especially important to the Marian Library for its connection to the collections. In addition to being an activist, collector and creator of records in her own right, Marion Stokes was married to John Stokes Jr., who founded the Mary’s Gardens movement; the Marian Library received his archival collection on the topic in 2013. That same year, Marion Stokes’ collection of 70,000 videotapes, representing 33 years of recording television news around the clock, was given to the Internet Archive.

You can read more about the documentary in a previous Marian Library blog post; explore the John Stokes Jr. collection online in eCommons; and discover other new acquisitions — and the influence of John and Marion Stokes — in the exhibit A Living Library, open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Oct. 28 in the Marian Library Gallery and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, for UD’s Family Weekend.

— Henry Handley is an assistant professor and collections librarian in the Marian Library. Kayla Harris is an associate professor and assistant director of the Marian Library.

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