75 historic recordings to be digitized by California Audiovisual Preservation Project

History San José is pleased to announce that the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) has selected 75 audiovisual recordings from HSJ’s collection to digitize as part of the CAVPP’s ongoing grant-funded mission to digitize, provide online access, and preserve historic California audiovisual recordings. Recordings selected for this round include KNTV Channel 11 news films from September-December 1979; original interviews conducted by Professor Mike Adams on the history of radio broadcasting in San José; and talks by engineering and physics pioneers Dr. Leonard Fuller and Dr. Wolfgang Panofsky. To date, the CAVPP has digitized over 140 recordings from HSJ’s collection; all are available for public access through the Internet Archive.

Thanks to HSJ’s ongoing partnership with the CAVPP, we have been able to increase access to the KNTV Channel 11 News Archive (1965-1980). In this broadcast from March 29, 1966, view the demolition of the old Los Gatos Town Hall in Reel 1, and in Reel 2 hear aviator Jerrie Mock plan her attempt at breaking the female distance record:

Find out more about the KNTV Channel 11 News Archive.
Learn more about History San José’s Collection.

About the CAVPP

The California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP) gathers best archival practices for moving image and sound preservation and establishes low-cost, practical standards to help collecting organizations move from the analog age to the digital age. Online access is provided by the Internet Archive for teaching, research and study. Storage of files for long-term preservation is provided by the CAVPP. Project funding has been received from the California State Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). For more information, visit http://calpreservation.org/projects/audiovisual-preservation/.

The KNTV Channel 11 News Archive at History San José

In 1983, 119 boxes of approximately 4,700 local news film (16mm) reels, shot between 1965 and 1980, were donated to the San José Historical Museum by the controller of local station KNTV Channel 11. The films, both silent and with sound, were taken by KNTV cameramen. They include black-and-white and color footage, and are accompanied by newscast scripts and film storage logs.

KNTV began in 1955 as the first independent television station in San José. In 1960, it became an ABC affiliate, but maintained a reputation for strong local news and entertainment programming. Throughout this period, KNTV news continued to focus on local news for the South Bay and an emerging “Silicon Valley,” and Monterey and Salinas–a region distinct from San Francisco-Oakland, or the North Bay. These newsreels cover a significant period of change as the small communities of the South Bay transitioned from a largely agricultural economy and rural-suburban demography to a region-wide, internationally known high-tech center. Coverage of national events–elections, civil rights, the war in Vietnam–also reflect a regional perspective as political debates, student protests, peace marches, and events surrounding local farm worker and tech worker organization were covered.

During newscasts, stories often required at least two film chains (two projectors, synchronized and running simultaneously): the A roll featuring the anchor or reporter in the field, and the B roll, a highly edited silent piece used as background showing the subject as reported. The sound from A roll could continue for the broadcast while the TV image dissolved into the B roll. As a result, in this pre-video tape era, there was no single recording of the show as seen by the television viewer; instead, this is reflected in the written scripts, backed by the relevant film rolls.

A small portion of the films, starting with the first film of October 12, 1965 up to May 23, 1966, have been digitized through the grant-funded California Audiovisual Preservation Project, and are available for viewing at the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/historysanjose). Another round of films dating from September to December 1979 are scheduled to be digitized within the next several months. Unfortunately, films between 1970-1975 were not part of the original donation and are presumably lost to time.

The scripts for each day’s broadcast(s) (in the early years, both early and late news) are sorted by year and date, and provide a quick reference and context to the films. For 1976-1979, scripts are not available, but film logs identify stories and time elapsed on each reel. They are available to the public for research at History San José’s Research Library & Archives. Contact research@historysanjose.org for further information or to make an appointment.

History San José awarded NEH preservation grant

NEH 50th anniversary logoThe National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced on December 14th $21.8 million in grants for 295 humanities projects, including new grants to digitize historical materials held by individuals, give a second life to important out-of-print humanities books, and support public programs on pressing contemporary challenges. History San José’s Research Library & Archives was one of the successful applicants, receiving a Preservation Assistance Grant of $5,980 to preserve and enhance access to Santa Clara Valley’s Built Environment Archive at History San José.

The grant will fund purchase of preservation supplies and environmental monitoring equipment for HSJ’s collection of maps, architectural records, and ephemera. These include blueprints and designs by architects Peter Wuss & Ralph Wyckoff for some of San José’s historic buildings and schools, original designs for San José’s Victorian-era streetlamps, Frontier Village ephemera, and 19th and early 20th century maps of San José and Santa Clara County. HSJ’s overall collection documents the built environment through 50,000+ photographs; more than 5,000 linear feet of municipal records, architectural drawings, reports, business records, and oral histories; and 1,400 maps, dating back to the original founding of the San José Pueblo.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

NEH, an independent federal agency that funds high-quality projects in fields such as history, literature, philosophy, and archaeology, awards grants three times a year for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. This round of grants supports projects that will strengthen the nation’s cultural fabric and identity.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

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