This blog showcases treasures of the SHSU Special Collections, Digital Collections, and University Archives at Sam Houston State University. We will provide a peek into the wonderful materials in our holdings as well as useful finding aids to collections from SHSU Special Collections and SHSU Archives.

About the Author

Barbara Kievit-Mason

Standing by the Reynolds/Farris cabin on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

Barbara has worked for the Newton Gresham Library for 22 years, 20 of those years as the University Archivist/Library Associate. Barbara is a graduate of Amarillo College, member of the National Scholars Honor Society and  2005 SHSU Sammy Award winner.  Her current hobbies include genealogy, reading, playing with her granddaughter, and Words with Friends.


Recent Posts

Mystery Film Box and the Institute of Contemporary Corrections and the Behavioral Sciences, 1968


Los Alamos Label 1968

The SHSU University Archives is currently processing nearly 3,000 pieces of older format audio-visual materials received from the Criminal Justice Media Center which included fifty-one 16mm motion picture films.

Within these fifty-one motion pictures we discovered three empty film boxes. The film box pictured above, (post marked December 27, 1968) caught our eye here in the Archives because of the return address combination of Los Alamos Research Labs in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This box came originally from the Los Alamos Scientific Labs Library and was probably sent to MIT many times. Note the multiple stickers from both places.

Seeing this label presented an intriguing mystery. What happened to the film that was in the box, what was the title and content of the film, was the film something top-secret, and how did the empty box end up here in the older Criminal Justice audio-visual materials. So far we have found no documentation to explain the empty case.

The answer to this mystery is likely much simpler. Back before VHS, digital streaming, or Red Box, there was 16mm films and services that rented out motion pictures films across the country. Generally educational in nature, you would request a certain film, view it and sent it back and then the service would send it out again to the next requester.

So the mystery box may not be a mystery at all. (Or is it?)

Come visit the empty film box or tour the SHSU University Archives. We are open Monday through Friday, 8-5.

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