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John Shaw Billings film collection

Identifier: COD0000018

This collections consists of 306 color and black and white 16mm films (both silent and sound). Contains copies of the series "The March of Time" newsreels, as well as "Crusade in Europe," and other film series made by Time Magazine. The home movies of John Shaw Billings are also included.


  • 1930-1950



This collection has been processed. Materials are available upon request.

For more information contact curator Lydia Pappas at

Copyright and Use

Home movies copyright University of South Carolina. All rights reserved. Other materials may be protected by copyright.


8,876 feet of film

65 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

John Shaw Billings (1891–1975), was the first managing editor of Life magazine. Billings began working for Time in the 1930s before becoming the first editor of Life. After World War II, he was named editor-in-chief of Time-Life. He retired in the 1950s.

Billings’s family, the Hammonds, originally came from South Carolina, and he maintained close ties with South Carolina throughout his life. In the 1930s, he bought and restored the Hammond family’s Savannah River home “Redcliffe.” The University Libraries' Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) has home movies recording the restoration. Billings’s grandfather (also John Shaw Billings) served as a medical doctor in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. After the war, he established an Army medical library with the first modern bibliographical system for medical knowledge. He later became one of the best-known, early 20th-century librarians as director of the New York Public Library.

Physical Location

Moving Image Research Collections. 707 Catawba St. Columbia, SC 29208.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by John Shaw Billings.

Related Materials

Billings’ own papers, as well as those of his ancestor, Senator James Henry Hammond (1807-1864), were given to the South Caroliniana Library. The Billings papers include diaries that chart the political influence of Henry Luce (founder of Time and Life) during World War II.

The Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections received items from the Redcliffe library including Billings’ own books and some from the Hammond family, pictures, memorabilia, and Billings’ desk. A noteworthy item is a photo from Billings’ retirement party with about 50 signatures of Time-Life staff who had worked with him over the years.

Repository Details

Part of the Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) Repository

707 Catawba Street
Columbia SC 29208

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