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A Window Into History: Home Movie Collections in the Audio Visual Archives

Home movies are one of the most valuable components of the Audio Visual Archives in Special Collections at J. Willard Marriott Library. Whether on 8mm film or VHS or another format, these films give the viewer rare access to unguarded moments in the lives of everyday people. The home movie collections in the archives are primarily regional, and provide glimpses into the moments Utahans deemed important enough to document, including family vacations, birthday parties, parades, and holidays. Through these films, we can witness the changing nature of tourism to the natural parks, the evolution of ski sports, the building of dams like the Glen Canyon dam, amongst other compelling historical footage.

The Audio Visual Archives has recently uploaded a new collection of home videos to the Marriott Library Digital Library. This collection was gifted to the archives from Marvin Melville, a prominent figure in the U.S. ski community. Melville started skiing at the age of 10 in 1945; he and his father, Alton, learned to ski together, and Marvin quickly took to the sport, competing in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. In 1959, Melville became the NCAA champion in downhill, slalom, and combined ski events. He coached both the University of Utah Ski Team and the 1964 Olympic Women’s Ski Team. Marvin Melville’s collection, as well as that of his father, Alton Crane Melville, are a part of the Utah Ski Archives. Marvin Melville’s collection spans the years from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, and features several fascinating, and rarely documented, events such Miss Sandy, East Millcreek, and Dimple Dell parades.

This collection is located online in the digital library. For further reading, take a look at this oral history interview conducted with Marvin Melville. Visitors are always welcome to come up and view it in the Special Collections Reading Room from 8am-6pm Monday through Friday or 10am-5pm on Saturday.

Written by Jessica Breiman



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