Home » Fall 2009 » Gift from Hugh M. Hefner Foundation to Preserve Historical Stag Films

Gift from Hugh M. Hefner Foundation to Preserve Historical Stag Films

Thanks to a generous gift of $30,000 from the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, The Kinsey Institute is beginning the task of restoring and converting selections of the unique historical Stag Films Collection to digital mode.

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Few stag films had movie posters to accompany the 'underground' sales.

The Kinsey Institute Stag Films Collection dates from the 1910s through the1960s, and includes 1,700 8mm and 16mm black and white films. Also known as “blue movies,” these are the earliest underground film productions in the United States with explicit sexual content - rare films that document American cultural dimensions including sexual and gender expressions, race and ethnicity, languages, and humor. Many of The Kinsey Institute’s stag films are the only surviving copies or the only copies that have been retained and in the custody of a research library over an extended period of time.

Because of their age, some of these short, silent films are in danger of decay and are so fragile that they cannot be viewed in their present, original form. This donation will assist the library in a four-year preservation and digitization project, protecting the collection and making these historical examples of early erotica available and accessible to the public, to scholars, and to students.

The Kinsey Institute is grateful to Mr. Hefner and to the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation for recognizing the unique, historical value of the Stag Films Collection.

Matthew Pakula, Director of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation commented,

“Many years ago, Mr. Hefner donated approximately 200 stag films to the Institute precisely so they could be preserved and made available for study.  We are pleased to make this commitment so that the Institute’s work to restore and digitize these films can continue.”

Because of this gift, we are ensuring that this collection will be available for scholarly inquiry for decades to come.

If you are interested in contributing to the preservation and digitization effort of the Kinsey Institute Library, please contact Kinsey Librarian Liana Zhou at zhoul@indiana.edu.

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