Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Motion Picture and Television Reading Room (Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division)
  Home >> Reading Room >> Guides & Finding Aids >> Gitt Collection
Find in

The Robert R. Gitt Collection of Television Commercials At the Library of Congress

Compiled by Karen C. Lund
Jump to: Introduction | Information on Using This Guide | Suggested Reading


The Robert R. Gitt Collection of television commercials consists of 362 different commercials made during the early 1970's. The collection also contains 7 public service announcements from the American Dairy Association.

The commercials in the Gitt Collection offer a comprehensive look at the consumer society in the U.S. during the early 1970's. A wide variety of goods including personal and cosmetic products, automobiles, foods, and medications are advertised. Almost a quarter of the commercials in the collection advertise toys, games or dolls, thus showing the large market for children's items. These commercials also offer the opportunity to see famous faces, as when a commercial would feature a famous spokesperson. This information has been identified in the note area for each entry. Occasionally, a performer appeared in a commercial before he or she became famous. When such an instance has been identified, it is listed in the note area as "[Actor's name] appears."

These commercials, as with other films and videotapes in the Library's collections, are not available for loan, but may be viewed at the Library by researchers by advance appointment. For further information, consult GUIDELINES FOR VIEWING FILMS AND VIDEOTAPES or contact: Reference Librarian; Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division; Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540; telephone: (202) 707-8572; fax: (202) 707-2371.

Copying of the films and videocassettes in the Library's collections depends on copyright and donor restrictions. For more information, consult GUIDELINES FOR REQUESTS TO COPY FILM AND VIDEOTAPES or contact: Public Service Office; Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division; Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540; telephone: (202) 707-5623 or -0246; fax: (202) 707-2371.

The Library of Congress also has other television commercials in its collections. Many are listed in the older manual card files. They are listed under the name of the sponsor and are not brought together as a genre.

Since about 1987, commercials have been cataloged on the Library's MUMS computer system. On MUMS, commercials are listed with the generic term "television commercial" followed by the sponsor and commercial title, if known. MUMS can be accessed by computer in a variety of ways. It is available through the Library of Congress Information System at the following Telnet addresses: LOCIS.LOC.GOV or It is also available through the LC Marvel Campus-Wide Information System when the following series of headings are chosen in order:

  1. Library of Congress Online Systems
  2. **** Connect to LOCIS (Public Users--No Password Needed)
  3. Library of Congress Catalog (Option 1 under LOCIS: Library of Congress Information System)
  4. Select Any One of Choices 1, 3, 4, or 5

Once users have entered any one of the last four choices, they can start searching MUMS for television commercials.*

In addition, several finding aids list television commercial collections at the Library and are available from the reference librarian in the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room. These include the Karr Collection, the Karr Collection of Public Service Announcements, and the Dartmouth College Collection. These are accessible via Internet through the LC Marvel Campus- Wide Information System.

*Thanks to Stephen Kharfen for providing the information on accessing the on- line systems.

Top of Page

Information on Using This Guide

The title listed for each commercial was taken from information written on the film box or on the film itself. Where there was no title written on the film, a title was supplied for it, and this is indicated in the entry. The brand name listed has been taken from the product as shown on screen in most cases.

For most of these films, additional information, such as production numbers or other titles, was written on the film. This information has been put into the note area. The absence of notes indicates that there was nothing written on the film or film box. Pertinent information, such as whether a commercial is animated and if a spokesperson or famous person appears, can also be found in the note area.

Some of the commercials have additional copies available. This is listed in the entry for each commercial. Additional copies of any commercial can be assumed to be the same as copy 1 if no notes indicate other information.

The format for each entry in the guide is as follows:

Product / Company

      Title of commercial                                   Shelf no.
      Physical information about the reel
      Product type
      Supplied title (when applicable)
      Notes:  whether it is animated, if it features a spokesperson or if a
      famous person appears, pertinent information about the commercial,
      production numbers and information written on the film, whether it is on
      a reel with other commercials
      Copy 2:  shelf no., followed by notes pertaining to copy 2 (if there are
      no notes, it can be assumed that there is no difference between copy 1
      and copy 2); other copies
Top of Page

Suggested Reading on Television Commercials

COMMERCIALS.  New York: Harmony Books, 1984.

Himmelstein, Hal.  "Advertising:  The Medium is the Mirage," in TELEVISION
MYTH AND THE AMERICAN MIND.  New York:  Praeger Publishers, 1984.

TV COMMERCIALS.  Baja California:  The Stephens Press, 1980.

Price, Jonathan.  THE BEST THING ON TV:  COMMERCIALS.  New York:  The Viking
Press, 1978.

MASS MEDIA.  New York:   Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1979.
Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Reading Room >> Guides & Finding Aids >> Gitt Collection
Find in
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  August 31, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian