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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch AA128

Division of Audio Visual Education records


The records span the years 1945 to 1971 and document the department’s efforts to both contribute to a better understanding of the usefulness of visual aids in teaching and establish a film archive to complement its pioneering case method teaching.


  • 1945-1971

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.


7.5 linear feet (15 boxes)
The Division of Audio Visual Education Records span the years 1945 to 1969 and document the department’s efforts to both contribute to a better understanding of the usefulness of visual aids in teaching and establish a film archive to complement its pioneering case method teaching. Materials in the collection include correspondence, memoranda, and questionnaires related to its various research projects, film reviews, invoices for renting and borrowing commercial films, annual departmental reports and scripts for various filmed cases. Also included are brochures and purchase orders for film and lighting equipment and photographs and order forms from various HBS seminars. Of particular interest are the scripts, class notes, and papers submitted by Samuel Zanghi as partial fulfillment of a Master of Science degree from Boston University. Samuel Zanghi was the Production Manager for several of the HBS filmed cases.

Historical Note

In 1946 the Graduate School of Business Administration proposed and received funding for an audio-visual aids research program under the direction of Professor J. Sterling Livingston. The purpose of the program was to “examine and appraise the use of audio-visual aids in industry in order to determine how these aids can be used more effectively in business administration and training.” The plan of action included establishing a visual aid center, examining trade publications, sending questionnaires to the producers of audiovisual aids to assist research, visiting industrial film producers to study their production techniques and costs, and working with the School's faculty to test the audiovisual aids in the classrooms and to develop teaching techniques for their use.

Over the course of several years, the film research department surveyed approximately 900 films in order to find the estimated 130 it made use of in its classes. Concurrently the department researched a variety of topics including film distribution, use of audiovisual equipment in retail stores and other industries, and the production and use of business-sponsored films. In the early 1950s, the film research department found that it lacked a “well-defined integration with the educational arm of the Business School” and proposed possible solutions to the question of its future organization, including building a library of business films that would be of use to other institutions throughout the country, researching the possibility of filming likely case material, and finally pressing for the establishment of a film center that would serve all of Harvard University. Over the course of the next decade, George W. Gibson (who was hired in 1953 to reorganize and direct the newly named Division of Audio Visual Education), alongside Samuel S. Zanghi and other staff members experimented with commercial films that were edited into filmed cases and undertook the production of specially designed filmed cases as well. Filmed cases produced by the Division of Audio Visual Education includes Merrill, Vine Brothers, and Athena Electronics.

During the 1960s the department continued renting films for classes but it also expanded its operations to include recording and photographing seminars and events at Harvard Business School.

Physical Location



The Division of Audio Visual Education records (AA128.6) were transferred to Baker Library Special Collections in 2003. Materials with unknown provenance (AA128, AA128.5) were later added to the collection. The collection was merged in 2015 with a single call number Arch AA128.

Related Material:

Industrial Film Collection, circa 1940s-1980s

Processing Information

Processed: December 2015

By: Mary Samouelian
Link to catalog
Division of Audio Visual Education. Division of Audio Visual Education Records, 1945-1971: A Finding Aid
Baker Library

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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