The Say Brother Collection
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Say Brother program masters, original footage, paper documentation, and assorted audiovisual materials, as per the specifications of the WGBH Media Archives and Preservation Center's (MAPC) National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant, date from 1968 to 1982. The bulk of the collection is comprised of moving image materials, with audio tapes, photographs, and paper-based documentation supporting both specific programs and Say Brother operations as a whole. Please see the following sections for scope and content information:

Moving Image Materials: Masters
Moving Image Materials: Original Footage
Paper Documentation
Miscellaneous Audio-Visual Materials
Volume Totals

Moving Image Materials: Masters
Although the bulk of programs broadcast between 1968 and 1982 exist today, there is a large gap in programming between 1969 and 1972. These programs were either erased to offset the high cost of 2" videotape (which was used to prepare the WGBH broadcast, or final, program), discarded by productions before the creation of the Media Archives and Preservation Center in 1976, or wrongfully de-accessioned in the 1980s. From an average season of 29 original programs, MAPC holds the following number of masters for the following seasons of Say Brother:

Season 01 (1968/1969) - 6
Season 02 (1969/1970) - 0
Season 03 (1970/1971) - 0
Season 04 (1971/1972) - 0
Season 05 / "200s" (1972/1973) - 14
Season 06 / "300s" (1973/1974) - 29
Season 07 / "400s" (1974/1975) - 28
Say Brother National Edition Programs, "100s" (1975) - 13
Season 08 / "600s" (1975/1976) - 24 + 1 special
Season 09 / "700s" (1976/1977) - 29
Season 10 / "800s" (1977/1978) - 28
Season 11 / "900s" (1978/1979) - 26
Season 12 / "1000s" (1979/1980) - 15

Between 1980 and 1982, only a few Say Brother programs were mastered on two-inch videotape, because most WGBH productions had moved to one-inch tape, the new standard. Thus, for season 13 ( the "1100s"), only one program was reformatted. Finally, although not within the scope of the grant, program 1402 from 1983, "15 Years and Still Counting," was reviewed for inclusion in the project, because many early Say Brother staff members made guest appearances.

Not including the one master that broke during transfer, and two masters that were either incomplete or missing sound or picture in the transferred copy, the total number of masters reviewed was 215.

Moving Image Materials: Original Footage
Original footage for Say Brother programs, such as full-length interviews, takes, still photography, performances, and building exteriors are currently on 3/4-inch cassette and VHS, with content dating from 1968 to 1982. Original footage on VHS is the product of transferring 1/2-inch reel-to-reel videotape to a format that could be readily accessible by the Archives. After transfer, these 1/2-inch reels were discarded. However, due to the high costs associated with transfers, not all 1/2-inch reel-to-reel tapes in the collection were transferred-only those considered to merit permanent retention. Half-inch reel-to-reel videotapes not transferred were either de-accessioned in the summer of 2001 or returned to storage to await transfer at a later date. In only a few cases had original footage on two-inch videotape been transferred to BetaSp. This number has been noted as well.

For the grant project:

101 3/4-inch cassettes were reviewed, with content noted in the Say Brother database.

20 VHS cassettes were reviewed, with content noted in the Say Brother database.

Three Betacam SP cassettes were reviewed, with content noted in the Say Brother database.

Five reference videos, used to prepare content for program 317, "Malcolm X," were also reviewed.

The total number of original footage cassettes reviewed for the grant project was 129. For more specific information, a list of original footage documented as part of the project is available.

Paper Documentation
Roughly 38 cubic feet of paper documentation dating between 1968 and 1982 was reviewed as part of Say Brother project work. After both post-1982 materials and 1.5 cubic feet of magazine covers were returned to the stacks, and duplicative or non-archival papers were disposed of, there remained 8.66 cubic feet of paper documentation related to Say Brother that was arranged and described for permanent retention. To review the contents of paper documentation, please visit our Finding Aid.

Miscellaneous Audio-Visual Materials
Only a limited number of slides, negatives, and prints in the Say Brother Collection were found mixed with paper documentation, as most of the Collection's photographs are currently being housed by WGBH's Design Department. Photographic materials that were processed date from between 1969 to 1981, and total 14 folders (or approximately 0.33 cubic feet). Folders are currently being stored with the 8.66 cubic feet of Say Brother paper documentation (although in isolated folders).

The preservation of sound recordings on 1/4" and 2" audio tape was not within the scope of Say Brother project work, however, most audio reels that correspond to Say Brother programming falling within the scope of the grant are noted in a special list of both original video and audio items. To browse the list of Say Brother sound recordings, visit our list of original footage.

Volume Totals
The entire Say Brother grant collection, including masters, dubs, preservation copies, original footage cassettes, paper documentation, and miscellaneous audiovisual materials that were catalogued, consists of:

265 Two-inch videotapes
234 BetaSP cassettes
169 DigiBeta cassettes
040 D3 cassettes
201 VHS cassettes
004 One-inch videotapes (not including repackaged content transferred to one-inch)
315 3/4-inch videotapes
045 16mm films

283 1/4-inch audio reels
007 two-inch audio reels

8.66 cubic feet of paper documentation

Misc. Photographic
0.33 miscellaneous photographs, negatives and slides

These totals do not account for Say Brother materials currently being stored off-site that fall into the scope of the collection or unidentified videotape known to belong to WGBH's Say Brother series, but not explicitly linked to programs reviewed.

Total number of reels and cassettes documented as part of the grant project: 1,563.

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©2001 WGBH Educational Foundation.