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Dwight M. Cleveland Silent Western Lobby Cards

Identifier: RC2021-012

Scope and Contents

The Dwight M. Cleveland Silent Western Lobby Cards contains an estimated 3,00 lobby cards primarily from the silent film era, ranging from 1912 to 1938. The majority of the collection is originals, though some reprints are included. Both title and scene cards are represented in the collection, and the majority of the films have both types of cards. Many of the films represented in this collection are considered to be "lost," as footage of the film no longer exists. This collection is arranged alphabetically by film title. The number of individual lobby cards for each film is listed in brackets after the title in the box list.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1938


Conditions Governing Access

The Dwight M. Cleveland Silent Western Lobby Cards is currently unavailable for research, due to ongoing processing and digitization. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Dwight M. Cleveland Silent Western Lobby Cards is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Materials, even if owned by the NCWHM, may be protected under third party copyright. It is the patron’s responsibility to research and secure any such additional copyright and pay any required fees or royalties. It is not the intention of the NCWHM to impede upon any third party rights, and the NCWHM cannot be held responsible if the patron is involved in legal action due to violation of third party copyright claims.

Biographical / Historical

Lobby cards were used as a precursor to the modern practice of movie posters in theaters. Most cards are 11" x 14", and consist of a photograph printed on heavier (cardstock) paper, often with hand-tinted color and decorative borders. Lobby cards were often created in a set of 8 for films, though smaller and larger batches were made for films. Sets contained one title card and multiple scene cards. Lobby cards were first created circa 1913, and were printed until the early 1980s for films.

Silent films, such as the films represented by the lobbby cards in this collection, were created until the late 1920s, when 'talkies' were invented. Silent films were not actually shown silently; the films were accompanied by a pianist, theater organist, or a small orchestra. Though this era of film-making was pioneering, many films from this time are considered to be lost. The nitrate film they were created on was extremely unstable and would self-combust if not stored properly. Additionally, with the advent of sound these films were seen as without value, and some were destroyed to make room for the newer, talking films. A film is considered to be lost if there is not a single, even partial, copy known to exist. A Library of Congress study estimates that only 14% of films made during the silen era have survived.

Dwight M. Cleveland is a real estate developer, historic preservationist, and collector committed to the preservation of film posters and lobby cards. This collection represents a portion of his film poster collection, which is recognized as the largest in the world.


7.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Dwight M. Cleveland Silent Western Lobby Cards contains almost 3,000 lobby cards primarily from the silent film era.

Processing Information

The Dwight M. Cleveland Silent Western Lobby Cards was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2021 by Dwight M. Cleveland.

In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NCWHM Special Collections at Dickinson Research Center Repository

1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73111 United States