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National Film Preservation Grant Supports Three Emerson films

The films document the opening of Emerson’s Robbins Center facilities in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department: one of the first teacher-training programs in speech and hearing therapy established in the U.S.

(July 10, 2014) BOSTON, MA—Emerson College announced today that it has preserved three films from 16mm to DVD with support from a $5,300 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation as part of the College’s commitment to digitally preserve and share its vast collection of historical documents.

Produced in 1955, 1960, and 1966, the films, which are each under 10 minutes long, document the opening of the Robbins Speech, Language, and Hearing Center and the Thayer Lindsley Nursery, which is located within the center. Both are clinical training facilities for Emerson students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders—providing evaluation and treatment for children and adults with speech, language, and hearing needs and educational programs for family members and caregivers.

With no copies existing outside of Emerson College, the films provide a historical record of some of the early treatments and technologies available for speech and hearing therapy. “I’m very grateful to have these films preserved for the College as well as for the field of communication sciences and disorders,” said Betsy Micucci, director of clinical programs at Emerson College. “It’s important to be able to reference the early days of treatment, to see how far we’ve come, and to inspire future generations with this ongoing work to treat people who are affected by hearing, speech, and language problems.”

The newly preserved films include a short film produced by the College in 1955 to promote the speech and hearing clinic’s service to the Boston community. Shot in black and white, the film shows the Robbins Center two years after opening, and includes footage of the center’s founding faculty members working with children who have speech and hearing disorders. Another black and white film about the center, titled Strong Hand, Helping Hand, was produced in 1960. It includes the only existing shot of the College’s Back Bay campus during this time period. The narration gives a detailed description of the program in its early days. A film from 1966 about the Thayer Lindsley Nursery, produced one year after it opened, includes footage of families who came to the nursery for treatment. Filmed in color, it highlights technologies and techniques used during the 1960s to treat children with speech and hearing problems and features candid discussions with mothers who share their experiences of caring for their children.

The films will be available via Emerson’s Archives Department, which also maintains the College’s publications, graduate thesis projects, photographs, and audiovisual collections, as well as the Special Collections and American Comedy Archives. For further information, contact

About the National Film Preservation Foundation

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. NFPF supports activities nationwide that preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition.

About the Robbins Speech, Language, and Hearing Center at Emerson College

Since opening in 1953, the Robbins Center, named for former Emerson College faculty member Samuel D. Robbins, has provided evaluation and treatment for children and adults with communication problems as well as educational programs for family members and caregivers. The center is also the primary clinical training facility associated with Emerson’s nationally respected Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The Thayer Lindsley Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants and Toddlers is a program within the Robbins Center that provides group and individual services to young children and their families.

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College is one of the premier educational institutions with a concentration in visual and media arts. The College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. Emerson has 3,660 undergraduates and 829 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 80 student organizations and performance groups, student publications, honor societies, television stations including the Emerson Channel, and WERS-FM, the nation’s highest rated student-run radio station. Emerson is internationally known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. A new permanent facility on Sunset Boulevard is being constructed for its L.A.-based program, estimated to be completed by January 2014. Emerson has an active network of 32,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit

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