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Leaf, Caroline. Caroline Leaf Collection, 1968-2013 : A Guide

Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: hfa00031
Repository: Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Gardner, Robert.
Creator: Lamb, Derek.
Title: Leaf, Caroline. Caroline Leaf Collection, 1968-2013 : A Guide
Date(s): 1968-2013, bulk 1968-1998
Date(s): 1950-2008.
Quantity: 1 collection (46 reels of 16mm film material, 5 reels and 3 sheets of 35mm film material, 17 sheets of 70mm film materials, 19 videotapes, 3 audio tapes, 1 DVD, 3 glass panes, and .85 cubic ft. of paper material)
Language of materials: Materials are in English and French.
Abstract: This collection contains completed prints, production materials, and promotional materials for the short films and commercials of award-winning animator Caroline Leaf. Production materials are composed of workreels; test film scratches; storyboards; photographs; slides; drawings; glass panes; and writings, while promotional materials include film guides; posters; and stills. In addition to her own work, the collection also contains films that she collected from others, films that she collaborated on and film, audio, and paper materials produced about her, such as newspaper articles; film and audio interviews; and animation workshops.

Acquisition Information:

The Caroline Leaf Collection was donated to the Harvard Film Archive by Caroline Leaf.

Processing Information:

Processed and encoded by: Tricia Patterson, 2013

Access Restrictions:

Access by appointment only. Applications to consult this material should be directed to the staff of the Harvard Film Archive.
Access to paper and other non-film and video materials (identified by box number) is by appointment only at the Fine Arts Library. To consult this material, send an email to HFA@fas.harvard.edu. Boxes can also be requested via HOLLIS by patrons and be sent to the Fine Arts Library for use in the reading room.
Film prints are made accessible by appointment only and in close consultation with HFA staff. Although films do not circulate for individual use, students, filmmakers, artists, and researchers are encouraged to use the collections on-site. If their condition allows, prints from the HFA collection may be viewed on a flatbed viewer at the HFA's Conservation Center.

Use Restrictions:

Reproduction and/or publication of materials subject to copyright requires written permission from a) the copyright owner, his/her heirs or assigns and from b) the Fine Arts Library, owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation:

Leaf, Caroline. Caroline Leaf Collection, 1968-2013 : A Guide. Harvard Film Archive, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.

Related Collections

Researchers should note that the Harvard Film Archive holds collections for two of Caroline Leaf's advisers who were later film colleagues.


Canadian-American animator and filmmaker Caroline Leaf (1946- ) is an innovative, award-winning figure in her field best known for her experimental techniques such as sand animation and scratching images directly onto film frames. She began her art education in the late 1960s at Harvard University under animation instructor Derek Lamb, who later became her colleague at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). After leaving Harvard University in 1972, she moved to Canada where she found support for her work from the NFB as a staff filmmaker and director until 1991. During this time, Leaf worked on a range of projects, including animated and live-action shorts and documentaries such as Kate and Anna McGarrigle (1981). Her inventive methods are often the graphic vehicles for powerfully emotional content, exploring themes like social interaction and perception. Leaf has also retold many folk stories, such as the Inuit fable of The Owl Who Married a Goose (1974), using her techniques to evoke fresh themes. After leaving the NFB in 1991, she worked to adapt her techniques to commercial work for a brief period of time.
Throughout her life, she also acted as an instructor and mentor for other animators. From 1996-98, she returned to Harvard University as an animation instructor, closing the circle on her animation career that had first flourished at Harvard decades earlier. She was also an animation instructor at Konstfack in Sweden and senior tutor at the National Film and Television School in England. Leaf also adapted her innovative techniques for workshop formats, regularly conducting animation workshops internationally. Aside from teaching, she has established herself as a fine arts painter.


This collection is arranged chronologically by film or material within the following series and subseries:

Scope and Content

The Caroline Leaf Collection consists of prints and production materials for many of her animated and live-action shorts produced between 1968 and 1998. Production materials sometimes include storyboards, test scratch frames, drawings, photographs, glass panes, or several workreels, documenting the filmmaking process. In addition to film prints and workreels, there are many videocassette copies of Leaf's commercial work, as well prints and some production materials for films she collaborated on, contributed to, or was gifted. The collection also includes select promotional materials: film guides, posters, and stills for some of her original works. As a multi-award winner, Leaf participated in many interviews and also had some films produced about her, mainly between the 1970s through the late 1990s, some of which are represented in the collection in articles, audio interviews, and films.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Absurd (Philosophy)
Animated films -- Canada
Animated films -- Croatia
Animated films -- United States
Animation (Cinematography)
Credit titles (Motion pictures, television, etc.)
Death in motion pictures
Dependency (Psychology)
Eskimos -- Canada -- Folklore -- Caricatures and cartoons
Fables, Greek
Geese -- Caricatures and cartoons
Haydn, Joseph, 1732-1809. Anima del filosofo
Mister Rogers' neighborhood (Television program)
Motion pictures -- Production and direction
Nonsense verses
Older people
Owls -- Caricatures and cartoons
Parents -- Death
Sisters in motion pictures
Television commercials
Women artists -- Canada
Women authors
Animated films
Experimental films
Personal papers
Press materials
Production materials
Short films
Alcalay, Albert, -- 1917-2008
Basaldella, Mirko, 1910-1969
Kafka, Franz, 1883-1924
Leaf, Caroline