Elizabeth Thoman Media Literacy Archive

Dedication of the Elizabeth Thoman Media Literacy Archive

The Elizabeth Thoman Media Literacy Archive holds significant historical artifacts and documents related to the development of media literacy as a movement and a field of specialization at the intersection of media studies and education.

The University of Rhode Island has received the personal and business archives of Elizabeth Thoman, CHM, founder of the Center for Media Literacy (1989-2007), a leading national non-profit organization in the United States since the early 1990s, and editor of Media&Values magazine (1977–1993).

The archive includes the Media&Values production archive, comprehensive media literacy curricula library, and correspondence with leaders from the media literacy field over the years. The archive will be available to scholars through the URI Library’s Special Collections.

Renee Hobbs, Founding Director and Professor in the Harrington School calls the Thoman Archive “a unique and significant research collection for scholars from the Harrington School of Communication and Media and to the broader media literacy research community. The Thoman Archive complements the value of the Curriculum Resources Library at the University of Rhode Island by extending support for the work of scholars in this area. I am excited for the research opportunities which this collection creates for scholars who are interested in the development of educational materials that make use of mass media, popular culture and digital media.”

The collection includes extensive notes, artifacts, interviews, publicity articles, books and letters documenting the history of media literacy in the United States and the individuals and organizations that contributed to its development. It also had the most comprehensive library of media literacy curriculum resources from around the world as well as original materials created by innovative teachers as well as materials produced by educational publishers in the U.S. and England.

The collection includes 60 boxes of archival materials from the Center for Media Literacy in Los Angeles. The archives consist of about 70 linear feet of Elizabeth Thoman’s library and her correspondence as editor of Media&Values. Personal notes and program materials are available from every major conference since UNESCO’s first call for universal media literacy education at Grunwald, Germany in 1984. This collection culminates in the founding of the Partnership for Media Education in 1997 which, in turn, birthed the current National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).

Media&Values magazine

Media&Values magazine 1977-1993

Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media and the URI Libraries.

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