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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 7, 2006

Rare Film Restored And Available At UI Libraries

A rare film produced by noted social psychologist Kurt Lewin, a member of the University of Iowa faculty more than 60 years ago, has been restored thanks to a National Film Preservation Foundation grant to the University Archives, Department of Special Collections in the UI Libraries.

The film, "Experimental Studies in the Social Climates of Groups, Parts I and II," was produced by Lewin in 1938 to demonstrate patterns of group behavior that result from different types of environments, according to a 1940 UI Extension catalog describing the film. His pioneering research at Iowa suggested that people's surroundings, not their individual traits, largely shape their actions.

Lewin (1890-1947) fled his native Germany in 1933 following the rise of Hitler and was a member of the UI faculty from 1935 to 1944. After moving to Boston in 1944, he established the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A 1984 survey identified Lewin, with Sigmund Freud, as the greatest influence on the thinking of contemporary psychologists.

The grant, for $4,760, provided for the cleaning and restoration of the original film, as well as production of digital and videotape copies for researchers to use.

The UI Libraries has partnered with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum on this project. The UI Libraries will maintain DVD and VHS copies of the film in Media Services, which will be available to researchers. The original film and a preservation master (Beta tape) will be located in a climate-controlled facility at the Hoover Museum.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen J. Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu