VHS Tapes = Cultural Artifacts: Yale acquires collection of 2700 VHS tapes March 5, 2015 – Posted in: Bookselling / Collecting, Content, Libraries, Special Collections – Tags: ,

yale VHS collection

From the late 1970s through much of the 1980s VHS, which stands for Video Home System, tapes were all the rage.

They were the dominant form of home video entertainment and in many ways revolutionized the movie industry. It created the ability to watch movies in the home while also creating the opportunity to produce low budget films for the format.

The technology is now beyond obsolete but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t value to be had.

Yale University, the first institution to actively collect in this area, recently announced the acquisition of a collection of 2,700 VHS tapes.

Mind you, this is not a collection of VHS versions of top-grossing or award-winning films for the bulk of the collection is comprised of horror and exploitation films. 

This is as much about the preservation of the actual tapes themselves as it is about all the other cultural juice that’s part of the VHS package; cover design, blurbs, etc.

David Gary, the Yale librarian leading the project, told Bloomberg Business, it’s “the kind of material that lets you get at the cultural id of an era.” 


yale VHS collection b

Yale Is Building an Incredible Collection of VHS Tapes – Bloomberg Business, images via

Library acquires 2,700 VHS tapes | Yale Daily News

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