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Hamid Naficy (1944- ) Papers

Identifier: 20/81

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Hamid Naficy Papers are organized into six series: biographical files, professional and teaching files, writings and publications, research files, audiovisual materials, and oversize materials.

  • Biographical files include early pre-professional research, writings and work, including Naficy’s early professional activity in production. Very few personal items are included here; the majority of materials represent Naficy’s work prior to his 1973 return to Iran and research and writings produced while in school.
  • The professional and teaching files include sub-series on Naficy’s work at UCLA, Rice, and Northwestern as well as files on professional appearances, festivals, screenings, fellowships, and other activities. Files on the long-running Iranian film festivals that Naficy organized in Los Angeles and Houston can be found in the conferences, talks, and festivals sub-series.
  • The writings and publications series includes seven sub-series, one for each published book or anthology, in order of publication, followed by a sub-series on other writings and publications, such as copies of articles and book chapters, notes, and potential projects.
  • The research files series is composed of files related to Naficy’s research interests, including two sub-series of collected writings by others: “accented filmmakers” and others’ writings. The “accented filmmakers” designation represents Naficy’s original labeling on boxes of materials. For all files of collected writings, the folder title indicates when other materials are also present, such as Naficy’s notes or related correspondence. Otherwise collected writings files are primarily photocopies of publications with annotations. The remaining research and subject files sub-series includes a large amount of Persian-language newspapers and newspaper clippings, from the late 1970s through 1990s, providing primary documentary information on political and cultural events in Iran during those decades. Research on Grass, the 1925 ethnographic documentary film on the Bakhtiari tribe directed by Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack, is represented here. Handwritten notes on various films and research subjects are often found in these files in both English and Persian. Photographs in this series include black and white images of directors, stills from films, contact sheets and negatives. Some photographs are also interspersed within research files when originally found with corresponding research topics. Folders marked as “[unidentified Persian-language material]” contain untranslated non-English materials.
  • Audiovisual materials includes a born-digital spreadsheet file which inventories DVDs and VHS films; the series is organized into 5 sub-series: DVD, audiocassettes, VHS tapes: Naficy talks/films, VHS tapes: Other, and film. The DVD subseries includes 10 DVDs, primarily of Naficy’s digitized film work. The audiocassettes include interviews and research materials on Grass and many interviews with filmmakers and Persian-language television producers and hosts. A number of tapes are also dubbed from radio or television broadcasts around the time of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 through to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the 1990s. The VHS tapes are represented by two sub-series, the first being tapes of Naficy’s films (dubbed from film), talks (recorded from television or from a live event), and home movies. The home movies are restricted at this time. The second VHS sub-series, VHS tapes: other, is composed of the remaining tapes in the collection, many of which are of television shows recorded during their original airing in the 1980s and 1990s, such as various Persian and other non-English language television shows and English-language news broadcasts about the Middle East. Other tapes in this series include various films, both commercial recordings and recordings dubbed from television or other tapes. The film and videotape series includes Naficy’s experimental and educational work from the 1960s-1980s as well as home movies, which are restricted.
  • Oversize materials comprise one box of posters advertising Naficy’s classes or talks.


  • 1897 - 2017
  • Majority of material found within 1967 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

Boxes 1-121 and 149 of this collection are stored off-site and require two business days advance notice for retrieval. This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Some teaching and personal files and personal audiovisual materials are restricted. Materials labeled RESTRICTED in boxes 4, 5 and 7 contain student information; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use of these materials. Access to all other restricted materials in the collection is closed until 2049.


149 Boxes

0.13 Megabytes

Language of Materials



The Hamid Naficy Papers, spanning the years 1897-2017 (bulk 1967-2012), comprise 149 boxes and 1 spreadsheet born-digital file of 0.13 megabytes and include biographical, professional, and research files; files on Naficy’s writings and publications; photographs; and audiovisual materials. Hamid Naficy, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication in the Radio/Television/Film department at Northwestern University, joined the faculty in 2006.


Sub-series within the writings and publications series are in order of publication date, followed by general files. Folders within series and sub-series are primarily arranged alphabetically, with the exception of the oversized materials, which are placed in folders by size for better placement in their box.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Available born-digital files in this collection are delivered to researchers in born-digital formats. Requests for different access methods, such as those not using computers or with the aid of assistive technologies, must be made in advance of a research appointment to Library staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were donated to the University Archives by Hamid Naficy in 2014, 2017, and 2018 as accession numbers 14-89, 14-167, 17-14, 17-138, and 18-187. Materials in Box 149 were donated by Hamid Naficy to the University Archives in 2020.

Related Materials

See also Hamid Naficy Iranian and Middle Eastern Movie Posters Collection ( (series 76/20/3), donated to the University Archives by Hamid Naficy from 2014-2020. This collection contains 258 posters, 249 of which have been digitized and cataloged individually. The posters can be viewed by clicking the link above, searching the Images Repository or the library’s catalog. The finding aid for the collection can be found here:

Separated Materials

One commercial CD-ROM was returned to the donor. Approximately one linear foot of duplicate papers were discarded. Duplicates from the 2020 accession were also discarded.

Guide to the Hamid Naficy (1944- ) Papers
Jill Waycie
April 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US