Despite Thomas Edison's advocacy of film as an educational force, educators and others were slow to recognize and act upon its potential; in part because of the many perceived negative aspects of the medium. Community groups were generally alert to the danger that the cinema would pervert young minds but slow to acknowledge its potential for good.
In September 1914, Orrin G. Cocks, secretary of the National Board of Censorship, wrote in Library Journal, "The libraries of the United States have failed to see the educational value of motion pictures during their period of growth in the last 15 years." 1 Cocks pointed out that at least six models of 35mm projectors could be purchased "for a price around $100." 2 He named seven film companies with active libraries of educational films: The General Film Company, Pathé Freres, Eclair, the Thomas A. Edison Company, Gaumont, George Kleine, and the Hepworth American Film Corporation. Further, Cocks pointed out that at least three agencies existed to service the need of libraries for film: the Community Service & Film Bureau (headed by the Rev. Charles Stelze), the Church and School Social Service (headed by the Rev. William Carter), and the Motion Picture Bureau (headed by Edward W. Robinson).
Some twelve years later, Melvil Dewey, the first secretary of the Amer