The Collection consists of 8,462 vintage lobby-cards and 5,000 related items - many the sole surviving traces of long-lost silent films - acquired by late screenwriter/filmmaker Leonard Schrader over the course of 27 years. While Schrader preserved his collection with painstaking care in hundreds of 13x15 photographer’s albums - or “binders” - mysteriously he left no written inventory or index of this vast archive’s contents.  

A comprehensive cross-referenced digital database has now been completed, enabling expedient location of all elements within their original binders, revealing that Schrader dedicated seven full binders exclusively to the films of John Ford, meticulously following a creative career that spanned five decades; he dedicated another six binders to Tod Browning, five binders each to Fritz Lang, Frank Borzage, Allan Dwan, four each to Ernst Lubitsch, Maurice Tourneur, Raoul Walsh, three each to D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, King Vidor, Eric von Stroheim, James Cruze, Josef von Sternberg, George Fitzmaurice, Frank Lloyd, and two each to F.W. Murnau, Preston Sturges, Sessue Hayakawa, Marshall Neilan, Lois Weber, Dorothy Arzner, George Archainbaud, Dorothy Davenport, Lon Chaney, Will Rogers, et al. Numerous individual binders focus on other early important stars, directors, producers, themes, and studios.

Particularly notable are 189 Buster Keaton lobby-cards in remarkable condition, including complete sets of The General, College, Our Hospitality, Spite Marriage, and Paleface, among others. Experts believe the Leonard Schrader Collection contains the most extensive array of quality Keaton lobby-cards in existence anywhere in the world.

Also represented prominently in the collection are:

Tsuru Aoki, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, George Arliss, Arrow Films, George Bancroft, Theda Bara, Lionel Barrymore, Marguerite Bertsch, Alice Guy-Blaché, Herbert Blaché, Stuart J. Blackton, Carlyle Blackwell, Humphrey Bogart, Clara Bow, Alice Brady, Betty Bronson, Joe E. Brown, James Cagney, Edwin Carewe, Harry Carey, Charles Chaplin, Syd Chaplin, Ruth Clifford, Joan Crawford, Priscilla Dean, E.A. Dupont, Edison Films, Essanay Studio, William Farnum, Louise Fazenda, Fox Film Corporation, Kay Francis, Greta Garbo, Hoot Gibson, Lillian Gish, Samuel Goldwyn, Corrine Griffith, William Haines, William S. Hart, Alice Howell, Thomas H. Ince, Rex Ingram, Julia Crawford Ivers, Emil Jannings, Buck Jones, Fay Kanin, The Keystone Cops, Alexander Korda, Carl Laemmle, Ralph Lewis, Harold Lloyd, Lubin Features, Cleo Madison, Francis Marion, Thomas Meighan, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Tom Mix, Jane Murfin, Mutual Star Productions, Alla Nazimova, Pola Negri, Miriam Nesbitt, Mabel Normand, Sidney Olcott, G.W. Pabst, Ida May Park, Pathe Pictures, Zasu Pitts, Erich Pommer, Marie Prevost, Lya de Putti, Esther Ralston, Billie Rhodes, Leni Riefenstahl, Hal Roach, Sam Sax, Mack Sennett, Norma Shearer, Ernst Shipman, Al St. John, Victor Sjostrom, Albert E. Smith, Mauritz Stiller, Ruth Stonehouse, Gloria Swanson, Norma Talmadge, Fred Thomson & Silver King, Triangle Films, UFA Films, Rudolph Valentino, Vitagraph Studios, John Wayne, Elsie Jane Wilson, Margery Wilson, World Pictures, Herbert Yates, Clara Kimball Young, et al.

Organized interstitially with these are the “ephemera” - approximately a third of the archive’s volume - vintage still photographs, trade and fan publications (some from as early as 1908), rare programs, heralds, sheet music, glass slides, posters of various sizes, plus innumerable informative clippings painstakingly annotated by Leonard Schrader.  

Three well-known experts have now completed independent appraisals of the Leonard Schrader Collection: Mike Hawks, Marc Wanamaker, Anthony Slide.

Mr. Slide, formerly archivist of the American Film Institute and resident film historian of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, author of more than seventy books on the history of early cinema and popular entertainment, has stated:

“I have been involved in this field for over a third of a century and I have never come across a collection of lobby cards of this size and stature.  It is, undoubtedly, the largest collection of original lobby cards in private hands, and probably is more substantial than similar collections held by major film institutions, such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or the Library of Congress.”

Bruce Davis, executive director of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, has stated:

“One's first tendency is to be amazed by the sheer mass of the material, but on closer inspection something more remarkable emerges: it's a massive collection, yes, but it also has been meticulously selected. (Experience teaches that those who collect widely don't always collect with discrimination). This is largest private collection of lobby-card material that we're aware of, assembled by a film-maker with a keen appreciation of particular directors, actors, and genres.”

Ronald Magliozzi, assistant curator of research and collections at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, has stated:

“Schrader clearly knew what he was doing. With the skill of an art historian, he brought together a collection of lobby-cards and related items that is, in effect, a visual history of the American cinema in its most creative period.”

Steve Hanson, director of The University of Southern California Cinematic Arts Library and Archives of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, has stated:

“It is an impressive array of extremely rare materials dealing with the history of cinema. Yet, its primary importance is not as a historical research collection. Those considerations are dwarfed by its sheer aesthetic brilliance.”