Madeline Matz, who passed away on 25 June, was an irreplaceable resource for all film scholars and bibliographers, first during her tenure at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and then at the Library of Congress. We remember her with the words of David Francis, when the Pordenone Silent Film Festival honoured her and John Canemaker at the 22nd Jean Mitry Prize ceremony in 2007: “You never hear Madeline pontificating at film history conferences, but if you’ve listened to an especially good paper, or read a particularly well-researched article or book, there’s a high probability she was involved in one way or another. She’s exactly the sort of person a festival like Pordenone – which makes solid research the key to its programming, presentations and publications – must honour with an award named after Jean Mitry.”

Photo by Paolo Jacob


  1. Charles Musser says:

    For me personally, Madeline was warm, supportive and inspiring when came to the study of cinema–and more generally in her approach to life. Simply put, I adored her. Many others had similar experiences. She will be sadly missed.
    Charlie Musser

  2. Stephen Bottomore says:

    I am so sad to hear this news about Madeleine. When I sometimes went over to the US in the 1990s for work, I usually managed to find a few days spare for research at the world’s greatest library (the LoC). Madeleine was often at work in the MBRS division and she would always remember me and remember what I was working on, and expertly help find information, and later would mail me copies etc.
    But as well as that helpful professionalism there was her sheer warmth as a person. She almost became a mother to me, at least as I thought of her. Then she got emphysema if I recall, and on each of my visits she clearly became more troubled by it – and that troubled me, and many others, I know.
    We have lost a wonderful person.

  3. Prof Ian Christie says:

    Very sad indeed to hear of Madeleine’s death. She was such a knowledgeable and welcoming figure at the Library of Congress; and I remember with gratitude how she helped us with film research and access when we were making The Last Machine TV series in 1994. One of the true stalwarts of the small world of film archivists, who will be missed by many.

  4. Charlie Keil says:

    My memories of Madeline are warm and deep. She was of inestimable help to me when I did research at the Library of Congress and she evinced so much investment in helping me every step of the way. Later, for years at Pordenone, we would reconnect and share walks and meals, filled with wide-ranging conversation . She was a breath of fresh air–candid, engaged, and vibrantly human. I will always treasure the time I got to spend with her and am saddened by her loss.

  5. Sally Jackson says:

    I met Madeleine in the mid-1980s when I was a stock footage researcher for film and tv here in Australia. When I say “met” this was by telephone and then fax and finally a visit to the LOC.
    Madeleine immediately understood my requests and always made the job fun. Over the phone we shared a joke and there was always laughter as we chatted. I recall walking across the foyer at the LOC to ask for Madeleine and then going up in the lift to find her waiting for me.
    After that one visit we had only one other long-distance encounter when I was trying to match up footage of The Beatles with a copyright owner. She was, as usual, delighted to hear from me and I felt as if I had a good friend, although so far away.
    Over the years I directed many clients to Madeleine and no doubt they received the same warm friendship to which so many of us were treated. You will be missed dear Madeleine.

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