UA Archives to preserve rare airship films


USS Akron

The USS Akron (ZR-4)was a helium-filled U.S. Navy rigid-airship — one of the largest flying objects in the world.

The National Film Preservation Foundation awarded The University of Akron Archival Services, a division of University Libraries, a $13,440 grant. The funds will be used to transfer volatile nitrate-based 35mm motion picture film from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company records onto polyester safety film and to provide access copies for public viewing.

The four one-of-a-kind films document the history of the USS Akron (ZR-4), a helium-filled U.S. Navy rigid-airship, one of the largest flying objects in the world. Its crash in a thunderstorm off the coast of New Jersey in April 1933 spelled the beginning of the end for the rigid airship in the U.S. Navy. Although its career was short-lived, the USS Akron was one of the most significant airships in the history of lighter-than-air flight, and its construction, christening, maiden flight, test trials and operations are captured in these rare films. These and other films on the history of Goodyear and the rubber and polymer industry are available by visiting Archival Services.

“The grant is important because it qualifies us to apply for more substantial grants that if awarded will allow us to preserve additional historic films and make them available to the public for the first time.” says S. Victor Fleischer, UA archivist, head of archival services and associate professor of bibliography.

About the National Film Preservation Foundation

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), located in San Francisco, Calif., is a nonprofit organization created by Congress to help save America's film heritage. It supports activities nationwide that preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition.  For more information about its programs, visit the National Film Preservation Foundation online.

About The University of Akron’s Archival Services

UA’s Archival Services, which is part of University Libraries, collects, preserves and provides access to historic resources that primarily document the history of The University of Akron and the region. The department, which is located in Room LL10 of the Polsky Building in downtown Akron, is open to students, faculty, staff and the general public, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are recommended, but not required. To learn more, visit Archival Services.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or


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