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Virgil Q. Wacks Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 500-AppMs 0569

Scope and Contents

The Virgil Q. Wacks Collection contains approximately 1,816 reels and clips of motion picture film produced between 1942 and 1986. The collection also includes four audiotape recordings of musical performances, interviews, and business advertisement spots. The film collection documents the people, businesses, and towns of the Appalachian region and beyond. Western North Carolina, southeast Kentucky, East Tennessee, and southwest Virginia are regions represented in the collection. The collection provides a visual documentation of almost half a century of Appalachian lifestyles, traditions, and customs.

In addition to the motion picture film, the collection contains a videotape of the only known surviving complete example of the “Virgil Q. Wacks Varieties Show”. The program was taped off-the-air in 1982, at WKPT-TV in Kingsport, Tennessee. The collection also contains a videotape copy of “Mountain Vision”, an Appalshop documentary focusing on regional television programming in Appalachia. The production features a segment on the “Virgil Q. Wacks Varieties Show” and includes an interview with Wacks.

The majority of the films in this collection were shot in the 16mm gauge and aired on the “Virgil Q. Wacks Varieties” television program. Examples of earlier pre-television footage produced in the professional 35mm gauge are included in this collection. These 35mm films were produced for theatrical screenings in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The films document parades, festivals, and businesses located in Harlan, Ky, Jonesville,Va, and Pennington Gap, Va.

Preservation material includes 70 Beta SP analog masters and VHS access copies. The collection also includes 3 ¼ reel to reel audiotape analog preservation masters and 3 compact disc digital preservation masters of audio material.


  • 1942-1986
  • 1970-1979


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Dr. Quinton Wacks retains all literary rights to this collection until January 30, 2010. At this date all literary rights will transfer to the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University. Any request for commercial use of these films will be referred to Dr. Wacks.


1823 item(s) (1,816 reels of motion picture film, 1 Beta SP videotape, 1 VHS videotape, 1 DVD, 3 ¼ reel to reel audio tapes, and 1 cassette audiotape.)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in 14 series as follows: Series 1, 35mm Motion Picture Film, 1948-1982, Film Clips 1-8, Series 2, Festivals, 1955-1986, Film clips 9-95, Series 3, Community Events, 1943-1984, Film clips 96-328 and Film clips 1808-1811 Addendum, Series 4, News Events, 1955-1983, Film clips 329-375, Series 5, Sports, 1942-1981, Film clips 376-439, Series 6, Parks and Recreation, 1955-1981, Film clips 440-581, Series 7, Regional and Rural, 1942-1981, Film clips 582-639, Series 8, Coal Mining Companies, 1971-1983, Film clips 640-722, Series 9, Mine Rescue Training, 1958-1984, Film clips 723-753, Series 10, West Virginia, 1972-1980, Film clips 754-762, Series 11, Business, 1953-1984, Film clips 763-1730, Series 12, Friends and Family, 1972-1983, Film clips 1731-1760, and Film clips 1812-1816 Addendum, Series 13, Miscellaneous and Reference, 1956-1980, Film clips 1761-807, Series 14, Audio Recordings, 1969-1975, Tapes 1-4. Series 15: Certificate

The films have been arranged alphabetically by state and town within each series, and then further arranged chronologically by subject matter, date and year within each series. Dates were taken from information provided by Wacks on the original film boxes. When no date was available, the Kodak edge codes on the motion picture film were used to approximately date the film, although actual filming may have taken place at a later date. Unidentified footage is placed at the end of each series. Motion picture film donated by Quinton Wacks after processing was included in two addendums.

Each reel of motion picture film was arranged chronologically on a core. The cores were then transferred to Beta SP videotape for preservation masters, and VHS videotape for public access copies. There are a total of 70 Beta Sp masters and VHS copies. Film clips 1, 2,139,316,627, and 639 have been preserved through a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation and can be found on Videotape 69 in both digital and analog copies.

Method of Acquisition

The Virgil Q. Wacks Collection was donated to the Archives of Appalachia on September 27, 2000 by Dr. Quinton Wacks, of Harrogate, Tennessee, and Mitchel R.Wacks, of Knoxville, Tennessee, sons of Virgil Q. Wacks.

Accruals and Additions

Additions were added to the collection on December 11, 2000, May 3, 2001, March 5, 2002, and March 11, 2005.

Processing Information

Bradley Reeves, John Fleenor, Dusty Hibbs, and Samantha Frye completed processing the collection in December 2004, and the collection was opened for research.

Bradley Reeves, John Fleenor, Dusty Hibbs, and Samantha Frye
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of Appalachia Repository

PO Box 70295
344 J.L. Seehorn Jr. Rd.
Johnson City TN 37614 USA