My name is Luke McKernan. I was formerly Lead Curator, News and Moving Image at the British Library.

My interests include

Early and silent cinema … the non-fiction film … news media history … newsreels … film as historical evidence … moving image archiving … research tools … newspapers … early cinema audiences … theatre audiences … the science of stories … the Lake District … Antarctic exploration and film … Kent County Cricket Club … Renaissance drama … the sociology of cinema … cinemagazines … First World War and film … chess … literary filmography … Shakespeare on film, television and radio … digital Shakespeare … London … Olympic Games history (especially the 1908 Games) … sports history … the development of communications media late 19th/early 20th century … family history … Anglo-American relations pre-First World War … the history of educational film … Charles Urban … colour film systems, especially Kinemacolor … Karel Capek … Humphrey Jennings … James Joyce and the Volta Cinematograph … Victorian cinema … the science and theory of memory … 16th/17th English poetry … databases … modern jazz … historiography … St Helena … Roman Britain … making lists of things … desolate stretches of the Kent shoreline … oh, and Bob Dylan


I’m committed to making my research texts freely available wherever possible. Where I have been able to, I have added links here to downloadable copies of papers I’ve written or the texts of talks I’ve given. Some are available on external sites, several of which are subscription-based services for university users only. Not everything I’ve written is available – some texts I don’t have permission to republish, while for some of the talks either I no longer have the text or the talk was ad-libbed. I’ll continue to add more such texts as and when I can.


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Follow me via @lukemckernan

6 thoughts on “About

  1. I noted you had some material on another website on Sidney Olcott who had worked with Kalem in the early 1900s. I am looking for information on the 1911 film “Peggy the Moonshiner’s Daughter”. My grandfather George W. Right had a role in the film. At one time I had access to a series of stills of my grandfather and the female lead taken during the filming. I may be able to relocate them as I believe one of my siblings likely have them. Any information on the film particularly surviving footage if any would be appreciated.

    1. Hello there,

      That was on my Bioscope website, which is no longer active. I don’t know anything about Peggy the Moonshiner’s Daughter (except that it appears not survive in any archive) or George W. Right. You will find references to it in the motion picture magazines digitised for the Media History Digital Project. Go to their search engine, http://lantern.mediahist.org/, type in ‘moonshiner’, refine the date range to 1911-1912, and numerous references turn up. For example, there is a Motion Picture Story Magazine detailed version of the plot, with stills, in its October 1911 issue, pp. 65-74. You’ll find the full digitised copy of this at https://archive.org/stream/motionpicturesto02moti.

      I’ll email this information to you with some other suggestions.


  2. Just read your piece on “The Third Man”. I’d heard/read about Christian symbols (if you will) in Greene’s work, evident in the movie as you so well pointed out.

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