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Centron Corporation records

Call Number: RH MS 541


This collection includes materials and records created by Centron, a film production company based in Lawrence, Kansas, from its establishment through its purchase by Coronet in the 1980s. These materials cover financial documentation, production notes, photographic materials, audiovisual materials, film awards, and artifacts relating to Centron’s various film productions and to its overall operations.


  • Creation: 1947 - 1990


Language of Materials

The collection is predominantly in English, but some materials may be in Korean or in Western European languages, particularly for productions Centron produced abroad or had translated into other languages.

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Centron Corporation / Centron Productions

The Centron Corporation was founded in Lawrence, Kansas in the late 1940s by two University of Kansas (KU) graduates, Russell Mosser and Art Wolf. From 1947 to 1981, Centron was engaged in the production of films, filmstrips, multi-media presentations, and social etiquette films. Their first film, “Sewing Simple Seams,” was completed in 1947. Centron often hired locally, leading to many films including Lawrence residents as actors in Centron productions.

Centron’s productions included independent films and contracted films; the company created employee training films for their contracted clients. Their clientele spanned across several industries and included companies such as Phillips, Humble, Conoco, Skelly, General Electric, and the Spencer Chemical Company, as well as the American Medical Association, Harvard University, John Deere, Sabena Belgian World Airlines, and KU.

In addition to their contracted work, Centron created several social etiquette films, such as “What About Prejudice,” “The Bully,” and “Innocent Party,” though some of their most popular productions were travelogue videos that covered such locations as South America, Korea, and China. These productions placed Centron in competition with Coronet and the Encyclopedia Britannica, two other educational film producers.

Centron earned an Academy Award nomination for their work with “Leo Beuerman,” a documentary film about a Lawrence resident with physical disabilities. Centron won over 485 film awards from 35 different U.S. film festivals and 23 foreign film festivals.

In 1981, Wolf and Mosser sold Centron to Coronet films. Robert Kohl assumed leadership of Centron during this time, and Centron continued producing films until 1994, when the Centron Corporation dissolved.

The original Centron production studio was sold to KU in 1991. The university renamed the building Oldfather Studios, and it was used as the KU Film and Media Studies building until 2017. Oldfather Studios was demolished in 2021.

[Information taken from collection materials.]


73 Linear Feet (86 boxes + 11 oversize boxes, 6 oversize folders)

Scope and Contents

The Centron Corporation collection mostly provides documentation regarding specific productions the company completed. It contains financial documents, reports, production notes, schedules, photographs, production stills, photograph negatives, licensing permissions, award plaques and certificates, and other artifacts related to Centron’s various film productions. Most records pertain to the various productions, both independently and contractually created, Centron completed during its active years. The collection also includes a vast number of photographic slides, photographs, and photographic negatives detailing Centron’s pre- and post-production methods. There is some material regarding the overall operation and administration of the company, mostly found in annual reports and financial ledgers.

Physical Location

RH MS 541

Physical Location

RH MS Q514

Physical Location

RH MS R533

Physical Location

RH MS R538

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Robert Kohl, 1989, 1995; Russell Mosser, 1993; Chuck Warner, 2020; Elle Schneider, 2021; Linda Haskins, 2021.

Separated Materials

Published materials relating to the Centron Corporation have been separated to be individually cataloged and can be found using the KU Libraries online catalog.

All audiovisual materials have been separated to be individually cataloged and can be located in the KU Libraries online catalog by searching call number “RH Centron.”

Processing Information

The Centron Corporation records was minimally reprocessed in 2023 after initial minimal processing and inventorying conducted in the 1990s. Folders in this collection had no distinguishable order when originally processed; Spencer staff maintained that order when reprocessing but at times consolidated boxes that had previously not been full. Photographic materials and artifacts were rehoused and audiovisual materials removed to be processed separately.

Routine financial documentation was weeded during reprocessing, but ledgers and other documentation providing a more complete financial picture of the buisness were retained with the collection.



Guide to the Centron Corporation Collection
Centron Corporation records
Finding aid prepared by mmj. Finding aid encoded by mmj. Finding aid revised by mmj, mwh.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Centron Corporation collection, RH MS 541, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States