The Philly woman who videotaped a million hours of TV

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Librarian Marion Stokes recorded more than 30 years of television on 70,000 VHS tapes. (Courtesy of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project)

Librarian Marion Stokes recorded more than 30 years of television on 70,000 VHS tapes. (Courtesy of Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project)

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Philadelphian Marion Stokes recorded nearly a million hours of television over her lifetime, on more than 70,000 VHS tapes. Was she an archivist documenting culture and the 24-hour news cycle before the internet, or a hoarder who prioritized her tapes over everything else? Filmmaker Matt Wolf, who produced a documentary about Stokes, explains why she embarked on this ambitious project — and why it’s taken on new meaning after her death.

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