Q. Does anyone know if the early Biograph and Selig films are still in existence?
A. A large number of Biograph films survive. The bank that was trustee for the bankrupt company donated the surviving prints and negatives to the Museum of Modern Art in the 1930's. A number of Biographs also survive in the paper print collection at the Library of Congress and have been copied for preservation and viewing.
Selig is a different story. About 125 Selig shorts are held by various archives throughout the world—there there are a few others in private hands in 16mm. A couple of Selig features also survive, most notably The Spoilers. Tom Mix alone made over a 150 shorts for Selig. When you consider that the company probably turned out between 1500 and 2000 films in its 22 year history, the survival rate is not especially great—though it is similar to the survival rate of the films of other early companies. That the Biographs survived in great numbers is an anomaly.