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Exploring the Harry Ransom Center

Harry Ransom Center

Along with many other works, the center is home to nearly one million books. | Photo by ATXtoday

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UT’s Harry Ransom Center recently created an endowment in Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro’s name, which was big news. Did you know the library is also an internationally renowned humanities research center?

You heard that right — the next time you’re on the Forty Acres, visit the Harry Ransom Center. Here’s what you should know about the facility.


In 1957, Harry Huntt Ransom — an English professor, president + chancellor at the university — founded the Humanities Research Center. Ransom strove to build the library collections at UT during his career.

Over the years, the center acquired entire working archives rather than individual manuscripts, as Ransom believed all material from the creative process was helpful in research.

Renamed the Harry Ransom Center in 1983, the center is now home to nearly one million books, 42+ million manuscripts, five million photographs + 100,000 works of art.

What you can see

Step into the shoes of creative geniuses such as Albert Einstein, E.E. Cummings, and Gabriel García Márquez by viewing manuscripts, notes + other artifacts.

The collections include letters written by Edgar Allan Poe, scrapbooks owned by Harry Houdini, scripts, costumes, and more from the television series “Mad Men,” and some of Einstein’s unpublished notes and calculations from his work on general relativity.

Visitors can also view rare books at the Reading and Viewing Room. Open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., this room allows you to see pieces that aren’t on public display, which is helpful when conducting research. If you have a piece of work in mind, complete a Patron Visit Form before arriving at the center so the staff can prepare the materials for you.

If you’re looking to browse the center’s public collections, click the button below to check out the Ransom Center’s free exhibitions.

Exhibitions include:

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