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owned by Harry Houdini, scripts, costumes, and more from the television series “Mad Men,” and some of Einstein’s unpublished notes and calculations from his work on general relativity.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.
- Women and the Making of Joyce’s Ulysses — Ends Sun., July 17
- Learn about the role of women in James Joyce’s 1922 modernist novel “Ulysses.”
- Stories to Tell: Selections from the Harry Ransom Center — Ends Mon., August 15
- Check out this rotating exhibition now to view a 17th-century map of the world and works by writers Isaac Bashevis Singer + David Foster Wallace.
- Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait
- View some of the iconic Mexican painter’s works, including “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace” and “Hummingbird.”
- The Gutenberg Bible
- Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of only 20 surviving copies of this 500-year-old book, the first major book ever to be mass-produced.