Enjoy events at the Harry Ransom Center this fall

The Harry Ransom Center announces its fall calendar of events. View the full lineup of events.

Front graphic_fall calendarEnjoy programs related to the current exhibition, Frank Reaugh: Landscapes of Texas and the American West, including:
• Curator’s Tour with Peter Mears (September 16)
• Poetry on the Plaza with poems inspired by the American West (September 24)
• Discussion of Frank Reaugh’s life and work with contributors to the exhibition’s companion publication, Windows on the West (October 1)
Twenty-Four Hours with the Herd performance featuring music by Graham Reynolds, projections, and 4-D effects (November 13; tickets required)

Join us for these literary events:
• “’Hearts with One Purpose Alone’: W. B. Yeats and the Irish Revolution” lecture by Roy Foster, with reception (October 22)
• A talk by Salman Rushdie (October 28; tickets available in September)
• Discussion with Jonathan Bate about his new biography, Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life (November 18)

Members receive exclusive invitations to deepen their engagement with the collections. Become a member for these opportunities.
• Director’s Reception and Open House featuring conservation, theater and performing arts, and more (November 4)
• Behind-the-scenes building tour with Cathy Henderson, Associate Director of Exhibitions (November 14)

“The World at War, 1914–1918” exhibition opens at the Harry Ransom Center


The exhibition The World at War, 1914–1918 is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through August 3.


This exhibition marks the centenary of the start of World War I, a war that lasted four long years and killed ten million servicemen. The geo-political causes, the war’s global expansion, and the outcomes of the war are well documented. The collective personal and national trauma inflicted on all who experienced the war, however, remains relevant for a contemporary world still embroiled in conflict.


Drawing on the Ransom Center’s extensive collections, this exhibition illuminates the experience of the war from the point of view of its participants and observers, preserved through letters, drafts, and diaries; memoirs and novels; and photographs and propaganda posters. Visitors will have the opportunity to better understand the history of the war through the archives of those who witnessed it first-hand.


The World at War, 1914–1918 (University of Texas Press and the Harry Ransom Center), by exhibition curators Jean Cannon and Elizabeth Garver and with a foreword by author Stephen Harrigan, is a fully illustrated companion catalog.


Beginning February 18, free docent-led tours will be offered on Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. For groups larger than 10 people, please contact the Ransom Center to make arrangements for a private group tour.


For related programming, please visit the Ransom Center’s upcoming events page.

Now open at the Harry Ransom Center: “Literature and Sport” and “Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive”

"Literature and Sport" and "Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive" are on view at the Harry Ransom Center through August 4.

“Literature and Sport” and “Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive” are on view at the Harry Ransom Center through August 4.

Two new exhibitions, Literature and Sport and Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive open today at the Ransom Center.


Sport holds a sacred place in Western culture and literature. Writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Norman Mailer, Marianne Moore, Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates, and David Foster Wallace have written about sport.


Drawn exclusively from the Ransom Center’s collections, Literature and Sport showcases the literature of sport through fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. Organized by sport, the exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of literary writing about baseball, football, boxing, tennis, cricket, bullfighting, and other sports. From Bernard Malamud’s The Natural to Norman Mailer’s The Fight, great literary works capture the appeal of sport and its ability to transform both the individual and society, all the while demonstrating how writers elevate language to literature.


Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive was created in cooperation with the Lakes Were Rivers collective, an Austin-based group of artists working in photography and video. Members of the collective created a body of work influenced in some way by the Ransom Center—its space, its purpose, its collections. Approximately 50 new works are displayed alongside Ransom Center collection materials chosen by the artists, including photographs by Ansel Adams and Man Ray, manuscripts from the E. E. Cummings archive, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, an embellished Maurice Ravel score, and props from the Robert De Niro collection.

Both exhibitions are on display through August 4 and can be seen in the Ransom Center Galleries on Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours to 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed on Mondays.

Beginning June 18, free docent-led tours are offered on Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Join us for an “All-Star Evening,” the opening celebration for the summer exhibitions Literature and Sport and Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive, this Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.  Become a member now to receive complimentary admission and valet parking at this event. If you are not yet a member, tickets are available for $20 at the door (valet parking not included for non-members).

Harry Ransom Center Acquires Papers of T. C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle’s notes for "When the Killing’s Done." Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center.

The Harry Ransom Center recently announced its acquisition of the papers of T. C. Boyle, the best-selling author of thirteen novels and numerous short stories that showcase his lush prose and often cynical humor. Austin residents have the opportunity to see the prolific writer next Monday, March 19, at BookPeople, where he will read from his latest novel, When the Killing’s Done. BookPeople recently shared this brief interview with Boyle about the novel.


Boyle writes with energy and imagination about a broad range of topics, from such American iconoclasts as Frank Lloyd Wright, health impresario John Harvey Kellogg, and sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, to issues related to environmentalism and class struggles. His works have been widely acclaimed by critics and readers alike.


Boyle’s archive, which is now housed at the Ransom Center, covers the breadth of his career, spanning more than 30 years and illuminating the creative development of his works through research materials and notes, manuscript drafts, proofs, correspondence, publishing files, and teaching materials.


Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley noted, “T. C. Boyle is one of the most significant and respected authors writing today, and his archive will be a tremendous resource for the scholars who will study his work and career for generations to come. Boyle saved and organized all of his papers. Few archives so clearly capture the working life and imagination of an author.”


The papers will be accessible for research at the Ransom Center once they have been cataloged.


Boyle has a reputation for giving great live readings, so you won’t want to miss his performance at BookPeople on March 19. With his archive safely ensconced at the Ransom Center, Boyle can now call Austin home.

Video encourages discovery at Harry Ransom Center

What’s the result of 565 minutes of interview recordings with 12 people, 480 minutes of b-roll footage, and nine separate music tracks? The answer is a ten-minute video that provides a broad overview of the Ransom Center’s collections, scholarship, conservation, exhibitions, and programs.

Watch the video to hear curators, students, members, and conservators discuss their work and learn how the Center shares and celebrates the creative process. From a Houdini movie poster to letters by Edgar Allan Poe, from Jack Kerouac’s notebook to Robert De Niro’s make-up stills, the video showcases the range of materials that are housed at the Center.

“Worse than Opium”: “Banned, Burned, Seized, and Censored” at the Harry Ransom Center

“All these books are worse than opium… I would rather have a child of mine use opium than read these books.”
—Senator Reed Smoot, Congressional Record, March 17, 1930


Learn which books were “worse than opium” in the Harry Ransom Center‘s exhibition Banned, Burned, Seized, and Censored. Focusing on the interwar years, the exhibition reveals the rarely-seen “machinery” of American censorship from 1918 to 1941. Writers, reformers, agents, attorneys, and publishers battled publicly over obscenity and freedom of expression. Ulysses, All Quiet on the Western Front, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and The Grapes of Wrath came under fire from would-be censors alongside classics like The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales.

The exhibition communicates how the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, the New England Watch and Ward Society, the Post Office Department, and the Customs Bureau irrevocably altered the American literary landscape.

Highlights include Mother Goose rhymes, a Ulysses survey sent in the 1930s to public libraries, including the Austin Public Library, and the seals used by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and the New England Watch and Ward Society.

Banned, Burned, Seized, and Censored is on view at the Ransom Center through January 22.

The Gutenberg Bible and First Photograph are on permanent display.

The galleries are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday until 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Docent-led tours are offered Tuesdays at noon, Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

The Ransom Center is located at 21st and Guadalupe Streets. Admission is free. Your donation supports the Ransom Center’s exhibitions and public programs.