The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
is a library
at the University of Texas at Austin
, specializing in the collection of literary and cultural artifacts from the United States
. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts
, 1 million rare books
, 5 million photographs
, and more than 100,000 works of art
. The Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections.
The two most prominent possessions in the Ransom Center's archive are a Gutenberg Bible
and the first successful permanent photograph from nature
, produced by Nicéphore Niépce
. Both of these objects are on permanent display in the main lobby. Beyond these, the Center houses many culturally important documents and artifacts. Particular strengths include modern literature, performing arts, and photography.
Some notable holdings include:
- Three copies of the First Folio of William Shakespeare.
- A suppressed first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, of which 23 copies are known to exist
- The personal libraries of writers such as Ezra Pound, Evelyn Waugh, Alice Corbin Henderson, and the Coleridge family.
- Extensive manuscript collections of Lewis Carroll, Aleister Crowley, James Joyce, T. E. Lawrence, D. H. Lawrence, Carson McCullers, Norman Mailer, Anne Sexton, Don DeLillo and Graham Greene.
- Edgar Allan Poe's writing desk
- A large collection of rare and valuable comic books
- A writing journal kept by Jack Kerouac in preparation for writing On the Road
- The Cardigan manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Theatre and film
- The papers of Stella Adler, Robert DeNiro, David Mamet, Arthur Miller, David O. Selznick, George Bernard Shaw, Tom Stoppard, Gloria Swanson and Tennessee Williams
- Selected costumes, script drafts, storyboards, and audition tapes from Gone with the Wind. These are part of the David O. Selznick Collection.
- Unused props designed by Salvador Dalí to have been used in the dream sequence in Vertigo
- The sunglasses worn by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard
- Two paintings by Frida Kahlo: Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird and Still Life (with Parrot and Fruit)
- A she-wolf statue carved in stone and coated with gold leaf (now worn off) by Eric Gill, creator of Gill Sans
- Busts of various writers (on display in the lobby and reading room)
- large holdings in art by writers and portraits of literary figures
- Max, D. T. "Letter from Austin: Final Destination". The New Yorker, Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
- Pearson, Rachel "Center offers literary sort of Ransom". The Daily Texan, Retrieved on 2006-03-17.
- Pearson, Rachel "Ransom Center criticized abroad". The Daily Texan, Retrieved on 2006-03-17.
- Page, Caroline "HRC holds cultural gems". The Daily Texan, Retrieved on 2007-10-30.
- Page, Caroline "Ransom Center home to De Niro collection and other rare works". The Daily Texan, Retrieved on 2007-11-19.
- Page, Caroline "Ransom Center leads in conservation". The Daily Texan, Retrieved on 2007-11-19.
- Page, Caroline "Literary treasure hunt". The Daily Texan, Retrieved on 2007-12-04.
- "Harry Ransom Center Acquires Rare Plantin Polyglot Bible". Retrieved on 2008-05-01.