The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas | United States

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About the Ransom Center

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin was established in 1957 and has assembled one of the finest cultural archives in the world. The collection includes nearly 1 million books, more than 42 million manuscripts, 5 million photographs, and 100,000 works of art. These documents and artifacts provide unique insight into the creative process of some of the world’s finest writers and artists, deepening the understanding and appreciation of literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts.

A sampling of the objects in the collection: The Cardigan manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (ca. 1450); Robert De Niro's collection of costumes, props, scripts and memorabilia; E. E. Cummings' wooden paint box; the 'Green Curtain Dress' from Gone With The Wind; the journal of Jack Kerouac's 1947 cross-country trip with Neal Cassady; original artworks by Frida Kahlo; Albert Einstein's unpublished notes and calculations showing his final work on general relativity; Gabriel García Márquez's published and unpublished works, photographs, correspondence, and notebooks, all of which are digitized for online access; and much, much more.

The Center also is a leader among research libraries in interpreting its collections and public access is at the heart of its free-admission exhibition program. One of only 20 complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1455) and The Niépce Heliograph (1827), the earliest photograph produced in a camera obscura that survives today, both remain on permanent display, while thousands of visitors explore the collection through rotating exhibitions in the galleries. Public tours are held every day of the week, and programs and events deepen the public’s engagement with this extraordinary collection.

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