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Collecting the Imagination: The First Fifty Years of the Ransom Center

Book Cover

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Ransom Center has published a richly illustrated chronicle of its history. This work traces the Center's growth from the founding of the University, when the administration began to collect library materials to support the research of its students and faculty, to the birth of Harry Ransom's idea to establish a research center in the humanities that would be for the state of Texas what the Bibliothéque Nationale is for France. This history follows the execution of Ransom's idea and the explosive growth of the collections under his leadership. It describes the evolution of the Center under a succession of directors, librarians, and curators over the past fifty years, and the rise of its reputation. Perhaps most important, this work tells the story of the Center's collections, not only how they came from disparate corners of the world to reside in the heart of Texas, but also the philosophy behind their acquisition and the Center's commitment to share its holdings—from the Gutenberg Bible and the first photograph to the manuscripts of James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Tennessee Williams, and Norman Mailer—with the public.

A collaboration of several staff members, Collecting the Imagination: The First Fifty Years of the Ransom Center is available for purchase in the Ransom Center's online store.