What's your history with the Harry Ransom Center?


DD Watkins - 25 years ago

About 25 years ago, I called the curator of the HRC and asked him how I could best preserve my wedding pictures because I was making my own wedding album. We talked about archival tissue paper to be placed between each of the matted pages I was cutting, to protect the fronts of the photos, and a polyethylene sheet of plastic to protect the backs. These items I purchased from an art supply house no longer on sixth street and a mail-order company in New York. What a nice person the curator was to have taken time for my call. My husband and I still cherish our wedding album today.

DD Watkins

Mike Kelly - Samuel Beckett

As an eager young Intern at the HRC I was constantly amazed at the books, manuscripts, and other objects I got to work with on a daily basis. During my first week I was asked to pull together the materials for a Shakespeare class visit. I found myself very very carefully pushing a book truck filled with Shakespeare quartos and folios.

As a great fan of Samuel Beckett I was amazed when I discovered the HRC holds his original MS notebooks for Godot. I eagerly found and opened the box where they are kept only to be crushed when I realized Samuel Beckett has the most illegible handwriting I've ever seen. I couldn't make out a single word, but the doodles were nice.

Nick Hernandez

I came across the idea for the HRC in the proceedings from the 1950's (I think) of The Philosophical Society of Texas when I was a student doing a paper. It is overwhelming to reflect on everything that the idea has become.

I loved "The Infinite Library" (Fleur Cowles Flair Symposium 2000), and I have kept in contact with some of the incredible people that were there.

One of my favorite memories was sitting down with George Eliot's translation of Ludwig Feuerbach's "The Essence of Christianity."

Dr. Maria X. Wells - The beginnings of the HRC

In 1957, Dr. Warren Roberts was teaching at the University of Pisa, where I was a student. He informed me of a reasearch library that Dr. Ransom had envisioned for the University of Teaxas, and he invited me to come to UT, after completing my Doctoral degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures, to teach Italian and Spanish and do research on the unique papers of American and British authors that they were collecting. I accepted the invitation. Little did I know that years later, I would become the Curator of the Italian Collections, at Dr. Ransom's invitation, and have the privilege of being part of this great Research Institution.

I have shared this wealth of resources with my students and at International Conferences, in the US and Europe.

Cindy Rainwater McLaughlin - Worker Bee

I had the privilege of being a clerk in the big cataloging effort of the 1970's. In the course of my employment I had the opportunity to see and touch some of the most amazing works of art ever produced by man. It changed me in ways I cannot begin to explain. I am so grateful for the experience. Here's to 50 more!