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In the News


2003


Associated Press

"1826 Image Gets Its Own Close-Up"
November 21, 2003

The piece centers on the results of scientifically examining the First Photograph. Undertaken in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute, the Ransom Center sought to determine the condition of the photograph. The testing also produced a new, unmanipulated image of the First Photograph, minus any manual retouching. Reporter Andrew Bridges notes that the photograph was "rediscovered" in 1952 and the Ransom Center acquired it in 1963.


Texas Monthly

"King's Ransom"
October 2003

Author John Spong's piece touts the holdings, and assesses the legacy of Director Thomas F. Staley, who "has pushed the HRC to take a chance on the first editions of contemporary authors like Jonathan Franzen and the McSweeney's crowd." It says the "the only university libraries consistently mentioned in the same breath are the Beinecke at Yale and the Houghton at Harvard" and calls the photography collection "one of the finest in the world." Ten shots of collection items accompany the story, among them: e.e. cummings' paint box, Napoleon's death mask, and a postcard from Jean Cocteau.


Los Angeles Times

"A Library Unlocks Its Attic"
August 5, 2003

The front-page story says the Ransom Center renovation "mirrors a trend by exhibiting its trove of literary papers and artifacts, both scholarly and mundane" and cites similar efforts undertaken by peer institutions like the Morgan Library, the Huntington Library and the Getty Research Institute. It includes images of such holdings as the Norman Bel Geddes automobile model, Gloria Swanson's "Sunset Boulevard" sunglasses and a certificate Napoleon signed conferring the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on Camille Frederick Gaulieu in 1812. The article also hints at the creative trajectories captured in the archives: "The center's D.H. Lawrence files, for instance, show the novelist's three false starts in trying to title that book about Lady Chatterley: 'Tenderness," "My Lady's Keeper" and 'John Thomas and Lady Jane.'"


Associated Press

"Texas Puts Gutenberg Bible on Internet"
July 13, 2003

Joining a handful of other international institutions that have digitized rare surviving copies of the Gutenberg Bible, the Ransom Center has made theirs accessible on the web. Richard Oram, head librarian at the Ransom, has called this version, "the most interesting in the world." Digitizing began in June 2002, with the final product providing more than 7,000 images to the public.


The Guardian

"Britain specialises in the vandalism of heritage"
May 5, 2003

Columnist John Sutherland devotes his opening paragraphs to the looting of the Baghdad National Museum but says "there is more than one kind of vandalism. We, in Britain, specialise in the vandalism of indifference." The result is that the country is losing the papers of its contemporary writers to American institutions, the Ransom Center chief among them. Sutherland cites the Center's renovation and aggressive acquisitions as evidence of its clout. "There are those who cast institutions such as the Ransom Center as genteel brigands — looters with bulging wallets rather than AK47s. They are not. They do what we should be doing and they do it superbly well."


Washington Post

"Watergate Papers Sold for $5 Million"
April 8, 2003

The story focuses on the financial magnitude of the acquisition — "one of the largest such purchases in American history" — and says "it surprised some academic and archives directors, who could not cite a comparable price paid to a living author for written materials." Explains Director Thomas F. Staley: "We were offered a fair price, and we felt this was the range... This is a part of history." The piece reports that Woodward and Bernstein agreed to participate in symposia and fund a "$500,000 endowment at the university for the study of Watergate, journalistic ethics, and the archive itself."


Travel and Leisure

"Only in Texas"
April 2003

Writer Jim Lewis calls the Center "one of the best kept secrets in the nation" and says "its collection of literary and photographic artifacts is surpassed in size and quality only by those of the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library." He then delves into the means by which founder Harry Ransom acquired so many collections and the reactions his methods drew: "The British and the French complained that these Texans were pillaging their heritage."


The New York Times

"Lifting the Lid on a Treasure Chest"
February 4, 2003

The article leads with an anecdote about Marlon Brando's address book, which it calls "part of the collection of literary and cultural treasures" at the Ransom Center. It uses the renovations to profile a Center that Ferdinand Mount, former editor of the Times Literary Supplement, says is so preeminent "there's nowhere like it in the U.S.A. and its only rival for 20th century material in Britain is the British Library." The piece highlights the collection, quotes peer institution officials for context, and ends with Director Thomas F. Staley saying: "Acquisition never stops. The difference is that now we're finally going to be able to show off our collection in a real museum setting."


Media Contacts for members of the press

Jennifer Tisdale
Director of Public Affairs
Phone: 512-471-8949
Cell: 512-921-0845
Fax: 512-471-9646
jentisdale@utexas.edu

Suzanne Krause
Public Affairs Representative
Phone: 512-471-6406
Cell: 512-348-4055
Fax: 512-471-9646
skrause@utexas.edu

Harry Ransom Center
The University of Texas at Austin
P.O. Box 7219
Austin TX 78713-7219

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