Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Capital Campaign

Bringing Greater Prominence to the Photography Program

One of the great qualities of the Ransom Center's collections, and one that the late photographer Richard Avedon observed when he visited the Center in 2003, is that they relate and give context to one another, enabling us to take a broad look at literature, culture, and art and understand it more completely. The Center has long been recognized for its literary collections, but it is also home to one of the finest photography collections in the world, a collection that not only visually captures the great figures, events, and achievements represented in our literary collections but also stands alone on its own merits. From the world's first photograph by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to the latest explorations of technique and modern artistry, the Center's photography collection spans the history of the medium and reveals a broad range of visual expression. This historic collection is complemented by an active acquisitions program, which has added major collections by photojournalist David Douglas Duncan and photographer Arnold Newman, among others.

Friends of Photography

In order to provide special support for Photography acquisition, the Center will establish a support group, Friends of Photography, and a dedicated photography acquisitions fund, the Friends of Photography Acquisitions Endowment. To learn more about the Friends of Photography support group, to become a member, or to contribute to the Friends of Photography Acquisitions Endowment, visit Friends of Photography.

Endowed Curator of Photography

A priority of this campaign is to seek the resources necessary to bring the Center's photography programs and services to a level commensurate with the quality of its collection. The Center will begin by establishing an endowment to support a curatorial position in photography and increase support for photography departmental priorities, including acquisitions, publications in the new Ransom Center Photography Series, and programming. The Center has already raised $1 million toward this goal and is seeking matching funds.

Endowed Photograph Conservator

The Center will also raise funds to enhance conservation services for the photography collections. The Center will establish an endowment to support the work and professional development of a photograph conservator, enabling the ongoing development of the conservator's skill and knowledge and the sharing of expertise with peers, interns, and students worldwide. To ensure the preservation of collection materials for generations to come, the Center will enhance its conservation services, in part by purchasing and installing a cold storage unit to house properly and preserve photographic negatives, color transparencies, motion picture film, and audio and magnetic tape materials in the collections.

Endowed Graduate Photography Internship

Furthermore, to prepare a new generation of leaders in the field, the Center will establish a graduate internship in photography that will provide a unique opportunity for outstanding graduate students to work with a world-class photography collection. These students, in turn, will bring new ideas and energy to the photography department.

Learn more about the photography collection


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For information on the capital campaign or to request a brochure, please contact Margie Rine at 512-471-9643 or margierine@austin.utexas.edu.

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Photograph of feathers

Anna Atkins, Specimen of Cyanotype – Peacock [feathers], 1845. Cyanotype.

Man with camera

David Douglas Duncan looking through camera fitted with prismatic lens, between 1963 and 1972. Photo by Sheila Duncan.

Woman looking through microscope

Barbara Brown, Head of Photograph Conservation, surface cleaning a portrait of British author Ivy Compton-Burnett, a contemporary of Virginia Woolf and of Evelyn Waugh. Photo by Eric Beggs.