Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Capital Campaign Progress

Gifts at Work

  • Strengthening Collections and Enhancing Curatorial Excellence

  • Bringing Greater Prominence to the Photography Program

  • Leading the Field in Technology and Digital Services

  • Sustaining Excellence

  • Creating Greater Opportunities for Scholarship


    Gone With the Wind Restoration Project

    The Ransom Center has raised more than $30,000 in donations for the preservation of five dresses from Gone With The Wind. Over 600 people in 44 states and 14 countries have offered their support. The Ransom Center can soon begin the process of restoration, purchase protective housing for the garments, and obtain custom-fitted mannequins. In 2014, the Center plans to display the five dresses, preserved and properly housed, along with other artifacts from the David O. Selznick collection in an exhibition celebrating Gone With The Wind's 75th anniversary.

    Preserving Four Films by Jorge Prelorán

    A $30,000 grant from the Tinker Foundation will support the restoration and preservation of four important films by Jorge Prelorán that compose a series entitled "The Argentine Gaucho Today." The restoration project will not only make the 16 mm color films more accessible but also highlight Prelorán's pioneering use of documentary subjects and influential techniques.

    Plantin Polyglot Bible Acquisition

    The purchase of this rare eight-volume folio was made possible by a major gift from Margaret Hight and a significant contribution from Lucy Ross. Additional support came from the Ransom Center's Carl H. Pforzheimer Endowment.

    Eudora Welty Acquisition

    Gifts from Edmund McIlhenny and Leila Clark Wynn supported the purchase of Eudora Welty's portfolio, Twenty Photographs.

    Film Preservation

    The National Film Preservation Foundation generously provided grants totaling $7,400 to support the restoration of films by Norman Mailer and Fritz Henle.

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

    Janet and Jack Roberts and Jeanne and Van Hoisington supported this publication on the history of the Ransom Center.

    Harry Ransom Centennial Fund for Curatorial Excellence

    In appreciation of the contributions made by Harry Ransom to higher education, American libraries, and to the establishment of a humanities center in Texas, friends, colleagues, and students of Ransom established a fund as a memorial on the anniversary of Ransom's 100th birthday. The Harry Ransom Centennial Fund for Curatorial Excellence supports preeminence in three critical areas: acquisitions across the collections, curatorial excellence, and collaboration with curators from other institutions.

    Ellen Peckham AEVentures Endowed Excellence Fund for Art

    Utilizing a charitable remainder trust, Ellen Peckham has established an endowment to support the Center's art collections.

    From Out That Shadow: Edgar Allen Poe Exhibition

    A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts's Big Read Program provided $19,380 to encourage reading of Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. The book complemented the Center's exhibition commemorating the bicentennial of Poe's birth. The grant provided support for books that were distributed to local students, special performances, exhibition tours, teacher workshops, and a website.

    Norman Bel Geddes Exhibition

    The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a planning grant of $40,000 to support the work of a team of scholars and curators to develop content for the Norman Bel Geddes exhibition scheduled for 2012. Norman Bel Geddes (1893–1958) was a visionary stage designer, director, producer, theater architect, industrial designer, producer of model photography, and author. This gift represents the Center's first federal grant to support an exhibition.

    Norman Bel Geddes Exhibition Catalog and Web Component

    To accompany this exhibition, the Graham Foundation has provided a grant of $15,000 for the creation of an exhibition catalog and corresponding web-based component. The electronic publication, a descriptive and illustrated portfolio of all Bel Geddes's work, enables the project to be more comprehensive and facilitates the addition of new content in the future. The exhibition catalog will include a series of ten essays describing Bel Geddes's key projects and eight thematic essays illustrating his lasting influence on society and culture.

    ¡Viva! Mexico's Independence Exhibition

    In collaboration with The University's Graduate Studies program and the Consulado General de México en Austin, and with sponsorship support by Vianovo and Univision, the Ransom Center presented an exhibition featuring original materials from its collections that illuminate pivotal events in Mexico's struggle for self-governance. The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, two events explored prominently in the exhibition.

    The University Co-op presents the Harry Ransom Lectures

    Supported by a grant of $350,000 over four years, the lecture series brings recognized writers, artists, and intellectuals to campus to deliver a public address or performance and meet with students and faculty during multi-day visits. The program brings at least three distinguished visitors to the campus each year of the grant, many of whom spend three to five days in residence meeting with graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty in seminars, classes, and other forums. Past visitors include Azar Nafisi, David Mamet, Ed Ruscha, and Barry Unsworth.

    The Donald G. Davis, Jr. Endowed Lectures

    Celebrating the career of Don Davis, professor emeritus of the School of Information at The University of Texas, the biennial lecture will focus on the history of collections of knowledge that form the cultural record, libraries and librarianship, archival and records enterprise, documentary preservation and conservation, museum administration, and information studies. The endowment will be funded by gifts from the professor's friends and family and a bequest from Professor Davis.

    Teacher Workshops

    With the annual support of the Harry Bass, Jr. Foundation, the Ransom Center offers workshops for Texas high school teachers, which include sessions with professors and graduate students, a presentation of lesson plans, tours of the current exhibitions, and information on using the Ransom Center as a resource. Teachers leave with lesson plans and a disk of digital materials that they can incorporate into PowerPoint presentations or print as handouts for students.

    Visitor Services Desk

    Thanks to the generosity of Janet and Jack Roberts and Allison and Whit Hanks, staff and volunteers greet guests to the Center from a new visitor information desk. The addition of this desk will allow the Ransom Center to make a greater positive impact on the visitor experience and provide a secure location for on-site membership sales.

    Morris Ernst Papers Cataloging Project

    A grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities for $198,416 supports a two-year project to arrange, describe, and preserve the papers of lawyer Morris Leopold Ernst. Ernst practiced law in New York for more than 60 years and was one of the leading advocates of civil liberties in twentieth-century America. Matching funds of $25,000 were contributed by The Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation.


    Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography Endowment

    A priority of the Culture Unbound: An Investment in Discovery capital campaign is to seek the resources necessary to bring the photography programs and services to a level commensurate with the quality of its collection. Thanks to gifts from the Inman Foundation and the Marlene Meyerson Foundation, the Center has taken a leap forward in photography with the establishment of the Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography Endowment.

    Cold Storage Vault Project

    An internal University grant award for $500,000 from LERR (Library Equipment Repair and Renovation) is funding the construction of a cold storage vault and purchase of fixtures to preserve cellulose acetate-based photographic negatives, motion picture film, magnetic audio and video tape, and color transparencies from the Center's collections. A generous gift from Judith and William Bollinger, Singapore, is supporting the additional staff, preservation housing supplies, and collection storage equipment required to relocate collection material to the new state-of-the-art vault. An additional $432,000 for temporary staff and supplies will complete the project.

    Friends of Photography and the Friends of Photography Acquisitions Endowment

    In 2010, the Ransom Center will form a support group for members with an interest in photography and the Center's photography collections. Members can join the group by making a gift of at least $300 each year to the Friends of Photography Acquisitions Endowment. Lifetime members make a contribution of $25,000 or more to the endowment. Each year, new collection material will be acquired with funds provided by the endowment. Contributions to the new Friends of Photography Acquisitions Endowment totaled $46,805 in March 2010 thanks to lead gifts from the William and Salome Scanlan Foundation and William Russell Young III.

    David Douglas Duncan

    Photojournalist David Douglas Duncan, whose archive is part of the photography collection, made an additional major gift to provide general photography support.

    Preserving the Itinerant Photographer Collection

    A grant of $14,389 from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission provided the support needed to preserve, describe, and provide access to a hidden Texas treasure. The itinerant photographer collection, part of the Center's photography holdings, contains 475 Depression-era glass plate negatives depicting numerous local businesses, owners, and employees in Corpus Christi, Texas, all made by an unidentified photographer working in February 1934. Making this collection available is particularly important because of the appeal and research potential it holds due to the current financial recession and increased interest in the history of the Great Depression.

    In Search of Beauty: Fritz Henle Exhibition and Publication

    One corporation, Ajax Fine Arts, and two foundations, Culture Dog Foundation and Lucky Star Foundation, provided generous support for the 2009 exhibition and catalog featuring the photography of Fritz Henle.

    Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection Exhibition and Catalog

    Sponsored in part by Precision Camera, the exhibition will highlight key moments in the history of photography, important technological and ideological shifts in the act of picture making, and narratives that served the Gernsheims as key points of collecting. Support from The Hite Foundation, William Russell Young III, Janet and Jack Roberts, Jeanne and Van Hoisington, and Margaret Hight will result in a major publication documenting this historic archive.


    Technology Internship Bridge Funding

    Grants from the Dorot Foundation provide bridge funding for the Center's technology internship program for graduate students in the humanities. The Dorot Foundation provided the lead gift for the pilot project. The initial grant, together with matching funds from Mr. and Mrs. David Garten and the Zarrow Foundation, launched the first two years of the program. A subsequent grant from the Dorot Foundation, with matching funds, ensures the continuation of the technology internship program for another two years while the Center seeks support for a $500,000 endowment to fund the internship program permanently.

    Technology Equipment Upgrades

    A gift from Jeanne and Van Hoisington supported a major upgrade to sound systems in the Prothro Theater, improving the volume and quality of sound, eliminating feedback, and expanding the soundboard capacity for microphone configurations and technology interfaces. The gift supported the purchase and installation of a 24-channel mixer, equalizers, monitor speakers, a transmitter system, microphones, and an antenna power distribution system.


    Mark and Suzanne Vollette

    The Volettes contributed a generous gift in the form of a portion of The Mark and Suzanne Vollette Charitable Foundation's annual distribution to support the Ransom Center and the Director's initiatives.

    Conservation and Preservation Programs

    The Booth Heritage Foundation's $1,000,000 gift is dedicated to sustaining the excellence of the Ransom Center's conservation and preservation programs. It will provide five years of salary support for two new positions, an Assistant Photograph Conservator and a Digital Preservation Coordinator.

    The Assistant Photograph Conservator will work with the Senior Photograph Conservator to expand the volume of photograph conservation, to increase the number of interns and students trained in photograph conservation skills, and to ensure that expertise and knowledge in photograph conservation is shared with peers, interns, students, and future generations of conservators.

    The Digital Preservation Coordinator will engage with library, archive, and museum managers worldwide in ongoing efforts to develop standards and best practices for the preservation and management of digital collections. The Coordinator will collaborate with the Ransom Center's curators, preservation technicians, archivists, and public services staff on the acquisition, preservation, description, access, and exhibition of digital collections.

    The gift will also establish a Conservation and Preservation Programs Excellence Fund, supporting initiatives such as staff participation in conservation and preservation workshops, meetings, conferences, and programs; the development of a Digital Preservation Management System; and the establishment of internships in conservation and digital preservation.

    Robert and Edna Grace Trotti

    The Trottis made a generous bequest to support the Director's initiatives at the Harry Ransom Center.

    Charlotte Rhodes Estate

    Former Advisory Council member, Charlotte Rhodes, supported the Director's initiatives through a generous bequest.

    Ransom Center Advisory Council

    As of March 22, 2010, active and alumni members of the Advisory Council have contributed a total of $3,478,961 since the launch of the campaign on September 1, 2006. Some of these gifts support special projects but most provide unrestricted support for the Director's initiatives.

    Ransom Center Membership

    As of March 22, 2010, membership gifts have provided more than $207,447 in unrestricted support for institutional priorities since the launch of the campaign on September 1, 2006.


    The Frederic Weinstein Fellowship in Modern Literature

    Created by Suzanne Weinstein to honor her husband, the endowment will support scholarly research in the area of twentieth-century American literature by providing one- to three-month travel and housing stipends for visiting fellows.

    Fred W. Todd Southern Literature Endowment Fund

    Created by Fred Todd through a planned gift, the endowment will support scholarly research in the area of Southern literature by providing one- to three-month travel and housing stipends for visiting fellows.


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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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