Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Galleries will be open this weekend and on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.
Please note that administrative offices and the Reading Room will be closed in observance of the holiday.


Vaudeville! January 29–July 15, 2018

For more than a century, vaudeville was the most popular form of American entertainment and one of the country's largest cultural exports. Performances on the vaudeville stage included comic sketches, acrobatics, animal tricks, magic, blackface performance, celebrity appearances, early film, and more. Shows featuring immigrant acts, racial stereotypes, and frequent appeals to nationalism defined a complex and often problematic sense of American identity at the turn of the 19th century.

The exhibition features the Ransom Center's extensive holdings of Harry Houdini, Tony Pastor, and Florenz Ziegfeld, among others, to show the development of vaudeville's highly organized form and its long-lasting impact on contemporary film, television, and comedy.

Read the Wall Street Journal's review of Vaudeville!

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Stories to Tell

Stories to Tell: Selections from the Harry Ransom Center REVOLVING EXHIBITION ALWAYS ON VIEW

What is the Harry Ransom Center? The answer to this question reveals a cultural institution with a variety of roles – an internationally renowned humanities research center, rare book library, archives, conservation laboratory, and museum. Seemingly complex, the Ransom Center operates on a simple proposition – to share and celebrate the creative process.

The extraordinary collection represents a deep well of creativity and reveals how leading literary figures, photographers, artists, actors, and filmmakers created their works – from genesis of an idea to completion of a masterpiece. Many stories can be told from the Center's extensive holdings. This exhibition reveals some of those stories.

Currently, the exhibition features items from a range of collections including:

Visit throughout the year to see changing displays of artifacts, photographs, and documents.

Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible is the first substantial book printed from movable type on a printing press. The Ransom Center holds one of five complete copies in the United States.

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First Photograph

First Photograph

The First Photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. The image depicts the view from an upstairs window at Niépce's estate, Le Gras, in the Burgundy region of France.

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