Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2014

The World at War, 1914–1918 February 11 – August 3, 2014

Drawing on the Ransom Center's extensive cultural collections, this exhibition illuminates the experience of the "the war to end war" from the point of view of its participants and observers, preserved for a twenty-first-century generation through letters, drafts, and diaries; memoirs and novels; photographs and works produced by battlefield artists; and propaganda posters and films.

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Fall 2013

Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age September 10, 2013 – January 5, 2014

This exhibition of approximately 300 works investigates the evolution of Magnum Photos from print photojournalism to the digital age, revealing a global cooperative in continual flux, persistently exploring new relationships between photographers, their subjects, and their viewers.

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James Turrell: Deep Sky October 15 – December 13, 2013

This exhibition features seven aquatints created by Turrell in collaboration with the publisher Peter Blum Edition. The prints feature renderings of Roden Crater, the artist's decades-long project of transforming an extinct volcano in Arizona into a multi-chambered environment for experiencing the perceptual qualities of light. Two books that explore the life and work of Turrell, as well as a topographical map of Roden Crater and its surroundings, will also be on display.


Eli Reed: The Lost Boys of Sudan October 22 – December 8, 2013

In 2001, Eli Reed (b. 1946) traced the path of some of the more than 20,000 "Lost Boys," as aid workers have called them, some as young as five years old, forced to flee after their families were massacred or enslaved during the Second Sudanese Civil War. Wandering the equatorial wilderness between Sudan and Ethiopia for years on foot, those who survived starvation and disease eventually reached a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, where over 3,000 of them awaited resettlement through a United Nations partnership with the U. S. State Department. Reed's powerful series documents their journey as they leave the camp and adjust to life in the United States, acclimating to a starkly different culture and a new world of formidable challenges.

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Summer 2013

Literature and Sport June 11 – August 4, 2013

This exhibition showcases the literature of sport through fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. Organized by sport, the exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of literary writing about baseball, football, boxing, tennis, cricket, bullfighting, and other sports. Corrected drafts, handwritten manuscripts, letters, photographs, books, art, and other items—all drawn from the Ransom Center's diverse collections—offer visitors a unique, rarely seen view of these works and their authors' creative processes.

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Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive June 11 – August 4, 2013

This exhibition was created in cooperation with the Lakes Were Rivers collective, an Austin-based group of artists working in photography and video. Members of the collective created a body of work influenced in some way by the Ransom Center—its space, its purpose, its collections. Approximately 50 new works are displayed alongside Ransom Center collection materials chosen by the artists. The pairings highlight how archives and cultural collections stimulate new ideas and creative acts.

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Spring 2013

Arnold Newman: Masterclass February 12 – May 12, 2013

Over the course of nearly seven decades, Arnold Newman (1918–2006) created iconographic portraits of some of the most influential innovators, celebrities, and cultural figures of the twentieth century. Featuring more than 200 of these well-known masterworks, Arnold Newman: Masterclass also includes rarely seen work prints and contact sheets that provide unique glimpses into the development of the vision of this master of portrait photography.

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Fall 2012

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America September 11, 2012 – January 6, 2013

Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) was an innovative stage and industrial designer, futurist, and urban planner who, more than any designer of his era, created and promoted a dynamic vision of the future—streamlined, technocratic, and optimistic. This exhibition explores the career of this complex and influential man through approximately fifty projects from the Ransom Center's Bel Geddes collection.

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Basketball: Power in Play September 18 – December 9, 2012

This display features photographs from the 1940s through the 1960s from the Harry Ransom Center's New York Journal-American collection. The photographs depict various perspectives on the game, such as women in basketball, wheelchair basketball, the Harlem Globetrotters, and training and techniques, as well as images of incredible shots and blunders.


Spring 2012

The King James Bible: Its History and Influence February 28 – July 29, 2012

Four centuries after its first printing, the King James Bible (1611) remains one of the most influential books in the English language. The Harry Ransom Center, with the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford, presents the compelling story of how this translation came into being and its profound effect on our language and culture.

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Fall 2011

Banned, Burned, Seized, and Censored September 6, 2011 – January 22, 2012

How did hundreds of thousands of books, pictures, plays, and magazines come to be banned, burned, seized, and censored in the span of less than 30 years? This exhibition reveals the rarely seen "machinery" of censorship in the United States between the two world wars.

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The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door:
A Portal to Bohemia, 1920-1925
September 6, 2011 – January 22, 2012

As early as 1921, noteworthy visitors to Frank Shay's bookshop, located at 4 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village, began signing the narrow door that opened onto the store's back room. When the shop closed in 1925, manager Juliette Koenig preserved the door and, with it, a revelatory slice of cultural history.

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Spring 2011

Becoming Tennessee Williams February 1, 2011 – July 31, 2011

This centenary exhibition draws on the Ransom Center's extensive collection of Tennessee Williams manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and artwork to explore the idea, act, and process of artistic creation, illuminating how Thomas Lanier Williams became Tennessee Williams.

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Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century February 1, 2011 – July 31, 2011

Highlighting major acquisitions of the past decade, the exhibition demonstrates how the Center builds a collection of interrelated archives that strengthen and give context to one another.

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Fall 2010

Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection September 7, 2010 – January 2, 2011

This exhibition is made up of two complementary and interweaving narratives—the history of photography as told through the Gernsheim collection's imagery, and the history of the collection's formation and methodology.

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Spring 2010

Making Movies February 9 – August 1, 2010

Featuring items from the Ransom Center's extensive film collections, Making Movies reveals the collaborative nature of the filmmaking process and focuses on how the artists involved—from writers to directors, actors to cinematographers—transform the written word into moving image.

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¡Viva! Mexico's Independence February 9 – August 1, 2010

The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, pivotal events in Mexico's struggle for self-governance.

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Fall 2009

From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe September 8, 2009 – January 3, 2010

Documents Poe's career as a writer, his romantic relationships and mysterious death, the decline and rehabilitation of his literary reputation and his profound influence on mystery and detective fiction and other genres.

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Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works September 8, 2009 – January 3, 2010

Displays how the historical role of astronomy has come to influence the way the modern world is perceived.

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Spring 2009

"The Persian Sensation: 'The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám' in the West" February 3, 2009 – August 2, 2009

Explores how a translation of a Persian poem went from obscurity to celebrity in British and American culture.

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Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty February 3, 2009 – August 2, 2009

Featuring more than 125 seminal works that span the six decades of Henle's career, the exhibition documents his enduring quest to find beauty in all forms of artistic genres.

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Fall 2008

The Mystique of the Archive September 2, 2008 – January 4, 2009

Traces the life of an archive in an institution, demonstrating how collections are acquired, cataloged, preserved and how they support the quest for knowledge and endlessly yield new discoveries.

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A Cabinet of Drawings September 2, 2008 – January 4, 2009

Preliminary drawings, designs, book illustrations, illustrated letters, landscapes and portraiture by internationally recognized artists, architects, designers, scientists and literary greats.

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Spring 2008

On the Road with the Beats February 5 – August 3, 2008

A journey through the cities, landscapes, and communities that fostered and shaped the most important works of the Beat Generation, from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s.

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Jess: To and From the Printed Page February 12 – April 6, 2008

Collage works and paintings by artist Burgess Collins ("Jess") which draw inspiration from the San Francisco culture and the works of his literary heroes, including the poet Robert Duncan. Organized by iCI.

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Inside El Salvador April 17 – August 3, 2008

An exhibition of photographs chronicling the daily life of civilians in El Salvador in 1983 at the height of its 12-year civil war along with 30 photographs by Donna DeCesare documenting the war’s aftermath.

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Fall 2007

Rehearsing the American Dream: Arthur Miller's Critical Theater September 4 – December 30, 2007

Uses Miller's plays to explore conscience in its theatrical expression: as an intertwined and interdependent political and emotional life.

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Dress Up: Portrait and Performance in Victorian Photography September 4 – December 30, 2007

Features portrait and genre photography of the Victorian period that typically employs vivid artifice and unconcealed theatricality, placing it in opposition to today's conventional portraiture.

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Spring 2007

Joe Ely's Bonfire of Roadmaps March 1 – April 2, 2007

An installation of drawings and poetic text by the Texas musician Joe Ely drawn from journals he kept as he toured across America and Europe.

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The American Twenties January 30 – July 29, 2007

An exploration of the decade through the literature and art that was to become quintessentially American and quintessentially modern.

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Fall 2006

Norman Mailer Takes On America September 5 – December 31, 2006

Featuring more than 200 items, the exhibition emphasizes iconic events and people from the 1940s through the 1970s—icons that Mailer's writings have drawn upon and reshaped for his reading public.


Feliks Topolski: Portraits of Britain's Twentieth-Century Literary Greats September 5 – December 31, 2006

Brings together for the first time all twenty Topolski portraits of British writers commissioned by the Ransom Center in 1960.


Spring 2006

The Image Wrought: Historical Photographic Approaches in the Digital Age January 31 – August 6, 2006

Examines the seeming paradox of contemporary photographers utilizing archaic photographic practices in the digital age.


Technologies of Writing January 31 – August 6, 2006

Explores the history, style, and technologies of writing from its earliest form to the present.


Fall 2005

Ansel Adams: A Legacy August 9, 2005 – January 1, 2006

A comprehensive survey of Adams's artistic career including 126 dramatic vistas of Yosemite Valley and the Southwest, a variety of portraits of Georgia O'Keeffe and others, intimate close-ups of nature, and architectural views.


Spring 2005

Shooting Stars: The Golden Age of Hollywood Portraiture, 1925-1950 January 11 – April 3, 2005

Shows how the Hollywood studio system created larger-than-life popular images of actors and actresses.


Fashioning Celebrity: Photographs of George Platt Lynes January 11 – April 3, 2005

Features photographs by George Platt Lynes, considered one of the earliest and most significant photographers of celebrity and style in America during the 1930s and 40s.


Place: Photographs of Environment and Community April 19 – July 17, 2005

Contemporary American photographers, many working in Texas, explore the notion of "place"—a space invested with personal meaning and complex relationships. While some of the photographers in this exhibit focus on particular rural or urban communities, others depict interactions between people and the natural environment.


Images of the World: Maps, Globes, and Atlases April 5 – July 17, 2005

This exhibition presents early cartographic treasures from the Ransom Center's collections, including the first printed map of the world (1472), a portolan chart used by early Portuguese navigators, a rare manuscript map (1610) of the Virginia coastline, and two magnificent globes of the earth and sky by Vincenzo Maria Coronelli.


The Muse in Motion: Travel Literature through the Centuries April 5 – July 17, 2005

This exhibition features historically influential travel books and manuscripts that demonstrate the universal currency of travel writing—its purposes, its utility, and its popular appeal. The selections span continents, centuries, and genres, ranging from early travel guide books and texts about the search for the Northwest Passage and Americans in Europe.


The Battle for the Eastern Front: Photographs from the William Broyles, Jr. Collection May 10 – July 17, 2005

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, this exhibition of photographs documents Russia's involvement in the War, from Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union to the fall of Berlin. These dramatic images of war and liberation are a recent gift to the Ransom Center.


In Flight: Artists' Books, Fine Bindings, and Broadsides May 10 – July 17, 2005

This juried, traveling exhibition explores the art and process of bookmaking with fine bindings and calligraphy, focusing on flight and aviation. Organized by the Guild of Book Workers, the show commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight. The exhibition concludes its national tour at the Ransom Center.


Fall 2004

Writing Among the Ruins: Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh October 5 – March 20, 2004

Examines the lives and literary achievements of Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, two of the greatest English novelists of the 20th century.


Miguel Covarrubias: A Certain Clairvoyance October 19, 2004 – April 24, 2005

Focuses on the art of modern caricature and this Mexican renaissance artist's drawings, paintings, books, and book illustrations.


Walker Evans and James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men November 2 – December 12, 2004

Features original manuscripts by James Agee and photographs by Walker Evans generated by their historic collaboration on this critical 1930s study of American culture.


Spring 2004

20 x 20: Twenty American Poets of the Twentieth Century April 6 – September 19, 2004

Explores how twenty American poets harnessed the power of poetry to help define the temper of a century marked by deep violence, technological advancement, and political upheaval.


Collaborative Spirit: Prints, Presses, & Deluxe Artists' Books April 6 – October 3, 2004

A survey of important late twentieth-century fine prints arising out of collaborations between writers and artists.


Photography's Turning Point: The Journal Camera Work April 20 – October 17, 2004

From 1903 to 1917 this important photographic journal promoted a dramatic shift in artistic photography from early pictorial work to modern images of the urban landscape.


Go Out and Look: The Photography of Russell Lee April 20 – October 17, 2004

Highlights the many aspects of Russell Lee's career, beginning with his 1930s work with the U.S. Farm Security Administration and culminating with his work as an active member of The University of Texas and Austin photographic communities.


Fall 2003

Make It New: The Rise of Modernism October 21, 2003 – March 7, 2004

Encourages a greater understanding of this movement in the arts that dominated the first half of the twentieth century.


Summer 2003

In a New Light May 13 – September 14, 2003

The Ransom Center's first exhibition in its renovated gallery space shines a new light on 300 of the Center's most important collection items—works by artists and authors who left an indelible imprint on our cultural heritage.



Fall 2000

"To Help the World to See:" An Eliot Elisofon Retrospective September 14 – December 18, 2000

A career retrospective about this American photographer, artist, art collector, author, and filmmaker. Elisofon joined the staff of Life magazine in 1942 as a war photographer-correspondent. He was also know for his experiments with color control and worked as a color consultant to the film industry.

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Spring 2000

Islands of Order: A Decade of Collecting January 1 – June 30, 2000

An exhibition highlighting collection items acquired by the Ransom Center between 1989 and 1999.

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Fall 1999

Aunt Dicy Tales: John Biggers' Drawings for the Folktale September 15, 1999 – January 15, 2000

An exhibition of the original 16 drawings by John Biggers used to illustrate a folk tale recorded by J. Mason Brewer.

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