Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Summer 2001 Newsletter

A Window into a Remarkable World

Photograph of Stephen Smith by Pete Smith.
Stephen Smith. Photograph by Pete Smith.

Photograph of a sunlit window.

It's been almost three years since I started working at the Ransom Center. I can honestly say that what I've seen from inside the world of manuscripts, rare books, archives and special collections has been fascinating.

I had first-hand experience in running the Fleur Cowles Flair Symposium in the fall of 2000, which brought together hundreds of library professionals for a two-day conference focusing on the future of the library in the twenty-first century. The success of the symposium further confirmed the Center's national and international reputation as a leader in the field.

My greatest enjoyment always came with the acquisition of archives. At least once a week, as I would enter Tom Staley's office to handle correspondence, there would be a glint in his eye after getting off the phone with New York or London. I knew what this meant: a choice manuscript was up for sale, or a bundle of letters thought for decades to be lost had been uncovered in the attic of an author's cousin-in-law, or an important writer had hinted that he or she was leaning just a little bit further toward placing an archive at the Ransom Center.

It is with mixed emotions that I leave the Ransom Center, but well aware that my position at the Center offered me a window onto a remarkable world.

— Stephen Smith

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