The progress of public programs at the Ransom Center continued this fall unhindered by the dust and noise of the construction project. Despite the postponement of the David Douglas Duncan lecture, fall programs were a great success. Our blockbuster exhibition at the LBJ Library and Museum From Gutenberg to Gone With The Wind: Treasures from the Ransom Center continues to far exceed expectations and can now boast over 100,000 visitors, breaking attendance records for all Ransom Center exhibitions. Group tours continue to attract a wide array of visitors ranging from elementary school children to seniors groups. Though the exhibition is more than halfway to its conclusion, we expect to have more than double the number of current visitors by the time the exhibition closes at the end of April. We have added an exciting program of films and lectures free and open to the public for the spring; please refer to the related article on the first page.
The Leeds Gallery on the fourth floor of the Flawn Academic Center played host to Henry Peach Robinson: Victorian Photographer, an exhibition of nineteenth century combination prints and other works by the noted photographer. The exhibition concluded on December 21 after a well-received run.
In conjunction with Actors From The London Stage (formerly ACTER), the Ransom Center hosted an exhibition of materials related to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Leeds Gallery. In addition, members of the troupe presented readings in the Tom Lea Room at the Ransom Center over several days. This is the third time that the touring group of professional stage actors from London has taken part in activities at The University of Texas at Austin, and the second time that they have participated in events coordinated by the Ransom Center.
The annual Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Lecture took place on October 25 at the LBJ Library's Bass Lecture Hall featuring Paul Needham of the Scheide Library at Princeton. Needham's talk focused on his recent controversial revelations about printing methods used in the production of the Gutenberg Bible. A reception followed the lecture in the Great Hall.
Threatening weather failed to dampen spirits as Poetry off the Plaza settled into its temporary home in the courtyard of Goldsmith Hall on November 14. "Solace in the Writer's Voice," a program of poetry in response to the events of September 11, featured selections including works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Auden, and Frost presented by Ransom Center director Tom Staley, Dr. Gordon Peacock, Dr. Michael Hall, and Stacey Peebles. The event was capped by a stunning a cappella performance of Amazing Grace performed by Daebreon Porter of the Department of Theater and Dance.
Spring will provide a plethora of opportunities for exploring things Ransom-related including new exhibitions, the Treasures exhibition public program, and the rescheduled inaugural David Douglas Duncan lecture. The Ransom Center will take part in the John Steinbeck Centenary with John Steinbeck in His Time: A Centennial Exhibition, an exhibition in the Leeds Gallery of the Flawn Academic Center and an online exhibition of Steinbeck materials, both of which will open in February.
Two of the Center's brightest literary stars will be coming to the University this spring. Sponsored by the James A. Michener Center for Writers and the Ransom Center, the award-winning author Penelope Lively will give a reading of her work on Thursday evening, February 28. Arnold Wesker, one of the leading figures in twentieth century drama, is a speaker at the "Law and Other Performing Arts" symposium at the University of Texas School of Law (March 3-8), and will give a public reading of his work on Tuesday, March 5, at 3:00 in the 4th floor Auditorium at the Ransom Center. We are pleased to collaborate with the Michener Center for Writers and the UT Law School to bring these fine authors to Austin. We look forward to more collaborations in the future.
Please see the articles on all our spring events in this newsletter and reference the calendar of events for further details. Check the Ransom Center Web site for updates and amended schedules.