The year 2007 marks a major milestone for the Ransom Center, its fiftieth anniversary. In 1957, Harry Ransom began to transform the modest Rare Books Collection at The University of Texas into what would become one of the nation's premier institutions for the study of the arts and humanities. Fifty years later, we are poised to celebrate the remarkable evolution of the Center.
Beginning in January and running through the spring, the Ransom Center will host a series of events that reflect the diversity of our collections and the range of our public programs. The first of these events will be a one-day conference on the recently deposited Deep Throat portion of the Watergate papers. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, along with faculty members and other speakers, will discuss the significance of Deep Throat and larger issues raised by the Watergate break-in and its aftermath. The development of this program will be guided by a committee of faculty members from various fields of study. Formed upon the acquisition of the papers, the committee includes Bruce Buchanan (Government), Frank Gavin (LBJ School of Public Affairs), Rod Hart (Dean of the College of Communication), and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Oshinsky (History). Oshinsky replaced President William Powers, who served on the committee when he was Dean of the Law School.
Following the Watergate program, we will celebrate the opening of a major collection for research in film: the archive of movie legend Robert De Niro. Throughout the months of February, March, and April, we will host a number of literary events, including a poetry reading and lecture by Dana Gioia, the current chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. In our galleries, we will feature an exhibition on The American Twenties. In April, our celebration will culminate with a gala and the completion of our capital campaign.
Fifty years is a short time on history's clock, especially when measuring the legacies of libraries and museums. One of the most remarkable things about the Ransom Center is that so much has been achieved in such a short time. With that thought in mind, we see this anniversary as not only a time of celebration but also an opportunity to look forward to the next fifty years of advancing the world of ideas and the imagination.
Our anniversary year will be a grand celebration of literature, music, and art. We welcome you to fine cultural feast.
—Thomas F. Staley