Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2009 Newsletter

Recent Acquisitions

Files from the Larson collection. Click to enlarge.

Files from the Larson collection.

Playbills and other theater ephemera in the Larson collection. Click to enlarge.

Playbills and other theater ephemera in the Larson collection.

Ransom Center staff inspect the Larson collection upon its arrival at the Ransom Center. Click to enlarge.

Ransom Center staff inspect the Larson collection
upon its arrival at the Ransom Center.

Photo of Charles R. Larson by Roberta Rubenstein.

Photo of Charles R. Larson
by Roberta Rubenstein.

The Ransom Center has acquired an extensive collection of African, African-American, and Native-American literature from Charles R. Larson, a professor at American University who is highly regarded for his work on African and Third World writers. Throughout his career, Larson befriended many of the writers featured in his collection, corresponded with them, and anthologized many of their works.

The collection includes approximately 1,500 books, many of them signed and inscribed; rare publications; African and African-American journals; news clippings; photographs; Native-American literature; and unique manuscripts and letters.

Printed highlights include substantial runs of African literary magazines, such as the foundational Nigerian journal Black Orpheus, and more than 120 Onitsha Market pamphlets, an important form of Nigerian popular literature."

Manuscript highlights include correspondence with novelist Bessie Head and the Somali novelist Nuruddin Falah; the FBI file on Richard Wright; signed copies of typescripts of three of Wole Soyinka's early plays and his poem "Telephone Conversation;" and the manuscript of the unpublished autobiography of Cyprian Ekwensi, Nigeria's most prolific popular writer.

With its diversity, comprehensiveness, and abundance of rare materials, this collection will undoubtedly enrich the research of scholars, faculty, and graduate students in the fields of African, African-American, and Native-American Studies. The collection fills many gaps in the Ransom Center's holdings and complements its African collections, which include the archives of Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola and the Transcription Center, among others. With its diversity, comprehensiveness, and abundance of rare materials, this collection will undoubtedly enrich the research of scholars, faculty, and graduate students in the fields of African, African-American, and Native-American Studies. The collection fills many gaps in the Ransom Center's holdings and complements its African collections, which include the archives of Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola and the Transcription Center, among others.

Other recent acquisitions include:

- Dvorah and Joseph Telushkin's collection of Isaac Bashevis Singer material, including notebooks, manuscripts, correspondence, and photographs

- The Mel Gussow collection, the full archive of the former New York Times theater critic

- A collection of scripts, contracts, correspondence, costumes, and interview material related to the work of actress Ann Savage, star of the film noir classic Detour

- Elizabeth Bowen's letters to Charles Ritchie, extending throughout their 30-year affair

- The papers of Hilary Masters, novelist and author of Last Stands, a memoir of his family and father, the poet Edgar Lee Masters


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