Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Spring 2009 Newsletter

Director's Note

Thomas F. Staley

Thomas F. Staley

The highlight of the fall semester was our 8th-biennial Fleur Cowles Flair Symposium. The symposium brought together writers, archivists, rare book and manuscript dealers, and institutional directors to discuss the challenges we all confront in the changing world of archives. With speakers and attendees from institutions throughout the U.S. and England, the symposium resulted in a true transatlantic dialog. The symposium was fully attended, but the individuals in our auditorium were not the only ones who viewed the programs. This year, we webcast the symposium for the first time, and over 3 days, more than 1,600 viewers connected to the webcast. It was undoubtedly the largest audience we have ever had for a Flair Symposium. For those of you who missed the program, videos of some of the panels will be made available on our website this spring.

Another highlight of the fall was the celebration of the centennial of Harry Ransom's birth. Many of Ransom's former colleagues and students were in attendance, and the distinguished cast of speakers who commemorated Ransom's contributions to higher education included William Powers Jr., Hans Mark, William Hobby, Lowell Lebermann, Miguel Gonzalez-Gerth, Frank Denius, and Larry Faulkner. We featured a short video about Harry Ransom that was written by graduate interns Kate Beutner and Jean Cannon and skillfully put together by Lee Tran of our technology staff.

This spring we launch the Harry Ransom Lectures, a new distinguished lecture series that will feature internationally recognized writers, artists, and scholars. Speakers in the inaugural season include Booker Prize-winning British novelist Barry Unsworth (January 27), playwright and filmmaker David Mamet (February 5), author Azar Nafisi (March 12), and artist Ed Ruscha (April 2). We are deeply grateful to the University Co-operative Society for their generous sponsorship of this program, which will undoubtedly enrich the intellectual life of our campus and community.

Finally, I want to mention that the Ransom Center acquired an important collection of Ezra Pound materials this fall that I believe will be used extensively by scholars of twentieth-century literature. It was acquired from a close friend of Pound late in his life, Marcella Spann Booth, who received her doctorate at The University of Texas at Austin and donated a large portion of the collection to the Center. You can read more about this rich collection and other recent acquisitions, including a fine collection of Archibald MacLeish material, in the pages of this newsletter.

—Thomas F. Staley

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