Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

Recent Acquisitions: McSweeney's

Fifteen years ago, writer Dave Eggers launched one of the most innovative publishing houses of our time. McSweeney's began as a small operation run out of Eggers's kitchen, producing Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern. The literary journal originally published only works that had been rejected by other magazines, but that premise was quickly abandoned. McSweeney's is now known for publishing such notable authors as Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, Jonathan Franzen, Joyce Carol Oates, and William T. Vollmann, while remaining an important outlet for new writers. The McSweeney's enterprise has grown over the years to include the publication of books, the monthly magazine The Believer, a robust humor website, and the quarterly DVD-journal Wholphin, among other projects.

McSweeney's has been widely hailed for its artful and unique approach to design, challenging the traditional form of the book. Each issue of the quarterly is utterly different. One issue, for example, was designed to mimic a bundle of junk mail and another resembles a human head filled with literary treasures. McSweeney's has been honored year after year with prestigious awards for both literature and design.

Over the summer, the Ransom Center received pallets of boxes filled with manuscripts, correspondence, design proofs, and editorial notes that document the acquisition, design, and production of McSweeney's publications. The McSweeney's archive includes author submissions, edited drafts, final proofs, original art, and unpublished submissions, as well as extensive digital files and first editions of publications.

The McSweeney's archive finds a fitting home at the Ransom Center, alongside the papers of several of its contributors, including David Foster Wallace, T. C. Boyle, and Denis Johnson. Publishers' archives are a specialty of the Ransom Center, which also houses the records of Alfred A. Knopf, Nancy Cunard's Hours Press, Anvil Press Poetry, Commentary magazine and the London Review of Books.

Other recent acquisitions include:

- The papers of journalist and essayist Barbara Probst Solomon

- Additions to the papers of Russell Banks, Jim Crace, Penelope Lively, and Tim O'Brien


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