The witty, conversational poems of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins have delighted readers for decades and invite them to recognize and ponder the poignant details that often go unnoticed in everyday life. Collins is among the most beloved and widely celebrated poets in America, and his rich and extensive archive has now found a home among the Ransom Center's collections. The materials span Collins's personal and professional life from the 1950s to the present and document in detail his creative development. Within the archive are dozens of journals filled with notes, observations, doodles, clippings, and drafts of Collins's poems, both published and unpublished. His archive includes extensive correspondence, compositions from his childhood, family photographs, desk diaries and datebooks, audio and video recordings, and drafts of his speeches, documenting his busy public life as one of the country's most popular poets.
The Ransom Center also recently acquired two early, handwritten Yiddish manuscripts by Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer: the complete, original manuscript of Singer's novel Neshome Ekspeditsies and a 102-page fragment of an unidentified novel by Singer. These manuscripts enhance the Ransom Center's extensive archive of Singer's work and were acquired with the generous support of a friend of the Ransom Center, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.
Other recent acquisitions include:
- The full archive of author Ian McEwan
- Draft of David Foster Wallace's unpublished story "Shorn"
- Important collections of letters by Paul Bowles, Louis MacNeice, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, and J. D. Salinger
- Previously unseen film footage taken during the location shoot at Griffith Park Observatory for the final scene of Nicholas Ray's 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause
- The original hat Vivien Leigh wore with the curtain dress while portraying Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind
- A portfolio of 12 photographs from Alejandro Cartagena's Car Poolers series
- Significant additions to the Ransom Center's collections related to Anita Desai, William S. Hart, John le Carré, Terrence McNally, Christopher Middleton, and John Osborne.