By Stephen Enniss
My colleagues and I have been talking a great deal about what the Ransom Center collects and why. We've been discussing our responsibilities for the collections we hold, and how we extend and further enrich them for the benefit of those who will study here 10, 20, 50, or more years from now.
The Ian McEwan archive is the most recent of the additions, and that acquisition made headlines around the world. But the truth is new collections arrive at the Ransom Center all the time. We recently added the papers of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, an extended correspondence by J. D. Salinger, and John le Carré's publisher's files for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and other novels.
Many of the materials acquired over the past year deepen the rich collections already here. With the generous support of a friend of the Ransom Center and the College of Liberal Arts, we added two early manuscripts to the Isaac Bashevis Singer archive already held here, and we made important additions to the Norman Mailer and Bernard Malamud archives. It is particularly gratifying when separated materials are reunited. With the help of the Breslauer Foundation, we rejoined an Evelyn Waugh corrected proof with its source manuscript, and we were similarly able to reunite Scarlett O'Hara's hat with the green curtain dress she wore with it in the 1939 film Gone With The Wind.
Even as we celebrate the singularity of these acquisitions, we know each of them gains in significance by being part of a larger whole. The relationships among these materials—their interconnections—give the Ransom Center collection its unique character and greatly extend the research potential for the students, scholars, and members of the public who visit here.
We are building this collection mindful of the strong foundation that has been laid over the past decades and mindful too of the directions that rich history points us.