Since the Gernsheim collection was purchased in 1963, the Harry Ransom Center has continued to acquire photographs representing major artistic movements in the medium's history. Recently, in an effort to collect significant photographs created in the 1960s and 1970s, the Ransom Center has acquired the important abstract work Motion-Sound #28 (ca. 1970), by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (American, 1925–1972), and Strip Tease #69 (1966), a vintage print made as part of Ray K. Metzker's (American 1931–2014) well-known Composites project. These photographs, as well as Chicago (1973), by Kenneth Josephson (American, b. 1932), and two photographs from the Cancellations series (1974) by Thomas F. Barrow (American, b. 1938), have been acquired to enhance the Ransom Center's holdings of conceptual photography from the period.
The Ransom Center's effort to represent historical movements extends to the acquisition of important contemporary photography, including a work from the series Heat/Gun (2000) by German artist Marco Breuer (b. 1966). Much like other recent acquisitions of photographs by Alison Rossiter (American, b. 1953) and Chris McCaw (American, b. 1971), Breuer's work links the Ransom Center's strong holdings of early photographic experiments with contemporary practice.
Twelve photographs from the Carpoolers series (2011–2012) by Alejandro Cartagena (Mexican, b. Dominican Republic, 1977) were acquired by the Ransom Center, as were eight photographs documenting the ongoing war in Afghanistan by Louie Palu (Canadian, b. 1968). In addition, the Ransom Center acquired 44 photographs made by Alec Soth (American, b. 1969) during a road trip around Texas with writer Brad Zellar in 2013. These photographs were featured in a one-night-only pop-up show, organized by Jessica S. McDonald, the Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography, at the Ransom Center in December 2013.
Other recent acquisitions to the Ransom Center's collections include:
- The papers of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez
- A limited edition of the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, printed in Austin by Bradley Hutchinson in 1999 and illustrated by Barry Moser, a gift of the Kovner Foundation
- The papers of Irish writer Aidan Higgins
- An important collection of materials related to caricaturist David Levine
- Materials related to the staging of the English premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot
- Significant additions to the archives of David Douglas Duncan, David Hare, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, and the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate papers