Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

Search Collections

25 Years of Fellowships

Twenty-Five Years of Fellowships

2014–2015 will mark the 25th anniversary of the fellowship program. Since the program's inauguration in 1990, the Center has supported over 800 scholars through fellowships.

The Harry Ransom Center fellowship program was established in 1989 under the directorship of Thomas F. Staley to encourage and facilitate use of the Center's collections for scholarly inquiry. Through fellowship stipends, the program enables scholars from around the world to visit the Center to conduct on-site research in its collections, supporting scholarship in all areas of the humanities, including literature, photography, film, art, the performing arts, music, and cultural history.

The first fellowships were offered in 1990–1991 to eight scholars, five of whom visited from abroad. Since then, the program has continued to grow. For 2013–2014, fellowships were awarded to over 65 scholars, with half from outside the U.S. In the nearly 25 years of the program's existence, the Center has hosted over 800 fellows, and the program has become one of the largest of its kind.

Support for the first fellowships was provided by the Henriette F. and Clarence L. Cline Endowment, the South Central Modern Language Association, and general operating funds of the Ransom Center. In the following years, the Center sought to secure long-term funding for the program through the creation of additional endowments, and in 2005, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other donors, established a $1.5 million endowment to ensure the continuation of the fellowship program in perpetuity. Today the program is generously supported by over 25 entities including the Dorot Foundation, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Fleur Cowles Endowment Fund, Limited Editions Club Endowment, the Alfred A. and Blanche W. Knopf Fellowship, the David Douglas Duncan Endowment for Photojournalism, and the Robert De Niro Endowed Fund.

The fellows' research topics are wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, demonstrating the breadth of the Center's holdings, from a study of "We Bear Witness: Photographers Responding to War" and "Hidden Talent: The Emergence of Hollywood Agents, 1928–1949," to "The Complete Works of James Shirley" and "Understanding Diane Johnson: All-American Writer." This research contributes to the broader knowledge of the humanities and culture, fueling dissertations, biographies, critical editions, and more.

During their residencies at the Ransom Center, fellows help foster an environment of intellectual exchange. Throughout the year, the Center hosts lunches and weekly coffee gatherings that create opportunities for fellows, independent research visitors, Ransom Center staff, and other members of the University community to discuss the work taking place within the Center's collections. Fellows have also presented talks to the Ransom Center's members and to University and community groups during their visits, and have participated in video interviews and contributed articles for the Center's website, newsletter, and blog. These presentations highlight the significance of the Ransom Center's holdings to a broad audience.


The Reading Room Will Be Closed:

May 17-May 26, 2014
May 31, 2014
July 4-5, 2014
August 18-24

Always closed on Sundays