Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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History of the Book and Book Arts

Aaron Douglas dustjacket. Dustjacket Collection.

Aaron Douglas dustjacket. Dustjacket Collection.

Important printers especially well represented are the Aldines, Estiennes, the Elseviers, Christopher Plantin, John Baskerville, Robert and Andrew Foulis, and Giambattista Bodoni. European emblem books of the 16th and 17th centuries are a particular strength. The Center's large holdings of 18th-century English books will be especially useful to scholars researching the history of printing and publishing in this period.

The Center has extensive holdings of color-plate books from the early 19th century and chromolithographic books of the Victorian period. All of the major fine presses of the late 19th and 20th century are represented, with nearly complete runs of several, including the Kelmscott, the Doves, the Golden Cockerel (as well as its archive), the Grabhorn, and Nonesuch presses. Among the most significant individual holdings are copies on vellum of the Kelmscott Chaucer, the Doves Press Bible, and the Golden Cockerel Four Gospels. Artwork, type designs, and wood engraving blocks of Eric Gill are located in the Art Collection.

Anton Neudorfer, Schreibkunst (1601).

Anton Neudorfer, Schreibkunst (1601).

The Ransom Center has an excellent selection of 20th-century English, American, and French artists' books, with particular strengths in the 1970s and 1980s. Artists include Rufino Tamayo, Henri Matisse (most notably his Jazz), Jim Dine, Pablo Picasso, and Buckminster Fuller. Related items, such as Robert Rauschenberg's plexiglass book "Shades" may be found in the Art Collection.

The Center also owns a nearly complete set of the Limited Editions Club (LEC) publications, which is complemented by the archive of its publisher, the George Macy Co., as well as the artwork for many of the LEC books. Other noteworthy collections include reference works on printing and bookbinding, historical works on book collecting and the antiquarian book trade, catalogs of important libraries sold at auction, type specimen books, calligraphy manuals from the 16th through 20th centuries, thousands of pictorial dustjackets (1925-1960), and runs of dealer and auction catalogs from the late 19th century to the present. A nearly complete run of the Armed Services paperback editions provides insight into the reading habits of servicemen during World War II, and the activities of a large and influential 20th-century publisher are documented in the Alfred A. Knopf Inc. Archive and Library.


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Monday, May 27
Thursday, July 4

Always closed on Sundays

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