Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Urban street with buildings, cars, and pedestrians. Click to enlarge.

Littlefield Building, Austin, 1920s. E. O. Goldbeck Collection.


Heading the list of Ransom Center collections which contain items relating to Texas history and letters is a substantial part of the archive and library of J. Frank Dobie (1888-1964). Manuscripts for the folklorist's books, tales, and articles are here, as is a massive correspondence file. A collection of five hundred paintings, etchings, prints, maps, photographs, drawings, and sculptures collected by Dobie includes works by Charles Russell (1864-1926) and Frederic Remington (1861-1909). Other portions of the archive are located at the Center for American History.

Paintings, books, manuscripts, and memorabilia of El Paso artist and writer Tom Lea (1907-2001) and pastel paintings by Frank Reaugh (1860-1945), representing the great cattle drives across Texas, are in the Ransom Center's Art Collection. Muralist and art educator John Thomas Biggers' (1924-2001) early drawings and prints created later in his career reflect his African roots and interest in historical narratives. (See also Art & Art History.)

Literary manuscripts by Texas writers include complete archives or substantial papers for the following: the short-story writer and editor Margaret Cousins (1905-1996); the novelist William Goyen (1915-1983); drafts for and correspondence relating to Goodbye to a River and Hard Scrabble by John Graves (b. 1920); the archives of Fred Gipson (1908-1973), author of Old Yeller; the novelists Shelby Hearon (b. 1931) and William Humphrey (1924-1997); the poet Fania Kruger (1893-1977); George Sessions Perry (1910-1956), writer of tales of small town life in Texas; and the short story writer and novelist Alma Stone (1908-2003).

The archives of Texas-based publishers and publications include those for American Short Fiction (1991-1998); the nineteenth-century journalist W. C. Brann (1855-1898), publisher of The Iconoclast; Cold Mountain Press; the Encino Press; Paul Foreman's Thorp Springs Press; and The Texas Quarterly (1958-1978).

The Center's Photography Collections contain the work of a number of Texas photographers. The Ray Rector (1884-1933) collection comprises more than one thousand images made at the close of the golden era of ranching on the Texas Plains. West Texas in the first half of the twentieth century is well documented by the photographs of Wilfred Dudley Smithers (1895-1981). The collection of photographs taken by studio photographer John Frederick "Doc" McGregor (1893-1986) provides an intimate pictorial history of Corpus Christi from 1929 to 1965. The archive of E. O. Goldbeck (1892-1986) includes thousands of images made by the panoramic photographer in and around his hometown of San Antonio. The archives of the studio of Harvey and Julius Patteson (fl. 1912-1979), also based in San Antonio, represent the workings of a major urban commercial photographic company. (See also Photography.)

The Briscoe Center for American History is the major repository at The University for historical documents of Texas, the South, and Southwest.