Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Nursery Crimes: Edward Gorey's Morbid Nonsense LECTURE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 7 P.M.


Critics never quite knew what to make of Edward Gorey (1925-2000), the author and illustrator whose darkly droll tales have influenced Tim Burton, Lemony Snicket, Alison Bechdel, and Guillermo Del Toro. In this illustrated lecture, cultural critic Mark Dery, author of Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey, explores the obscure influences haunting Gorey's work. Discover the seminal role he played, along with authors like Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss, in the popularization of a deeper, darker children's literature capable of addressing what Gorey called "the miseries of childhood."

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Join us for an engaging panel discussing the changing standards that collectors—and institutions—have used to describe and evaluate early printed books, revealing why these books take the often surprising forms they do today. Panelists include Megan Heffernan, assistant professor of English at DePaul University, Kathryn James, curator of Early Modern and Osborn Collections at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and Aaron T. Pratt, the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at the Harry Ransom Center. Following the discussion, attendees are invited to view the Collated and Perfect display in the Stories to Tell exhibition and enjoy a reception.

Notes from the program curators

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MARCH 2019

Explore UT TOUR SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 11 A.M–5 P.M.


The Ransom Center joins the "biggest open house in Texas." Learn about the revolutionary impact of The Gutenberg Bible on the history of printing and literacy. Docents will give brief presentations at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Visit our vintage printing press and take home a piece of history by creating your own print (ongoing, 11 A.M–5 P.M.). Stop by our Preservation and Conservation table from 11 A.M–1 P.M. to learn how to handle rare and delicate photographs, books, and manuscripts.

Curator Tour of The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America TOUR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 7 P.M.


Discover the origins of the Arts and Crafts design movement with curator Chris Long, Professor of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin. Visitors will be guided through The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America, describing how the Arts and Crafts aesthetic evolved and how cross-cultural connections developed across the Atlantic.

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This program is offered in association with the exhibition, The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts & Crafts Movement in Britain & America, sponsored by Lucifer Lighting Company and Dr. Ray ad Leah Greenberg.



Award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker Louie Palu will install a series of photographs frozen in large ice blocks on the Ransom Center's plaza. The photographs were made in the high Arctic over the course of three years while Palu was on assignment for National Geographic.

The project explores the evolving situation related to the geopolitics of the Polar region, the history of the Arctic, its connection to the Franklin Expedition, and climate change. Many of the photographs seen in this project are from the some of the most inaccessible locations on the planet. The blocks will melt over the course of the day, gradually revealing the photographs. A related conversation at 4 p.m. examines the installation and our understanding of the Arctic through photography.

Palu's work in the Arctic was supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Geographic and Pulitzer Center.

The installation Arctic Passage and related talk are being supported by the Harry Ransom Center, Joan Morgenstern and SXSW.


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Photo: Canadian Soldier, Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada. 2017 © Louie Palu & National Geographic

Conversation with Artist Louie Palu CONVERSATION TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 4 P.M.


Join us for a conversation with Louie Palu delving into the context of his installation, Arctic Passage, and his experience photographing in the Arctic. The Harry Ransom Center's Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography Jessica S. McDonald will discuss the aesthetic, conceptual, and editorial impacts of the work with artist Louie Palu, and Sadie Quarrier, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic.

Edwidge Danticat LECTURE THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 6:30 P.M.


Edwidge Danticat presents the opening keynote address at the second biennial Black Studies conference, Black Studies @ 50: 1968/1969. Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah's Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist, and The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner, and the novel-in-stories, The Dew Breaker. She is the editor of The Butterfly's Way: Voices from the Haitian Diaspora in the United States and The Beacon Best of 2000: Great Writing by Men and Women of All Colors and Cultures, Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2, and Best American Essays 2011. She has written six books for young adults and children, Anacaona, Golden Flower, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama's Nightingale, and Untwine, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance, A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel. Her memoir, Brother, I'm Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Danticat's essays, The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story was published by Graywolf Press in July 2017 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2017. Her collection of short stories, Everything Inside, is forthcoming from Knopf in August 2019 and her children's book My Mommy Medicine will be published by Roaring Brook Press in February 2019. She is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow and winner of the 2018 Neustadt Prize for Literature.
A book signing with Danticat follows at 8:45 P.M.

This event is free, but registration is required. For more information about the conference and to register, visit: blackstudiesutconference.org

Poetry and War: A Reading and Conversation DEAN F. ECHENBERG WAR POETRY READING SERIES THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 7 P.M.


Commemorate World Poetry Day with a reading and conversation between two award-winning contemporary poets whose lives and writings have been impacted by war.

Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965 and was forced to flee in the wake of the first Gulf War when her writings attracted the attention of the Iraqi authorities. She came to the United States in 1996, and is the author of two poetry collections, The Iraqi Nights (2014), and The War Works Hard (2005). Her most recent book, The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq (2018), was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Literature in Translation.

Brian Turner served seven years in the US Army, including deployments in Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In his poetry and prose, Turner conveys both elegant and devastating portraits of what it means to be a soldier and a human being. Turner's work has been published in Harper's Magazine, National Geographic, the New York Times, and other journals. He is the author of two poetry collections, Here, Bullet (2005), and Phantom Noise (2010). His memoir, My Life and a Foreign Country was published in 2014.

Photos: Robert Akrawi / Kim Buchheit

What can a woman do? Women in the Arts and Crafts Movement LECTURE WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 7 P.M.


What was the role of women designers in the Anglo/American Arts and Crafts movement? Wendy Kaplan, curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will focus on women's leadership in social and economic reform, as well as the restrictions on full participation. While we consider education and career choices to be fundamental rights for women just over a hundred years ago, these were mostly utopian dreams. Discover how social reformers, advocates of women's rights, and followers of the Arts and Crafts movement addressed the question of work for women designers and craftspeople toward the end of the nineteenth century.

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Ransom Readers Book Club:
Whose Names are Unknown by Sanora Babb BOOK CLUB FRIDAY, MARCH 29 AND SATURDAY, MARCH 30


Discover the intimate story of those who fled the drought and dust storms of the High Plains during the Great Depression in Sanora Babb's narrative based on personal experience. Enjoy a lively discussion over lunch or happy hour and view related collection materials from the Sanora Babb collection. Refreshments, and parking at the Dobie Mall Garage are included. Registration is required and capacity is limited. Tickets and more information available online.


APRIL 2019

Ethical Challenges in Cultural Stewardship FLAIR SYMPOSIUM THURSDAY, APRIL 4–SATURDAY, APRIL 6


The thirteenth Flair Symposium is an opportunity for interdisciplinary conversations about pressing ethical questions confronting museums, libraries, archives, and communities today. Panel discussions with archivists, attorneys, conservators, curators, educators, librarians, scholars, and others will present a range of perspectives and ideas on ethical practices today. Prepayment and registration required.


Joyce Maynard LECTURE THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 6:30 P.M.


In the Flair symposium's keynote, New York Times bestselling writer Joyce Maynard will reflect on her correspondence, at age 18, with J.D. Salinger, its consequences, what happened to those letters 25 years later, and what we can learn from the story in the age of the Me Too movement. The keynote address is open to the public; registrants of the Flair Symposium, Ethical Challenges in Cultural Stewardship will have reserved seating.

Photo: Catherine Sebastian

Rachel Cusk READING THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 6:30 P.M.


The publication of Kudos in 2018 completed Rachel Cusk's critically acclaimed literary trilogy that began with Outline (2014) and Transit (2016). Cusk will be reading from Kudos, a book The New Yorker called "a breathtaking success."

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The Art of the Craftsman Style
Preservation Austin's 27th Annual Homes Tour TOUR SATURDAY, APRIL 27 10 A.M.–4 P.M.

Texas Society of Architects Building, 500 Chicon

Preservation Austin's 2019 Homes Tour celebrates seven stunning Craftsman style homes in coordination with The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America. Their histories give a glimpse of Craftsman style living in the early twentieth century. Creative updates and additions show their seamless adaptation to modern life today. Ransom Center members receive discount pricing. Tickets on sale now.


This program is offered in association with the exhibition, The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts & Crafts Movement in Britain & America, sponsored by Lucifer Lighting Company and Dr. Ray ad Leah Greenberg.

MAY 2019

Member Exclusive: Curator Tour TOUR WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 6:30–8 P.M.


Alliance-level members and above enjoy an insider's perspective on an extraordinary selection of artifacts from the Arts and Crafts era during this private tour of The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America with curator Monica Penick. Reception to follow.


This program is offered in association with the exhibition, The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts & Crafts Movement in Britain & America, sponsored by Lucifer Lighting Company and Dr. Ray ad Leah Greenberg.

Member Exclusive: Member Open House TOUR WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 6:30–8:30 P.M


New, recently upgraded, and Director's Circle level members are invited to enjoy an evening of special access to the Ransom Center. Invitation to the spring Open House is also extended to long-standing members of 5 or more years. Event is invitation only, and an RSVP is required.


Composite Landscapes: Early Film Special Effects LECTURE THURSDAY MAY 16, 7 P.M.


Film historian Leslie DeLassus examines early film special effects innovator Norman O. Dawn and his groundbreaking work, including the pioneering "glass shot." His productions of one-reel travel films starting in 1907 featuring exotic and scenic elements of remote locations were reworked using glass-shot and matte-shot processes, and appeared in 85 feature-length films for which Dawn produced effects. Learn more about his techniques during the lecture, and visit the Stories to Tell exhibition during gallery hours to see a display of collages Dawn made during his career.

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Ransom Readers Book Club:
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen BOOK CLUB FRIDAY, May 31 AND SATURDAY, JUNE 1


Read the captivating account of acclaimed writer Peter Matthiessen's two-month search for the snow leopard in the Himalayas, a journey that led to both an exploration of the natural world and a discovery of inner peace. Enjoy a facilitated book discussion over lunch or happy hour with exclusive access to archival materials related to the novel. Refreshments, and parking at the Dobie Mall Garage are included. Registration is required and capacity is limited. Tickets and more information will be available on April 8.


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All programs and exhibitions are free unless otherwise noted.

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All events take place at the Ransom Center unless otherwise noted and are subject to change.

Event times are noted in Central Standard Time.

Please be aware that the Ransom Center's Charles Nelson Prothro Theater seats 125. Line forms upon arrival of the first patron, and doors open 30 minutes in advance.

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The contents of these presentations reflect the opinions of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the views of the Harry Ransom Center and/or The University of Texas at Austin.

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