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  • Map of the Americas
    Detail: Joan Blaeu, Nova totius terrarum orbis tabula (Amsterdam: Joan Blaeu, 1648), Harry Ransom Center.
  • Membership card with photo
    Isaac Bashevis Singer's P.E.N. membership card, 1932. Isaac Bashevis Singer Papers, 160.5, Harry Ransom Center.
  • Notebook with handwriting and clippings
    Notebook David Foster Wallace kept while preparing his novel The Pale King, this page dated 2000, notebook ca. 1998–2006. David Foster Wallace Papers, 41.7. Harry Ransom Center.

Sensory Note:

There may be loud noises in the galleries while we are installing our next exhibition. We appreciate your understanding and thank you for visiting.

Stories to Tell

Selections from the Harry Ransom Center

March 4, 2022 – August 28, 2022

The Harry Ransom Center houses some of the world's most significant collections relating to literature, art, photography, film, and the performing arts. More than 42 million manuscripts, 5 million photographs, 1 million rare books, and 100,000 artworks document our cultural history and the creative process.

Many stories can be told through the Center's collections. This rotating exhibition conveys stories of inspiration, innovation, collaboration, and frustration often associated with the creative work of leading writers and artists.


  • Printing the World in Premodern Europe
    Published by Joan Blaeu in 1648, the Center's massive wall map of the world, Nova totius terrarum orbis tabula, is newly conserved and will be on view in our galleries for the first time. Learn more about the map and its place within a market for printed commodities that helped Europeans in the later 15th through early 18th centuries imagine themselves as part of a broader world, one they were increasingly connected to as merchants, colonists, and consumers.
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer
    In partnership with the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, the Ransom Center will feature select works by Polish-born, Jewish-American writer Isaac Bashevis Singer (1903–1991) drawn from his extensive archive. Singer was educated at a rabbinical seminary, but later became a secular author writing exclusively in Yiddish. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978.
  • David Foster Wallace
    Materials from the Center's extensive holdings related to American writer David Foster Wallace (1962–2008), the author of Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, Girl with Curious Hair, and more, will highlight important aspects of his life and writing. Visitors will see examples of early writings, drafts, letters, teaching materials, annotated books, and other items from Wallace's archive, which is among the most frequently studied by scholars visiting the Center.

Admission is free.

Stories to Tell Map of exhibition

National Endowment for the Humanities
Any views, findings, recommendations or conclusions expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.