Harry Ransom Center

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  • Collection Connections: The Voices of Dylan Thomas
  • Collection Connections: Renaissance Humanism between Islamic Covers
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Online Programs

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Collection Connections

Hear intriguing stories in this series connecting remarkable items and personalities from a variety of library and museum collections. Join us every month to learn something new, discover one-of-a-kind collection items, and participate in live Q&A sessions.

Funding generously provided by David and Ellen Berman.

Past Online Programs

Collection Connections: The Voices of Dylan Thomas
‘Through throats where many rivers meet’
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  • Thursday, May 27, 4:30 p.m. CST – Online

The roots and routes of the poetic voices of Dylan Thomas, best known for Under Milk Wood and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” will be explored in this transatlantic dialogue between Professor Daniel G. Williams of Swansea University and Professor Kurt Heinzelman of the University of Texas at Austin. Collections exploring the life and work of Thomas are found at the two institutions, and this conversation will explore Thomas’s poetic style, including the impact of reading and performance. What effect did Thomas’ ‘Welshness’ have on his appeal in the United States? Judge for yourself after hearing our guests play two very different readings of “In My Craft of Sullen Art” and discuss this iconic poet who spoke of universal themes from his particular native place.

Image left: Pages from the notebook, showing an early version of “Altarwise by Owl light” © Swansea University
Image right: Unidentified photographer, press photo of a rehearsal at Swansea Little Theatre, undated. Dylan Thomas Collection, PH-02774, Harry Ransom Center

Collection Connections: Renaissance Humanism between Islamic Covers
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  • Thursday, April 29, 4:30 p.m. CST – Online

Ransom Center conservator, Andrea Knowlton, and Pforzheimer Curator, Aaron T. Pratt, will discuss an exciting new Ransom Center acquisition. A copy of famous Venetian printer-publisher Aldus Manutius’s 1502 geographical dictionary in Greek, originally written by Stephanus of Byzantium in the 6th century, it was at some point rebound in a style and using methods associated with the Islamic world. Exactly how, when, and why are unclear—Knowlton and Pratt will talk through the trajectory of their research so far and about the life this 500-year-old book appears to have lived.

Theatre 2020 Project: Documenting a Year of Changes
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  • Tuesday, April 6, 4 p.m. CST – Online

Since COVID-19 was named a global pandemic in March, 2020, theatre professionals around the world have struggled to respond. Some theatres have closed permanently. Artists are adapting to new ways of telling stories. Many theatres are reckoning with longstanding systemic racism, onstage and off. During this period of upheaval and transformation, the Ransom Center has been working with theatre artists and companies to document their experiences for posterity.

Join Performing Arts Curator Eric Colleary to explore how the Center’s Theatre 2020 Project will help future artists and scholars understand this unprecedented period of change.

Collection Connections: James Turrell’s Deep Sky Portfolio and The Color Inside Skyspace
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  • Thursday, March 25, 4:30 p.m. CST – Online

What is required of a viewer to step inside the work of artist James Turrell, and how does that experience change when viewing his two-dimensional prints rather than standing within an immersive Skyspace? Join Ransom Center Curator of Art Tracy Bonfitto and Landmarks Founder and Director Andrée Bober for a conversation that considers Turrell’s prints in the Deep Sky portfolio together with his Skyspace on the University of Texas campus titled The Color Inside. In anticipation of Slow Art day in April, learn how to linger with Turrell’s work and look deeply into the (not quite) sky.

Images: Left, James Turrell (American, 1943- ), [Detail from an untitled print from portfolio Deep Sky], 1985. Aquatint on BFK Rives paper, 53.5 x 68.4 cm. Peter Blum Edition Art Collection, 87.51.5. Harry Ransom Center. Courtesy Peter Blum Edition, New York. Right, James Turrell, The Color Inside, 2013. Photo by Florian Holzherr. Courtesy of Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin.

Pforzheimer Lecture

The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Lecture is an annual lecture series featuring a prominent authority on bibliography, book arts, libraries, and related topics.

    Herbals "Grete" and Small: Commodifying Botany in Early Modern England with Sarah Neville
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    • Thursday, March 11, 4:30 p.m. CST - Online

    Over the course of the sixteenth century, herbals grew from compact, unadorned volumes to giant, lavishly illustrated ones, and their contents shifted from reprints of anonymous medieval works to commissioned authorial tomes. To explain the broader context in which English botanical science developed, Neville’s talk will reveal the sophisticated and nuanced calculus performed by members of the London book trade who invested capital to manufacture these popular printed books. By exploring the relationship between readers’ responses to printed herbals and the activities of the book trade that catered to them, she will show how publishers navigated the financial risk that herbal publication increasingly required of them, and ultimately, how the early commercial practices of English printers shaped both popular reading habits and the development of scholarly and botanical authority.

Collection Connections: Stories Re-imagined with Author Edward Carey
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  • Thursday, February 25, 4:30 p.m. CST – Online

Set inside the belly of an enormous sea beast, author Edward Carey's latest novel The Swallowed Man is a familiar fable, brilliantly re-imagined. Join us for a conversation with Carey as he discusses finding inspiration in archives while sharing unique items from the Ransom Center's collections that are meaningful to him and that have influenced his writing. Ransom Center Associate Director Cathy Henderson will chat with Carey about his new book, his methods of working in multiple mediums, and connections Carey has to creative figures like William Blake and Robert De Niro, who have materials at the Ransom Center. Tune in to hear more about how locks of hair and a bust of Frankenstein have captured Carey's imagination.

Collection Connections: Authors and Presidential Inaugurations
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  • Thursday, January 28, 4:30 p.m. CST - Online

Over the years, several authors have participated in or influenced American presidential inauguration ceremonies. Join us for a discussion about two items from the Ransom Center’s collections that will help deepen our understanding of why poetry readings and speeches at these events matter. Ransom Center Associate Director Megan Barnard and UT Professor of History and Public Affairs Jeremi Suri will discuss and contextualize a typescript of Miller Williams's poem "Of History and Hope," read at the 1997 inauguration of Bill Clinton, and a draft of a mostly unused speech John Steinbeck wrote for Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 inauguration.

Curatorial Perspectives: A look at Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird
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  • Tuesday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m. CST – Online
Frida Kahlo

Same iconic painting, two very different museum exhibitions. Learn how Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo has been interpreted in recent exhibitions at the New York Botanical Garden and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Housed at the Harry Ransom Center, the painting is one of Kahlo’s best-known artworks and has been exhibited worldwide. Join Ransom Center Curator of Art Tracy Bonfitto, who will host a discussion with curators Adriana Zavala and Layla Bermeo to explore how varied curatorial choices and contextual environments may enhance our understanding of Kahlo and her work.

Adriana Zavala is Associate Professor at Tufts University and holds a joint appointment in the departments of Art History and Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies.

Layla Bermeo is the Kristin and Roger Servison Associate Curator of Paintings in the Art of the Americas department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954), Untitled [Self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird], 1940. Oil on canvas mounted to board, 62.5 x 48.0 cm. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center. © 2017 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Collection Connections: What Did Gutenberg Invent?
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  • Thursday, Dec. 10, 4:30 p.m. CST - Online
Gutenberg Bible and Chinese woodblock print

The Gutenberg Bible, famous as the first major book printed using moveable type in Europe, is one of the most recognizable objects at the Ransom Center. But what exactly did Gutenberg invent, and what was it good for? In our next virtual conversation across collections, we will explore the early history of printing by putting the Center’s Gutenberg Bible in conversation with a remarkable book in the UCLA Library Special Collections: a 16th-century volume printed in China that reproduces an 11th-century pharmacology treatise. Join Aaron T. Pratt, the Ransom Center's Pforzheimer Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, and Devin Fitzgerald, UCLA’s Curator of Rare Books and History of Printing, as they contextualize Gutenberg’s innovation within the long and vibrant history of woodblock printing in Asia.

Collection Connections: Arthur Miller remixes Jane Austen classic for radio
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  • Thursday, Nov. 19, 4:30 p.m.- Online
Arthur Miller

In 1945, American playwright Arthur Miller adapted British novelist Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the radio. The quirky adaptation aired just before Thanksgiving Day 75 years ago, a few years before Miller became a household name as author of plays like All My Sons and Death of a Salesman. Tune in as Jane Austen scholar and UT professor Janine Barchas talks about the original script with Eric Colleary, the Ransom Center's curator of theatre and performing arts. Did this unlikely remix for the airwaves lead to success? Decide for yourself and listen to the play before “dialing” into the discussion and live Q&A.

Programs & Symposia Visit from Home Research

Lisa Pulsifer
Head of Public Programs and Education