Harry Ransom Center

Temporarily closed as we continue to closely monitor COVID-19. Subscribe to eNews for updates and visit from home.

  • Reading and Viewing Room
    PUBLIC ACCESS: Visitors who want to conduct research watch a short video and open a Research Account.
  • Reading and Viewing Room
    RESEARCH SUPPORT: The Center just awarded 51 fellowships for the coming year.
  • Reading and Viewing Room
    PLAN AHEAD: The Reading and Viewing Room opens at 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday, but is closed on Sundays and holidays.
  • Reading and Viewing Room
    CLASSROOM VISITS: Educators work with the Center to plan courses, seminars, and class visits.

Research and Access

Our mission is to encourage discovery, inspire creativity, and advance understanding of the humanities through the preservation and sharing of our diverse and extensive collections.

Important Information about Access to Collections
Materials in the Harry Ransom Center are housed in closed stacks and when requested will be delivered to you in the Reading and Viewing Room. Access to some materials requires advance notice or an appointment scheduled at least three days in advance of visiting (including costumes, personal effects, fine art, photography, and collections stored offsite). Contact Reference & Research Services for more information or to request viewing arrangements. Stay in tune with scholarly events and public programs at the Ransom Center by subscribing to eNews or becoming a member.

Reading and Viewing Room Hours

The Ransom Center is temporarily closed to the public and will re-open when the situation allows.

  • Getting Started
    • Begin by registering at the Reception Desk outside the Reading and Viewing Room. Please be prepared to show a current photo ID (college/university, driver's license, passport, etc.) upon arrival.

    • As part of the registration process, please create a research account. This may be set up at your first visit or created remotely.

    • Please review the list of guidelines (below) for what is and is not permitted in the Reading and Viewing Room.

    • At your first visit you will be asked to view a brief informational video on using the facility and handling collection materials properly.

    • We can provide lockers to stow your personal belongings.

    • After checking in at the Reception Desk and before entering the Reading and Viewing Room, members of our public services staff will be available to help you get started and orient you to Reading and Viewing Room procedures.
  • Reading and Viewing Room Guidelines
    • Please finish all beverages (including water), food, gum, and cough drops before entering the Reading and Viewing Room.

    • Please store the following items in your locker: hats, sunglasses, bags, electronics cases, pens, personal notebooks, and folders. Large coats and sweaters may be stored in the coat closet.

    • Please use only pencils in the Reading and Viewing Room. Extra pencils, pencil sharpeners, and yellow paper are available.

    • Please turn off the sound on all electronics and digital cameras and only take phone calls outside the Reading and Viewing Room.

    • When leaving the Reading and Viewing Room and planning to return the same day, you may leave personal items at your workspace. Please return collection materials to their folder and box.

    • We are pleased to keep items on hold for you for up to one week. Please speak with a staff member for more information.

    • We are unable to page new material after 4:30pm. Please return your checked-out items to the circulation desk by 4:45pm.

    • Please approach the circulation or reference desks with any questions. We are happy to help!

    • Full Reading and Viewing Room Guidelines are available:   ENGESP
  • Handling Collection Materials
    • All materials at the Harry Ransom Center are non-circulating. Rare books and manuscripts, born-digital collections, and audiovisual materials may be consulted only in the Reading and Viewing Room.

    • Certain large format or visual materials (i.e. art, photography) may not be available for consultation on Saturdays unless prior arrangements have been made. Contact a staff member for more information.

    • Collection material is kept safest when handled with clean and dry hands. Oil from our skin, lotions, or other skincare products may damage material. Nearby restrooms are conveniently located for hand-washing before entering the Reading and Viewing Room.

    • Particularly rare, fragile, or large collection material may not be available for consultation in the Reading and Viewing Room. Please inquire at the Reference Desk about restricted materials.

  • Access & Policies

    All materials in the Harry Ransom Center collections are non-circulating. They are housed in closed stacks and will be delivered to your desk in the Reading and Viewing Room.

    Access to some materials requires advance notice or an appointment scheduled at least three days in advance of visiting (including some oversized material, costumes, personal effects, fine art, photography, and collections stored offsite); these materials may not be available for paging on Saturdays, unless previous arrangements are made for materials to be placed on reserve.

    Curatorial staff are able to advise you regarding access to and availability of particular collections. We strongly encourage out-of-town patrons to contact us before arrival. It is important to note that the summer months are an extremely busy period and, if your schedule is flexible, we recommend visiting at another time of the year.

    Materials Use:   ENGESP
    Camera Use:   ENGESP

    Information Regarding Proxy Researchers: A patron may hire a researcher to work with Ransom Center materials on his/her behalf if a visit to the Center is not possible. The Center maintains a list (available on request) of such researchers.

    Statement on Language in Ransom Center Descriptive Records: The Harry Ransom Center aims to describe collection materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in its holdings.

  • Rights & Reproductions


    United States copyright law protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. If you wish to make more than fair use of an unpublished manuscript in a publication, you must determine whether the work has passed into the public domain and is no longer under copyright protection or find the copyright holder and get permission to use the manuscript. The links below can help you track down copyright holders of both manuscript and nonmanuscript materials, such as audio tapes, photographs, works of art, and motion pictures.

    Copyright Ownership & Fees for Certain Ransom Center Collections
    Locating UK Copyright Holders
    Locating US Copyright Holders
    Copyright Crash Course ➚
    Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders (WATCH)

    Users may either request reproductions made for research of Ransom Center materials or make them themselves using a digital camera; the Center's Materials Use Policy recommends that any reproductions made for publication be produced by the Center's staff. The Center reserves the right to deny requests for copies based on condition or copyright status and to limit the size of orders or the number of copies made by those using cameras. Users who wish to order reproductions for research or publication should first consult the fee schedule and must complete a Photoduplication Order Form.

    Reproduction Formats
    A variety of reproduction formats are available, depending on the type of material. Those who wish to make their own research copies should familiarize themselves with the terms of the Camera Use Policy.

    Publication Fees
    Fees may be assessed for the use of Ransom Center materials in publications, performances, audio-visual productions, and exhibitions. Other fees may apply when the Center is also the copyright holder; details about payment methods are available here.

    Intent to Publish
    With the exception of source material that is in the public domain, we require a completed Notification of Intent form for use in publication. Using public domain material? Although we waive forms and fees in that case, we'd love to learn about your project. Please consider filling out a Notification of Intent form.

Contact a Curator or Research Associate

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