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Harry Ransom Center eNews September 2012 eNews
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First Photograph

First Photograph travels to Europe for first time in 50 years

The First Photograph has been loaned, along with 119 other images and photography-related items from the Ransom Center's Gernsheim collection, to the Reiss Englehorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany, for the exhibition The Birth of Photography—Highlights of the Helmut Gernsheim Collection. The exhibition runs from September 9 through January 6, 2013. The First Photograph will be back on display at the Ransom Center in February 2013. LEARN MORE.


Foundations of modern cartography now online

The Ransom Center recently launched an online database for its Kraus map collection. The 36-map collection, acquired in 1969 by Harry Ransom from New York antiquarian dealer Hans P. Kraus, features a wide range of individual maps of Europe and America, atlases, a rare set of large terrestrial and celestial globes (ca. 1688) produced by the Italian master Vincenzo Coronelli, and a group of manuscript letters by Abraham Ortelius. VIEW MAPS.


Limited space remaining for "Visions of the Future"

Register to attend the 2012 Flair Symposium, "Visions of the Future," November 1-3. Speakers include writer and futurist Bruce Sterling, architecture critics Alan Hess and Alexandra Lange, authors Phil Patton and Tom Vanderbilt, and architects Greg Lynn and Craig Hodgetts. Pre-registration required. Ransom Center members receive a discount on registration. LEARN MORE.


Reserve your ticket to the future

Join us for “FutureLand,” the opening celebration for the exhibition I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 14. Guests will enjoy a Design Within Reach outdoor lounge, architecturally-inspired ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus, Toy Joy’s interactive “City of the Future,” and beverages from Austin Wine Merchant and Dripping Springs Vodka. Guests will also have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a Geddes-inspired prize package. JOIN or ORDER tickets for $20 (valet parking included). LEARN MORE.


Slideshow explores the history of the paperback book

The Ransom Center’s book collection is known for first editions, many of them lush volumes with elaborate bindings. Perhaps lesser known is the fact that the Ransom Center also houses multiple volumes that illuminate the development of the paperback book trade in both America and Britain. LEARN MORE about the history of the paperback revolution.


  UPCOMING EXHIBITION - Opening September 11

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America

Norman Bel Geddes (1893–1958) was a designer, futurist, and urban planner who sought to transform modern American society through design and his dynamic vision of the future. Many products and practices now taken for granted can be traced directly back to Bel Geddes. When you drive on an interstate highway, attend a multimedia Broadway show, dine in a sky-high revolving restaurant, or watch a football game in an all-weather stadium, you owe a debt of gratitude to Bel Geddes.


Bel Geddes focused on theater design early in his career and then became an innovative leader in industrial design, popularizing the concept of streamlining. He produced streamlined designs for products and ideas as diverse as home appliances, flying cars, and floating airports. Futurama, Bel Geddes’s best-known design for the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair, was a giant model of a city in 1960. Visitors to the popular installation donned buttons boldly proclaiming “I Have Seen the Future.”


The exhibition showcases Bel Geddes’s working process for both unrealized projects and completed designs using photographs and models drawn almost entirely from his extensive archive housed at the Ransom Center. Accompanying the exhibition is the book Norman Bel Geddes Designs America (Abrams). VIEW VIDEO PREVIEW or LEARN MORE.



Poetry on the Plaza: The American Folk Tradition

READING Poetry on the Plaza: The American Folk Tradition


OPENING Join us for “FutureLand,” the opening reception for the exhibition I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America. Free for Ransom Center members; $20 for non-members. JOIN, RENEW, and VIEW DETAILS.


TOUR Visit the Ransom Center’s exhibitions on Austin Museum Day. Docent-led tours begin at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.


LECTURE Nicholson Baker, author of The Size of Thoughts and Double Fold, opens the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies Symposia 2012–2013: The Fate of the Book.


COOKING CLASS Enjoy brunch and cooking demonstrations by Central Market Cooking School Chef Louis Ortiz as he creates dishes inspired by the exhibition I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America. Pre-payment and registration required. Ransom Center members receive a 10% discount on registration; members, please call 512-232-3669 for the discount code.



From the Outside In: A Visitor’s Guide to the Windows

Ever wondered about the images etched into the Ransom Center’s windows? A new interactive web feature “From the Outside In: A Visitor's Guide to the Windows” reveals what cultural treasures these etchings signify and provides an opportunity to discover more about the Ransom Center's collections of literature, film, photography, art, and the performing arts. EXPLORE THE WINDOWS.


September 2012


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Masthead image:
(Detail) Prototype case for Emerson Patriot radio, ca. 1940-1941, designed by Norman Bel Geddes. Image courtesy of the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation.
News image:
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's View from the Window at Le Gras. ca. 1826. Photo by J. Paul Getty Museum.
Exhibitions image:
Graphic identity for I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America
Public Programs image:
Walker Evans, Floyd Burroughs, Hale County Alabama, 1936.
Insider's Perspective image:
Etchings that depict holdings from the Ransom Center's collections. © Thomas McConnell Photography 2004.

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