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Harry Ransom Center eNews June 2013 eNews
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Photo by Pete Smith

Digitization project makes enormous map available online

Until recently, one of the largest objects in the Ransom Center collections has also been one of the least visible. Joan Blaeu’s Nova totius terrarum orbis tabula (1648) is part of the Kraus map collection. LEARN HOW photographer Pete Smith photographed the 10-by-7-foot map in high resolution and stitched the images together into a highly detailed digital copy of the map that anyone can access online.


Become a member to attend an “All-Star Evening”

Batter up! Celebrate the opening reception for the exhibitions Literature and Sport and Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive on Friday, June 14 at the Ransom Center. Guests will enjoy a first look at the exhibitions, ballpark-inspired snacks, refreshing popsicles from GoodPop, and summertime libations from Dripping Springs Vodka, Austin Wine Merchant, and Austin Beer Garden and Brewery. Guests will also have the opportunity to pose in a baseball card photo booth and enter to win a sports massage, two platinum film fan memberships to the Paramount Theatre, dinner for two at Lamberts Barbecue, and more. BECOME A MEMBER to receive complimentary tickets and valet parking or ORDER TICKETS. LEARN MORE.


Ransom Center awards more than 65 research fellowships

The Ransom Center has awarded more than 65 research fellowships for 2013–2014. The fellowships support research projects in the humanities that require substantial on-site use of the Center’s collections of manuscripts, rare books, photography, art, and film and performing arts materials. The fellowship recipients, half of whom will be coming from abroad, will use Ransom Center materials to support projects with such titles as “Elliott Erwitt: Early Work,” “Obsession: The Films of Brian De Palma,” “David Foster Wallace: The Form of His Fiction,” “Matisse’s Illustrations for Ulysses,” and “Doris Lessing’s Intuitive Style.” LEARN MORE or VIEW A LIST of research topics of the fellowship recipients.


Mark Twain letter has close geographical tie to The University of Texas at Austin

When Samuel Clemens—better known by his pseudonym Mark Twain—penned a letter in London in 1900 to the widow of his childhood best friend in Austin, he had no idea that it would be preserved more than a century later at the Ransom Center just four blocks south. LEARN MORE about the letter and the recipient, who lived where the University’s Jesse H. Jones Communications Center is located today.


Apply to volunteer at the Ransom Center

Do you want to become more involved with the Ransom Center? We are looking for docents, special event volunteers, and visitor service volunteers for the upcoming year. Benefits include specialized training and behind-the-scenes insights into exhibitions and collections. LEARN MORE about these positions, or APPLY online by Monday, July 15.



Literature and Sport
Opening June 11

Literature and Sport

Sport holds a sacred place in Western culture and literature. Writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Norman Mailer, Marianne Moore, Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates, and David Foster Wallace have written about sport.


Drawn exclusively from the Ransom Center’s collections, this exhibition showcases the literature of sport through fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. Organized by sport, the exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of literary writing about baseball, football, boxing, tennis, cricket, bullfighting, and other sports. From Bernard Malamud’s The Natural to Norman Mailer’s The Fight, great literary works capture the appeal of sport and its ability to transform both the individual and society, all the while demonstrating how writers elevate language to literature.


Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive

This exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Lakes Were Rivers collective, an Austin-based group of artists working in photography and video. Members of the collective created a body of work influenced in some way by the Ransom Center—its space, its purpose, its collections. Approximately 50 new works are displayed alongside Ransom Center collection materials chosen by the artists, including photographs by Ansel Adams and Man Ray, manuscripts from the E. E. Cummings archive, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, an embellished Maurice Ravel score, and props from the Robert De Niro collection.


Beginning June 18, free docent-led tours will be offered Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.



All-Star Evening

OPENING Join us for an “All-Star Evening,” the opening reception for the exhibitions Literature and Sport and Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive. Enjoy ballpark-inspired snacks and summertime libations, pose in a baseball card photo booth, enter to win a sports-inspired prize package, and more. Free for Ransom Center members; $20 for non-members. JOIN, ORDER TICKETS, and VIEW DETAILS.


SPORT FILM SERIES Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) featuring Robert De Niro and Michael Moriarty. 96 minutes.


SPORT FILM SERIES Robert Redford stars in The Natural (1984) with Kim Basinger, Glenn Close, and Robert Duvall. 134 minutes.


SPORT FILM SERIES Raging Bull (1980) directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert De Niro. 129 minutes.


SPORT FILM SERIES The documentary film When We Were Kings (1996) tells the story of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s legendary “Rumble in the Jungle.” 89 minutes.


Illustration by René Belbenoit

The storied escapes of René Belbenoit

René Belbenoit was a prison escape artist, butterfly enthusiast, and storyteller. A recently cataloged manuscript of his autobiography at the Ransom Center tells the story of this "incorrigible" Frenchman through his own words and illustrations. LEARN MORE.


June 2013


Masthead image:
(Detail) Norman Mailer’s ticket to the George Foreman–Muhammad Ali championship fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, September 25, 1974.
News image:
Pete Smith photographs the great wall map. Photo by Pete Smith.
Exhibitions image:
Graphic identity for Literature and Sport exhibition.
Public Programs image:
Graphic identity for "All-Star Evening" program.
Insider's Perspective image:
Illustration by René Belbenoit depicting a failed escape attempt by sea.

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