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Harry Ransom Center eNews February 2014 eNews
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Billy Collins

Ransom Center acquires poet Billy Collins’s archive

The Ransom Center has acquired the archive of American poet Billy Collins (b. 1941). The materials span Collins’s personal and professional life from the 1950s to the present and document in detail his creative development. Within the archive are dozens of notebooks, which include Collins’s observations, notes, doodles, clippings, and extensive drafts of poems, both published and unpublished. There are also desk diaries or datebooks that document his life as a teacher, poet, and public figure. The materials will be accessible once processed and cataloged. LEARN MORE.


21 J. D. Salinger letters acquired

The Ransom Center has acquired 21 previously unrecorded and unpublished letters by author J. D. Salinger. The letters are accessible in the Ransom Center’s reading room as part of the Center's existing Salinger collection, which includes published and unpublished manuscripts, galleys, page proofs, and correspondence. Most of the newly acquired letters are written by Salinger to Ruth Smith Maier, a classmate and friend he met at Ursinus College. A number of letters offer insight into his evolving attitude toward public exposure and cast light on his decision to withhold new work from public view. LEARN MORE and READ NEWS.


Attend “Love & War” opening party

Join us for “Love & War,” on Friday, February 14, from 7 to 9 p.m., to celebrate the opening of The World at War, 1914–1918. Get a first look at the exhibition, pose with your date in the photo booth, and enjoy light bites and wine, while listening to hand-cranked phonographs. Wright Bros. Brew & Brew provides complimentary coffee and donuts on the plaza, modernizing the popular “Doughnuts for Doughboys” campaign. Guests can enter to win a prize package featuring an overnight stay at Hotel Havana, a date night at Henri’s, and tickets to “War Horse,” among other delights. BECOME A MEMBER NOW to receive complimentary admission and valet parking at this event. If you are not yet a member, TICKETS are available for $20 (valet parking is not included for non-members).


NEH grants Ransom Center $500,000 to establish exhibition endowment

The Ransom Center has been awarded a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to establish an endowment that will sustain the institution's exhibition program. The grant will support a range of activities including facilitating long-range planning, creating teacher training workshops related to future exhibitions, fostering collaboration with other institutions, and supporting print and online publications related to the Center's exhibitions. LEARN MORE.


Norman Bel Geddes Designs America wins book design award

The exhibition catalog Norman Bel Geddes Designs America has received an honorable mention award from the 2013 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition. The book was published by Abrams in 2012 in conjunction with the Ransom Center’s exhibition I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America. PURCHASE the catalog.


Enjoy an exhibition tour of The World at War, 1914–1918

Beginning February 18, individuals and small groups are invited to attend public exhibition tours, offered Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Free, private, docent-led tours are available for groups of 10 or more when scheduled in advance. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The Ransom Center Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday. LEARN MORE about how to book a tour or view the schedule of public tours.


  UPCOMING EXHIBITION - Opening February 11

The World at War, 19141918

The World at War, 1914–1918

This exhibition marks the centenary of the start of World War I, a war that lasted four long years and killed ten million servicemen. The geo-political causes, the war’s global expansion, and the outcomes of the war are well documented. The collective personal and national trauma inflicted on all who experienced the war, however, remains relevant for a contemporary world still embroiled in conflict.


Drawing on the Ransom Center’s extensive collections, this exhibition illuminates the experience of the war from the point of view of its participants and observers, preserved through letters, drafts, and diaries; memoirs and novels; and photographs and propaganda posters. Visitors will have the opportunity to better understand the history of the war through the archives of those who witnessed it first-hand.


Generous support for this exhibition and its companion publication has been provided by the Cain Foundation.


Beginning February 18, free, docent-led tours will be offered on Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. For groups larger than 10 people, please CONTACT the Ransom Center to make arrangements for a private group tour.



Khalil Muhammad

LECTURE Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, presents “The Case that Must be Made: Research Libraries, Historical Literacy, and the Future of Brown America” for the annual Pforzheimer Lecture. A reception follows.


READING Poetry on the Plaza: Love


OPENING Join us for “Love and War,” the opening reception for the exhibition The World at War, 1914–1918. Free for Ransom Center members; $20 for non-members. JOIN, RENEW, and VIEW DETAILS.


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 5:30 P.M., Cactus Café, Texas Union Building
DISCUSSION The Harry Ransom Center and KUT 90.5 present a "Views and Brews" event. In conjunction with the Ransom Center’s current exhibition, The World at War, 1914–1918, KUT producer Rebecca McInroy, Jean Cannon, Ransom Center Literary Collections Research Associate, and Elizabeth Garver, French Collections Research Associate, delve into the stories and history of the First World War.


LECTURE Vincent Sherry, editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the First World War and a Ransom Center fellow, speaks about the trench experience and its impact on social and political thought during World War I.



A seventeenth-century lesson in home economics

A recently digitized letter from the Pforzheimer collection instructs a new bride on what will be needed to set up a proper upper-class household in London. In today’s dollars, the dishes, silver, glasses, linens, and kitchen equipment required would cost approximately $62,000—without buying any furniture. LEARN MORE about what it would have taken to run a household during this period. 

February 2014


Masthead image:
(Detail) Gordon Conway. Vanity Fair illustration of woman giving an American flag to a French soldier.
News image:
Undated photo of Billy Collins. Unknown photographer.
Exhibitions image:
Graphic identity for the exhibition The World at War, 1914–1918.
Public Programs image:
Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library.
Insider's Perspective image:
(Detail) Letter from Mary Evelyn to the newly married Mrs. Margaret Blagge Godolphin, dated 1675.

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