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Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams correspondence acquired

The Harry Ransom Center acquired two unpublished letters written by playwright Tennessee Williams to his friend and former intimate Pancho Rodriguez Gonzalez, who inspired the character of Stanley Kowalski in Williams’s Pulitzer-Prize winning drama A Streetcar Named Desire. LEARN MORE.


Center acquires John Steinbeck letters

The Ransom Center acquired 77 letters from John Steinbeck to Henry S. White, recording a regular correspondence between two business associates and close friends. The almost daily correspondence spans from October 1948 to August 1949 and documents a difficult period in Steinbeck's life. LEARN MORE.


Publication of a new version of James Agee memoir

Using primary manuscript materials at the Ransom Center, scholar Michael Lofaro recently published a restored version of James Agee’s memoir A Death in the Family. The nearly-complete memoir was pieced together and originally published after Agee’s death by his literary executor David McDowell and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Fifty years later, Lofaro has taken a second look at the primary manuscript materials of the memoir and put together a new version. READ MORE about how Lofaro accomplished this using primary source material.


Fall Volunteer Opportunities

Gain a behind-the-scenes perspective of a cultural archive as you help the Ransom Center achieve its public outreach goals. The Ransom Center is looking for friendly individuals to serve as docents and visitor services volunteers this fall. Visitor services volunteers welcome and orient visitors to the Ransom Center, while docents give tours of the exhibitions after receiving specialized training. Positions require a commitment of 4 hours per week for at least 3 months. Please complete and return a volunteer application by August 1. On the application, check the box “Docent” and/or “Visitor Services.”


  CURRENT EXHIBITIONS - Closing August 3

Inside El Salvador

Inside El Salvador

This photography exhibition chronicles the height of the civil war in El Salvador in the early 1980s and depicts those directly involved with the conflict, including the guerilla forces and the army, and the war’s effects on the civilian population. LEARN MORE.


On the Road with the Beats

This exhibition traces the travels of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and their friends across America and the globe. Manuscripts, books, photographs, and visual art from the Ransom Center’s collections tell the story of the Beat Generation and the literary and social revolution they inspired. LEARN MORE. Also, don’t forget to take the online Beatnik Questionnaire while the exhibition is still on display.


*To install the hundreds of objects for our fall exhibitions, the Ransom Center Galleries will be temporarily closed from August 4 through September 2, when the new exhibitions open to the public. The Gutenberg Bible and the First Photograph are on permanent display in the lobby.



Violet Crown Radio PlayersTHURSDAY, JULY 10, 7 P.M. JESSEN AUDITORIUM
PERFORMANCE The Violet Crown Radio Players produce an episode of Dangerous Assignment in a live recreation of a 1950s radio broadcast.


PERFORMANCE The Austin Chamber Music Center presents the Tosca String Quartet in a tribute to the Beats, featuring Boston composer Lee Hyla’s arrangement of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.”  The program also includes musical and vocal performances of Jack Kerouac’s American Haiku and On the Road, as well as screenings of two different versions of Shirley Clarke’s Bridges-Go-Round (1958). Please note the program now starts at 7:30 p.m.


REBEL CLASSICS FILM SERIES Tony Richardson’s Look Back in Anger (1958), starring Richard Burton. The film is based on a the play of the same name by John Osborne, whose papers reside at the Ransom Center.


MONDAY, JULY 28 and TUESDAY, JULY 29, 9 A.M.-4 P.M.
WORKSHOPS The Ransom Center and Education Service Center Region XIII offers free teacher workshops examining the United States in the 1950s. LEARN MORE about the topics and how to register.


Last day to see the current exhibitions Inside El Salvador and On the Road with the Beats.


First Photograph

A Window of Art

A new exhibition in a private home was inspired by Ransom Center collections: the First Photograph and the Denton Welch manuscript collection. The installation uses text from Welch’s journals to explore themes such as windows and interior vs. exterior—all painted on the living room walls of an Austin home in Hemphill Park. LEARN MORE about this project by non-profit arts organization Fluent Collaborative.


July/August 2008


Writers Reflect
Ransom Center open late on Thursdays
Explore The First Photograph

Masthead image:
(Detail) Kenneth Patchen's "In Back of Every Thoughtful Chicken" (1955).
News image:
Tennessee Williams, unknown photographer and date.
Exhibitions image:
Donna De Cesare, Edgar Bolaños — "There are lots of people here who want to kill me. I don't mean homeboys. I mean the really bad people from the organized crime rings and other people who just hate us."
Public Programs image:
Publicity still courtesy of Violet Crown Radio Players.
Insider's Perspective image:
New official image of the First Photograph in 2003, minus any manual retouching. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's View from the Window at Le Gras. c. 1826. Gernsheim Collection Harry Ransom Center / University of Texas at Austin. Photo by J. Paul Getty Museum.

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