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Harry Ransom Center eNews February 2011 eNews
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  NEWS

Photo of Thomas F. Staley by Anthony Maddaloni.

Staley to remain director of the Harry Ransom Center

Bill Powers, President of The University of Texas at Austin, recently announced that Tom Staley has agreed to stay on as director of the Harry Ransom Center. Staley was previously scheduled to retire on August 31 of this year. LEARN MORE.

 

Ransom Center director honored with Texas Medal of Arts

The Texas Cultural Trust has announced honorees for the 2011 Texas Medal of Arts Awards. The honor, inspired by the National Medal of Arts, has been bestowed upon 59 Texas leaders and luminaries in the arts and entertainment industry for creative excellence and exemplary talents since its inception in 2001. LEARN MORE.

 

Plate painted by Pablo Picasso donated by photojournalist Duncan

The Ransom Center has received a plate painted by Pablo Picasso from David Douglas Duncan, a photojournalist whose archive resides at the Ransom Center. Picasso painted the plate, a piece of commercial dinnerware, at his home Villa La Californie in Cannes, France, on April 19, 1957. Dedicated to Duncan’s dog Lump, a dachshund, the plate is 24 centimeters in diameter and contains a portrait of Lump. LEARN MORE.

 

Ransom Center receives grant to catalog Spanish "comedias sueltas"

The Ransom Center has received $137,015 from the Council on Library and Information Resources Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program for “Revealing Texas Collections of 'Comedias Sueltas.'” The Ransom Center holds more than 14,000 “comedias sueltas,” a generic term for plays published in small pamphlet formats in Spain from the late seventeenth through the nineteenth century. LEARN MORE.

 

Join us for “Wild at Heart”

Celebrate the opening of the exhibitions Becoming Tennessee Williams and Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century on Friday, February 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. Guests will enjoy a first glimpse at the exhibitions, light hors d’oeuvres, a New Orleans-inspired cocktail created by Balcones Distilling, readings of Williams’s The Night of the Iguana performed by Different Stages Theater Company, and more. Become a member now to receive your complimentary ticket and valet parking. Non-members may purchase tickets to the event for $20 (valet parking included). JOIN or purchase tickets at the door.

 

Ransom Center receives grant to catalog collection of science materials

The Ransom Center has received a $10,000 grant from the Friends of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics to rehouse, rearrange, and create an online finding aid for its holdings of the Herschel family papers. These papers largely represent the life and work of Sir John F. W. Herschel (1792–1871), an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor. LEARN MORE.

 

  CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

Becoming Tennessee Williams Through July 31, 2011

Becoming Tennessee Williams

With his plays The Glass Menagerie (1945) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), the American playwright Tennessee Williams (1911–1983) reinvented the theater. Drawing on the Ransom Center’s extensive collection of Tennessee Williams manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and artwork, this centenary exhibition explores the idea, act, and process of artistic creation, illuminating how Thomas Lanier Williams became Tennessee Williams. Williams asserted that most of his plays dealt with the “wild at heart kept in cages,” a description, perhaps, of his own life. Throughout the exhibition, Williams’s personal biography is compared and contrasted with the dramatic structure of his plays. LEARN MORE.

 

Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century

This exhibition commemorates the Ransom Center's tireless hunt for archives that will capture the imagination, invigorate scholarly research, and deepen our understanding of culture. Highlighting major acquisitions in this new century, the exhibition demonstrates how the Center builds a collection of interrelated archives that strengthen and give context to one another. The exhibition showcases materials from both major and lesser-known figures, from writers David Mamet, David Foster Wallace, and Don DeLillo to Brian Moore and Jayne Anne Phillips, from journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to acting teacher Stella Adler. The exhibition explains how archives come to the Ransom Center and how they contribute to our cultural history. LEARN MORE.

 

  FEBRUARY PROGRAMS

Poetry on the Plaza: Tennessee WilliamsWEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, NOON
READING Poetry on the Plaza: Tennessee Williams

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 6 P.M. 
OPENING Join us for “Wild at Heart,” the opening reception for the exhibitions Becoming Tennessee Williams and Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century. Free for Ransom Center members; $20 for non-members. Join, renew, and view details.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 6 P.M.
MEMBER EVENT Eli Reed, award-winning photojournalist and member of the Magnum Photos cooperative, discusses his work in a private, behind-the-scenes presentation. Open to Friends of Photography members and Guild-level members and above; RSVP required. Join, renew, or upgrade.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 7 P.M.
TOUR Charlotte Canning, exhibition curator and Professor of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin, leads a gallery tour of Becoming Tennessee Williams.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 7 P.M.
TOUR Megan Barnard, exhibition curator and Deputy to the Director for Acquisitions and Administration at the Ransom Center, leads a gallery tour of Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 6:30 P.M.
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY, MANCHACA BRANCH, 5500 MANCHACA ROAD
BOOK DISCUSSION The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and Ransom Center host a discussion of David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster and Other Essays in conjunction with the exhibition Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 6 P.M.
MEMBER EVENT Megan Barnard, exhibition curator and Deputy to the Director for Acquisitions and Administration at the Ransom Center, leads a private members-only tour of the exhibition Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century. A reception follows. Open to Alliance-level members and above; RSVP required. Join, renew, or upgrade.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 7 P.M.
AUSTIN PUBLIC LIBRARY, LITTLE WALNUT CREEK BRANCH, 835 W. RUNDBERG LANE
BOOK DISCUSSION The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and Ransom Center host a discussion of Jayne Anne Phillips’s Lark & Termite in conjunction with the exhibition Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 7 P.M.
LECTURE Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley presents “The Thrill of the Chase,” a talk detailing his adventures in acquisitions during his 23 years at the Center.


INSIDER'S PERSPECTIVE

Primp My BooksPrimp My Book: A brief history of the customized reading experience

Long before viewers watched Pimp My Ride or American Chopper—in fact, long before the combustion engine—readers personalized, customized, glamorized, and just plain peacocked their books. Whether encrusted with jewels, adorned by portraits of queens, or scribbled upon with ballpoint pens, the books in this article demonstrate post-market enhancements, or primping, as a recurring phenomenon in book culture across centuries. LEARN MORE and view a slideshow of "primped" books from the Center's collections.

 

 
February 2011

IN THIS ISSUE

IMAGE CREDITS
Masthead image:
(Detail) Denis Johnson's baby footprints from family scrapbook. This item is featured in the Culture Unbound exhibition.
News image:
Photo of Thomas F. Staley by Anthony Maddaloni.
Exhibitions image:
Graphic identity for the Becoming Tennessee Williams exhibition.
Public Programs image:
Undated photo of Tennessee Williams in Biloxi, Mississippi. Unknown photographer.
Insider's Perspective image:
The New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Photo by Pete Smith.

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