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Love letters from the archive

By Charley Binkow

The millions of materials in the Ransom Center are as diverse as they are interesting. But everything inside is united by one common focus, the humanities—the exploration of what it means to be human. The artists, writers, poets, musicians, filmmakers, and everyone else whose belongings and legacies live in the archives all captured different aspects of the human experience. They explored the essences of art, of beauty, of tragedy, and perhaps most importantly (especially if you trust John Lennon) of love. Read more

Shop for merchandise inspired by Frank Reaugh exhibition

By Christine Lee

 “Frank Reaugh was the most improbable of artists, a European-trained Impressionist whose entire oeuvre was devoted to Longhorn cattle and the West Texas landscape.” –Ron Tyler, “Foreword”

 

Enjoy a deeper look into Reaugh’s work with Windows on the West: The Art of Frank Reaugh, the companion publication edited by Ransom Center Curator of Art Peter F. Mears. This hard-back publication features in-depth essays from four contributors and more than 100 images that exemplify Frank Reaugh’s life’s work. Read more

Twenty-four Hours with the Herd, a night of image and sound with Graham Reynolds

By Kathleen Telling

Critically acclaimed Austin composer Graham Reynolds (Golden Arm Trio, Bernie, Before Sunset) breathes new life into Frank Reaugh’s 1933 masterpiece, Twenty-four Hours with the Herd, a musical presentation of Reaugh’s stunning seven-part pastel series depicting the West Texas plains as a backdrop to cattle drives. Read more

Teachers mine Ransom Center archives for lesson planning gold

By Charley Binkow

With the support of UTeach Liberal Arts and the Jefferson Center for Core Texts and Ideas, University of Texas at Austin professor Elon Lang led a one-week workshop at the Harry Ransom Center this summer called “Teaching from the Archives.” It gives educators first-hand experience with the resources of the Ransom Center so they can enhance their own middle and high school classes. About a dozen teachers and librarians met at the Ransom Center each morning to explore and learn from the archive. Read more

Commitment to collecting

By Harry Ransom Center

Going back to the origins of research libraries, there is a long history of scholars building collections to suit personal interests, constructing around themselves an athenaeum of books that supported their individual research goals. And when that scholar moved on—to another job or another world—the collection sometimes withered, without a champion to continue telling its story. Read more

Social Media: Nothing New? Commonplace Books As Predecessor to Pinterest

By Kelsey McKinney

The Ransom Center’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibition includes a commonplace book kept by Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) with information about ciphers, anagrams, stenography, and labyrinths. As Kelsey McKinney, a former public affairs intern, writes, these “personal anthologies” functioned as “literary scrapbooks”. While these scrapbooks were “commonplace” in Victorian culture, modern means of communication fulfill the same desire for people to record and share their life experiences.

The exhibition—and Dodgson’s commonplace book—are on view at the Ransom Center through July 6, 2015.

Before the affordability of personal libraries, and before people were able to access the world’s knowledge through the Internet, readers and writers had to find reasonable ways to consolidate and store information that could be useful to them. There were no social media to help them aggregate and share stories, quotes, recipes, or images. That doesn’t mean they didn’t do exactly that. They created personal anthologies called commonplace books. Read more