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Anne Frank and the archive

By Eric Colleary

It has been over 60 years since The Diary of Anne Frank was first published in the United States. Frequently listed among the most significant books of the twentieth century, the classic account of the 13-year-old girl who hid from the Nazis with her family in an attic in Amsterdam has long been an international bestseller. Many came to know the story in Read more

Preserving “The Eyes of Texas”

By Charley Binkow

The Harry Ransom Center recently treated a document near and dear to its home. The original manuscript for “The Eyes of Texas,” the alma mater for The University of Texas at Austin, was in need of conservation.  The Texas Exes, the alumni organization which holds the manuscript, brought the framed artifact to the Ransom Center’s conservation lab for treatment.  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