Street Address
University of Texas at Austin(located at 21st Street and Guadalupe)
300 West 21st Street
Austin, TX 78713
Mailing Address
Post Office Drawer 7219
Austin, TX 78713
phone: 512-471-8944
fax: 512-471-9646
Open to public
Museum Type(s)
Thomas Staley, Director
phone: 512-471-9111
Sue Murphy, Associate Director,Ransom Center art collection
phone: 512-471-8944
Mary Beth Bigger, Associate Director,Technical services
phone: 512-471-8944
Sally Leach, Associate Director
phone: 512-471-8944
Roy Flukinger, Curator of Photography.Ransom Center photo collection; History of Photography
phone: 512-471-9124
Peter Mears, Assistant Curator of Art
phone: 512-471-4663
David Coleman, Assistant Curator of Photography
phone: 512-471-9124
Rich Oram, Head Librarian
phone: 512-471-9119
Cathy Henderson, Research Librarian
phone: 512-471-9119
Kris Keisling, Head of Dept. of Manuscripts & Archives
phone: 512-471-8944


Harry Ransom Museum in Austin, TX is one of more than 15,400 museums in the MuseumsUSA directory. Find an exciting museum to visit where you live or vacation today.


The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center is one of the world's foremost institutions for literary and cultural research. Located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, the Ransom Center houses approximately thirty million manuscripts, one million books, five million photographs, and 100,000 pieces of art, in addition to major holdings in theater arts and film. The Ransom Center is an approachable, user-friendly institution that provides a variety of services to users.

The University committed itself to acquiring and preserving special collections for research in 1918, when it purchased the John Henry Wrenn Library, a distinguished collection made up of nearly six thousand first and rare editions of English and American authors. But it was in 1957, through the vision of Dr. Harry Huntt Ransom, that the Ransom Center was established as it exists today.

Ransom installed a collection development unit and launched a new era of intense purchasing and acquisition, focusing on English, American, and French literature. Much of what Ransom acquired were rare books, first editions, and manuscripts of important works. Often entire libraries, collections, and archives were purchased at once, enabling Ransom to assemble a major research library in a very short period of time.

Ransom wanted to create an institution where scholars could study not only the works of an author, but also his/her creative process. This desire compelled Ransom to collect writers entire libraries and manuscripts collections, including personal correspondence, drafts of their major literary works, and such personal effects as Gertrude Stein s eye glasses and Edgar Allan Poe s writing desk.

Some of the Ransom Center's most important collections began as complements to the literary collections: portraits and photographs of and by literary greats, drawings by prominent book illustrators, cartoons and caricatures by famous writers, sketches of theatre sets and costumes, works of art created by celebrated writers and poets.

Artifacts Collections

The vast holding of the Ransom Center include collections of manuscripts, rare books, photography, theatre arts, and visual art.

Manuscript Collection: The Ransom Center's nine million manuscripts include unpublished materials, annotated typescripts, revised manuscripts, and corrected proofs, as well as personal memorabilia and correspondence. The manuscript collection is strongest in 20th-century literature, but begins in the 15th century. The principle strengths of the collections are in British, American, and French literature. Several collections are world renowned: Carlton Lake French Literary Collection, German collection, history of science, American literature, and British literature. A sampling of authors represented are Samuel Beckett, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Robert Browning, Lord Byron, Graham Green, Lillian Hellman, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, Arthur Miller, Anne Sexton, George Bernard Shaw, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, and Tennessee Williams.

Rare Book Collection: The Ransom Center's one million rare books include examples of first and subsequent editions, translations, abridgements, fine printing, noteworthy bookbindings, and books on vellum, as well as historically important or unusual books by famous writers, novelists, poets, and dramatists. Highlights of the collection include a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, the Medici Collection of Italian history (1502-1800), Ptolemaic papyri (3rd to 1st century B.C.), three Shakespeare first folios, and the Pforzhgeim Library of English Literature (1475- 1700). Also included are the personal libraries of famous individuals such as James Joyce, Evelyn Waugh, and e. e. cummings. A variety of archival collections from publishing companies, literary agents, book dealers, writers' organizations, small presses, and magazines provide a broad context for literary study. Further documentation comes from important literary presses: Aldine Press (1495-1588), Elsevier Press, F

Educational Programs

Lecture series,Symposia,Adult Education,Children's programs.

Generally, the Ransom Center's programming is aimed at the students and faculty of the University of Texas. They hold regular public lecture series in conjunction with their exhibitions.


A Guide to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, published by UT Austin, 1990, is available for sale from the Ransom Center for a nominal fee. The book provides a solid overview of the Ransom Center's collections. For a current list of books in print relating to the Ransom Center's collections, contact the administrative offices