Exhibition Reveals Range of Stories from Ransom Center’s Collections

AUSTIN, Texas — Stories of inspiration, adaptation, innovation, confrontation, collaboration and even frustration can be found within the Harry Ransom Center’s extensive cultural collections.

Stories to Tell

From Feb. 6 to July 16, the exhibition “Stories to Tell: Selections from the Harry Ransom Center” features more than 250 items from the collections. Exclusively drawn from the Center’s holdings, the exhibition provides insight into the creative process while also establishing meaningful, personal connections between the past and the present.

“The Ransom Center’s rich holdings highlight the struggles, the complexity and the rewards of creative work in literature, art, photography, film and the performing arts,” said Cathy Henderson, associate director for education and exhibitions at the Ransom Center. “Through telling these stories, this exhibition unlocks and illuminates the profoundly human reach of archives.”

Visitors will discover:

What ties Homer’s “The Odyssey” to James Joyce’s “Ulysses”?

What made Nigerian author Amos Tutuola finally start writing books in his native language?

What forced famed painter and sculptor Henri Matisse to turn to collage for his art book “Jazz”?

Why was a “sugar coffin” sent to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of the early 20th century?

What can a dance costume from the Ballets Russes production of “Narcisse” reveal?

How did Robert De Niro prepare for his performance in “Taxi Driver”?

What made the 1968 Democratic and Republican national conventions such great subjects for photographer David Douglas Duncan?

How did staffers from The Washington Post humanize figures involved in the Watergate scandal?

What social issues concerned artist Elizabeth Olds, the first woman to receive a Guggenheim fellowship?

How did author David Foster Wallace approach drafting and editing his work?

What did Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle think about the afterlife?

The exhibition makes clear the interconnections between seemingly unrelated collections and illuminates how the Ransom Center acquires, preserves and makes these resources available to all. It also documents the creative process across different mediums and divulges the steps and efforts of artistic works, reminding us how the humanities enrich us.

“Stories to Tell” will be on view in the University of Texas at Austin’s Ransom Center Galleries on Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Daily docent-led tours are offered at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

High-resolution press images are available.