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Shakespeare. Keats. Tennyson. The University of Texas at Austin had already acquired manuscripts and first editions by these notable authors by the time Harry Huntt Ransom founded the Humanities Research Center in 1957. Rather than continue to mine the Renaissance and Romantic eras for artifacts, Ransom ushered the archives into the 20th century by obtaining the collections of literary legends such as James Joyce and Dylan Thomas. Under the curatorial eye of current director Stephen Enniss, the facility??known these days as the Harry Ransom Center??includes the archives of Robert De Niro and David Mamet, Magnum Photos, David Foster Wallace, Ed Ruscha, and the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate papers.
All told, the center contains 42 million leaves of manuscript, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and 100,000 works of art, which, according to Frommer's, are available for any visitor's perusal. Inside the building's galleries, exhibitions showcase material alongside permanently displayed items such as one of five complete copies of the Gutenburg Bible. The Harry Ransom Center also hosts a range of public and academic programs, events, and symposia annually.