Explore the Humanities Field at the Harry Ransom Center

Are you a fan of Frida Kahlo’s art? If so, head over to the Harry Ransom Center, where you’ll see some of the most unique self-portraits in the art world. In fact, the Harry Ransom Center houses several important works by the seminal Mexican painter. Among them are “Still Life With Parrot and Fruit” and “Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.”

The Harry Ransom Center is primarily a humanities research center. However, it also hosts many community events and book club meetings. While initial collections were based on literary acquisitions, modern exhibits highlight the film, art, photography, and performing arts industries. Here are some highlights. When planning your visit to the museum, check for updated hours of operation this spring.

Art Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

The art collection’s 65,000 items range from 15-century prints to contemporary works. You’ll see:

  • Paintings by D.H. Lawrence, E. E. Cummings, and Tennessee Williams
  • Works on paper by Robert Rauschenberg, Betye Saar, and Jasper Johns
  • Works by Mexican artists Miguel Covarrubias, José Posada, and Diego Rivera

Early Books and Manuscripts

This collection is especially prized by bibliophiles. You’ll see early printed books and other printed objects from the premodern world, such as:

  • One of 20 complete Gutenberg Bibles in the world
  • Mercator’s 1541 terrestrial globe
  • Buckminster Fuller’s Tetrascroll

Film at the Harry Ransom Center

The items in the film collection offer multi-faceted insights into the creative process of filmmaking. You’ll see:

  • The film archive of David O. Selznick
  • The film archive of Robert De Niro
  • Matthew Weiner’s archive of the television series Mad Men


Generally, the literature collection is based on the ground-breaking idea that manuscripts about the daily lives of writers provide valuable insights into human nature. You’ll see:

  • Jack Kerouac’s notebook documenting his experience of writing On The Road
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s desk
  • Charlotte Brontë’s childhood writings

Performing Arts

The performing arts holdings are wide and include theater, circus, opera, as well as puppetry exhibits. You’ll see:

  • Harry Houdini’s love letters to his wife Nell
  • John Wilkes Booth’s promptbook for Richard III
  • The papers of Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, and Tom Stoppard

Photography at the Harry Ransom Center

The photography collection spans the history of photography from the oldest surviving photograph from the camera obscura to the latest contemporary photography.

  • Photographic explorations by William Fox Talbot.
  • Works by Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll.
  • The Archives of Elliot Erwitt.

All in all, the Harry Ransom Center offers plenty of value for anyone interested in the field of humanities. So, if you’d like to live in a central location that affords you access to this historic destination, consider making Cole Apartments your next home. For more information or to schedule a tour of our grounds, contact us today.

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