In Memoriam: Harry Huntt Ransom
H ARRY HUNTT RANSON, ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF THE Southwestern His-
torical Quarterly from 1952 to I958 and author of "A Renaissance
Gentleman in Texas: Notes on the Life and Library of Swante Palm,"'
died this past April 19 while visiting his wife's parents near Dripping
Springs. More than any other man in its history, Ransom typified the
aspirations of The University of Texas at Austin in its intermittent attempts
Although Ransom's top titular position was chancellor of the University
System for almost ten years, he is perhaps best known for his love of books
and his active pursuit of collections for the Texas library. His most lasting
contribution is the Humanities Research Center, housed in a building that
bears his name. Largely on the basis of the Humanities Research Center
Collection-literature, history of science, theater arts, photography, and
cartography-the UT-Austin Library was given a place in Anthony Hob-
son's book Great Libraries, which described the thirty-two leading libraries
in western Europe and North America. Only five American libraries were
Born in Galveston on November 22, I908, Ransom attended school at
the University of the South in Sewanee, Yale, and the University of Lon-
don. He held degrees from the University of the South, Austin College, and
Baylor, Trinity, and Texas Christian universities. He joined The University
of Texas at Austin faculty as a part-time instructor in English in 1935 and
advanced through the teaching ranks to full professorship in I947. For
years he was chairman of the Plan II liberal arts program for the bachelor
of arts degree. He founded the Texas Quarterly in 1958 and served as
chairman of its editorial board until his death. His principal research inter-
est was in the field of copyright law and bibliography.
Ransom entered the University administration in 1951 as assistant dean
of the Graduate School. He became associate dean of the Graduate School
in 1953, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in I954, vice president
and provost in 1957, and president of UT-Austin in 1960. He became
chancellor of the UT System the next year.
Besides books, Ransom had an abiding concern for the individual stu-
1Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LIII (January, 1950), 225-238.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/. Accessed January 26, 2015.