Heritage, Volume 14, Number 4, Fall 1996 Page: 26
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HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE ARCHIVES OF TEXAS MUSEUMS
The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin
The Photography Collection of the
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
on the campus of the University of
Texas in Austin was established in 1963
with the purchase of the Gernsheim Collection,
then the largest privately owned
Since that time, the Photography Collection
has endeavored to maintain and
develop its holdings in such diverse areas of
photography as the fine arts, technology
and apparatus, photojournalism, documentary
photography, and historical and contemporary
literary imagery, in addition to
the acquisition of a wide range of archival
materials. These holdings currently amount
to more than five million prints and negatives,
supplemented by manuscripts, archives,
and memorabilia of significant photographers
of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Also included are some 3,000 pieces of
original photographic apparatus, as well as
a growing library of more than 35,000 books
and journals on the theory, technique, art,
and history of photography.
In addition to the world's first permanent
photograph from nature, the 1826
creation of the pioneer Joseph Nic6phore
Ni6pce, the Collection features significant
holdings of such notable early photographers
as William Henry Fox Talbot, D.O.
Hill and Robert Adamson, Roger Fenton,
Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll,
O.G. Rejlander, Henry Peach Robinson,
Peter Henry Emerson, Paul Martin, and
Christina Broom, among others. This range
and diversity extends through the 20th
century with artists such as Alvin Langdon
Coburn, E.O. Goldbeck, Walker Evans,
Russell Lee, Sir Cecil Beaton, Raymond
Moore, Fritz Henle, Ruth Robertson, and
Eliot Elisofon. Aficionados of Texas photography
will be fascinated by the collection
of West Texas photographer W.D.
Smithers, which is included in the collec"There
is probably no
sphere of activity in our
modern civilization that
could be thought of today
Next to the printed word
the photographic image
is the widest form of
communication, and for
this reason it has been
aptly called the most
since that of the printing
- Helmut Gernsheim
tion at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research
Center. Finally, both significant individual
pieces and large archives of contemporary
photographers continue to be
The variety of scholarly, multi-disciplinary
approaches that may be applied to
the Center's Photography Collection ranges
from the examination of the works of a
particular photographer to a study of the
intellectual and physical factors that shaped
the development and influence of the medium:
from photohistorical questions of
international significance to those of regional
importance; from the qualitative
appreciation, analysis, or interpretation of
an individual work to that of a specific
movement, process, or idea.
Exhibitions and displays featuring materials
from the Collection are shown at
various times throughout the year. Niepce's
heliograph of 1826 is on permanent display.
The Department is open to scholars and
the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m. Reservations to use the research
facilities are requested but not required.
The HRC is located at 21st and
Guadalupe Streets on the campus of the
University of Texas, and the Photography
Collection is housed on the Sixth Floor of
Reprinted with permission from the Harry
Ransom Humanities Research Center.
The images on the next page are reprinted
from the Photography Collection at the Harry
Ransom Humanities Research Center at the
University of Texas at Austin.
The two photographs are from the book
"Itinerant Photographer Corpus Christi,
1934" by Sybil Miller. The publication is a
collection of more than 500 photos made by an
anonymous itinerantphotographer duringFebruary
1934 in Corpus Christi.
26 HERITAGE *FALL 1996
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 4, Fall 1996, periodical, Autumn 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45407/m1/26/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.