UT Press has just released a book of campus-wide holdings celebrating the University of Texas at Austin’s vast collections. The Collections: The University of Texas at Austin is the initiative of Andrée Bober, founder and director of the University’s public art program, Landmarks. The book shares more than 80 discrete collections, reflecting the range of holdings at the University. The book offers a stunning look at the history, art, and artifacts that inspire imagination, creativity, and scholarship among the University community.
Harry Ransom Center
The conservation department of the Ransom Center is responsible for the care and preservation of the Center’s collections. This feature highlights repair and conservation work on collection items.
“Have you had a look in the Knopf collection?” Rick Watson, the head of reference services at the Ransom Center, sounded casual, and I wasn’t sure I had time to take the detour he was suggesting.
I spent a month at the Ransom Center last year, working mainly with the extensive Doris Lessing archive. [Read more…] about Fellows Find: Doris Lessing correspondence deepens insight into The Grass is Singing
Poet, translator, and editor Miller Williams (1930–2015) is known for writing poetry in plainspoken language that captured meaning in everyday experiences. The Ransom Center recently acquired his archive, which documents the career and writings of this influential American poet. [Read more…] about Recent acquisitions
The Harry Ransom Center’s current exhibition The World at War, 1914–1918 marks the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I. “The war to end all wars,” as it was optimistically dubbed, was one of the deadliest conflicts in history and paved the way for cultural and political change worldwide. This war, entrenched with heartbreak, heroes, villains, and camaraderie, inspired many stories both historical and fictional—some of which were captured for the silver screen.
Some of these films, including Wings (1927), The Big Parade (1925), and Sergeant York (1941), are highlighted in the current exhibition and the ongoing World War I Film Series, co-sponsored by the Austin Film Society and the Paramount Theatre.
Wings, released by Paramount Pictures in 1927, was filmed on location in San Antonio and was an homage to pilots of the First World War. The film tells the tale of two young fighter pilots who fall in love with the same woman. Hundreds of extras and some 300 pilots were involved in the filming, including pilots and planes of the United States Air Corps. It was directed by William “Wild Bill” Wellman, who had been both an ambulance driver and pilot during the war.
Starlet Clara Bow played Mary Preston, an irresistible Red Cross ambulance driver. Though Bow, known largely for her flapper dresses and pearls, despised the army uniforms required for her role, the film was one of her most successful. Wings costume designer Edith Head commented: “It’s pretty hard to look sexy in a U.S. Army uniform, but Clara managed.”
Wings went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. A film still from Wings is on view in the galleries.
King Vidor’s poignant and humanizing silent film The Big Parade follows the spoiled, lazy son of a wealthy family as he joins the army and proceeds to make a few friends and fall in love amid the hardships of war.
The Big Parade portrayed the human costs of war and was influential in the creation of later war movies. Widely popular, the film earned MGM studios an almost instant profit of $3.4 million upon reception. Watch a screening of The Big Parade at the Paramount Theatre tomorrow at 7 p.m. as part of the World War I Film Series.
Directed by Howard Hawks and starring Gary Cooper, Sergeant York is the true story of one of World War I’s most decorated soldiers, Alvin York. York was a hillbilly sharpshooter who, despite his misgivings and claims of being a pacifist, was drafted into the war and became a hero. Sergeant York was the top grossing film in 1941, and Cooper won the Academy Award for best actor.
Warner Brothers is releasing these three films, along with Dawn Patrol, in the WWI Centennial Commemoration DVD set on July 22.
Please click on thumbnails below to view larger images.
Alan Furst, a New York Times bestselling author whose archive resides at the Harry Ransom Center, recently published his latest novel Midnight in Europe.
Furst is widely recognized for his historical espionage novels set in the World War II era. His 2008 novel, The Spies of Warsaw, was adapted into a miniseries starring David Tenant and Janet Montgomery that premiered on the BBC in 2013. His works have been translated into 18 languages, and in 2011 he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.
Midnight in Europe is set in the outskirts of wartime Paris in 1938. Cristián Ferrar, a Spanish émigré and lawyer at an international law firm risks his life in a mission to help supply weapons to the Republic’s army. He is joined in his efforts by a motley crew of idealists, gangsters, arms traders, aristocrats, and spies, all compelled by different reasons to fight for righteous principles and democracy.
Image: Cover of Alan Furst’s novel Midnight in Europe.