9.22.2006

A Century of Faces Archived at Ransom


I used to work in the archive at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, which houses the largest photography collection in the US.

A major retrospective of the photographs of Arnold Newman is on display there. They've aquired the entire Newman archive, "including all of the artist's negatives, slides and color transparencies, all of his contact sheets and more than 2,000 prints"

"Arnold Newman photographed nearly all of the major icons of the 20th century during his lifetime, including every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Bill Clinton. He captured on film the century's most celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso and Georgia O'Keefe, writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Langston Hughes, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, whom he called "the saddest woman I've ever known."

In fact, when considering the major cultural figures of the 20th century, the more logical question is whom did Newman not photograph. When asked, Newman would quickly answer, "Albert Einstein." The physicist died just two days before their scheduled photo shoot."

[Quotes from Vivé Griffith, The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, UT]

"The Harry Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and over 100,000 works of art. Highlights include the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1455), the First Photograph (c. 1826), important paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and major manuscript collections of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Tennessee Williams, to name but a few.

[Photo: Harry Ransom Center, UT, quote from the website]

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