Ransom Center receives $340,000 grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

April 24, 2003

AUSTIN, Texas—The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of The University of Texas at Austin has received a $340,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support preservation and cataloging of a large portion of the center’s modern French literary and visual arts holdings, including works in history, literature, music, philosophy, photography, religion and women’s studies.

A note signed by Napoleon concerning one of his finest generals, Jean Lannes
A note signed by Napoleon concerning one of his finest generals, Jean Lannes. In honor of his battle victories Napoleon made him duc de Montebello. From the Princess Marthe Bibesco papers.

“This grant improves access to important collections that constitute a major scholarly resource in French culture,” said Thomas F. Staley, director of the Ransom Center. “The support of the Mellon Foundation not only provides students, researchers and the general public access to a wealth of research materials, but also ensures the preservation of these valued resources.”

The award makes possible the arranging, housing and description of four sizable modern French collections, specifically the Ransom Center’s Carlton Lake Collection, holdings widely recognized as one of the finest research collections of modern French materials outside of France; the Princess Marthe Bibesco papers; the William Bradley Literary Agency records; and the Edouard Dujardin papers.

The grant funds the Ransom Center’s archival staff, computer equipment and preservation supplies for the two-year project. The University of Texas at Austin is supporting a digital component of the project through selective scanning of collection items via the Digital Knowledge Gateway Initiative, an effort to digitize and make available online university-owned resources held in its libraries, museums and collections.

“In light of The University of Texas at Austin’s commitment to make our cultural assets available to all citizens through the Web, this grant is particularly timely,” Staley said.

The Mellon grant complements the mission of the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies in an effort to foster exchanges between the university and French institutions.

“Through encouraging disciplinary research between France and the university, this grant allows for the creation of an unequalled resource for scholars,” Staley said.

The Ransom Center’s Department of Archives and Visual Materials will oversee the creation of archival finding aids for each collection, including scope and content notes, series descriptions and an index of correspondents and photographic materials. Using the Encoded Archival Description standard, finding aids will be created for each collection in the university’s online catalog.

One of the university’s treasures, the Ransom Center houses one of the world’s finest cultural archives, specifically 36 million manuscripts, five million photographs, one million books and over 100,000 works of art and design.

For more information contact: Jennifer Tisdale, 512-471-8949.