Screenwriter and Director Paul Schrader Donates Collection to Harry Ransom Center

March 15, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Screenwriter and director Paul Schrader has donated his collection to the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin. Schrader wrote screenplays for such iconic films as "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Blue Collar" (1978), "Raging Bull" (1980), "American Gigolo" (1980), "The Mosquito Coast" (1986) and "Affliction" (1997).

Paul Schrader
Undated photo of Paul Schrader. Unknown photographer.

"I first heard about the Ransom Center through Robert De Niro, when his collection came here," said Schrader. "He told me that this was the place to be, and I am excited about giving my papers to the Center, where they will be used by students and scholars."

Schrader had previously donated De Niro's costume from "Taxi Driver" after De Niro donated his archive to the Ransom Center in 2006. The costume is now on display in the Ransom Center's exhibition "Making Movies," which runs through Aug. 1.

The Schrader collection consists of more than 300 boxes and includes outlines and drafts of scripts and screenplays, correspondence, production materials, videos, audio tapes, press clippings, photographs and juvenilia.

One of America's most highly regarded writer-directors, Schrader began his involvement with film by taking a summer cinema course at Columbia University while he was a student at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. After graduation in 1968, he attended UCLA's film school, becoming a film critic for the Los Angeles Free Press and an editor of Cinema magazine.

His thesis on film directors Yasajiro Ozu, Robert Bresson and Carl Dreyer was published as "Transcendental Style in Film" by the University of California Press. Schrader's first success came with his screenplay for "The Yakuza" (1974), which was written with his brother Leonard and directed by Sydney Pollack. He followed this work with his screenplay for Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," now considered a film classic. In 1977 Schrader began his own directorial career with the working-class drama "Blue Collar," starring Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor. He has written scripts for such directors as Brian De Palma ("Obsession" in 1976), Joan Tewkesbury ("Old Boyfriends" in 1978), Peter Weir ("The Mosquito Coast"), Harold Becker ("City Hall" in 1995) and Martin Scorsese ("Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1988 and "Bringing Out the Dead" in 1999.)

The collection also contains books, including Schrader's annotated copy of "The Last Temptation of Christ." There are also clippings of articles and film reviews that Schrader wrote for the Los Angeles Free Press.

Significant correspondents include Scorsese, De Niro, Harold Pinter and Natasha Richardson.

"We're excited to have Paul Schrader's archive come to the Ransom Center," said Steve Wilson, associate curator of film at the Ransom Center. "His talent as both a screenwriter and director is abundant and well known, and he has been involved with some of the iconic and thought-provoking films of the last 30 years. The collection is enriched by the connections with other Ransom Center collections, such as the archives of Robert De Niro and Russell Banks, and I'm certain that students and scholars will find it enormously useful and enlightening."

Other film collections at the Ransom Center include those of producer David O. Selznick, screenwriters Ernest Lehman and Jay Presson Allen, and actress Gloria Swanson.

The collection will be made accessible once it is processed and cataloged. A small case of materials from the collection will be on display in the Ransom Center lobby through March 21.

High-resolution press images are available.

For more information, contact: Alicia Dietrich, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512 232 3667;  Jennifer Tisdale, Harry Huntt Ransom Humanities Research Center, 512-471-8949.

3 Comments to "Screenwriter and Director Paul Schrader Donates Collection to Harry Ransom Center"

1.  David Kipen said on March 18, 2010

Great get, guys. Please tell Steve Wilson I'd love to compare notes about screenwriters worth acquiring...

All finest,
David Kipen, M.L.I.S. '11 (expected)
Author, "The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History" (Melville House, 2006)

2.  Debbie LeBlanc said on March 22, 2010

Always interested in what's going on at the Harry Ransom Center. I'm a 1977 UT Austin grad and just visited for the first time this past year - shame on me! Had the pleasure of attending a Dave Banks lecture in the Houston area and HIGHLY recommend him and his work for the Harry Ransom Center lecture series. Check out davidnbanks.com and davebanks.wordpress.com. He's a three-time Emmy award-winning documentarian and a truly fascinating down to earth Indiana Jones.

3.  Melody said on March 24, 2010

Good job, HRC!