Magnum Photos Collection Opens to Researchers, Students and Public

June 17, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — The Magnum Photos Collection, comprising more than 1,300 boxes of photographic materials, is now open to researchers, students and the public at the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Magnum collection at the Harry Ransom Center. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.
The Magnum Photos collection at the Harry Ransom Center. Photo by Anthony Maddaloni.

Dating from the 1930s to 2004, the bulk of the 210,000 photographs from Magnum Photos' New York bureau are gelatin silver prints, though the collection also contains some color prints.

An inventory of the collection can be found online.

In February, MSD Capital L.P., Magnum Photos and the Ransom Center announced that the collection would reside at the Ransom Center pursuant to an agreement with its new owner, an affiliate of MSD Capital, which had recently acquired the prints from Magnum Photos.

The collection of images, taken by world-renowned Magnum photographers, will be preserved, cataloged and made accessible by the Ransom Center.

"Among the many great strengths of this collection is its scope and diversity," said Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley. "Magnum photographers have artfully chronicled some of the century's most critical moments and figures, from social unrest to war from political leaders to celebrities, and their work has often given voice to those traditionally omitted from news reporting."

The works of more than 100 Magnum photographers, such as Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Susan Meiselas and Elliott Erwitt, are included in the collection.

While the Ransom Center preserved the original physical order of the collection, it created a preliminary inventory that intellectually groups similar types of materials together to aid search, retrieval and access. These broad groups include photographers, personalities, subjects, geography, and portraits and snapshots of Magnum photographers, staff, contributors and meetings.

"Upon receipt of the collection, one of the Ransom Center's top priorities was to provide access as soon as possible to the materials," said David Coleman, curator of photography at the Ransom Center. "While this preliminary inventory enables that access, our future goal is to provide more detailed information, to list personalities individually and include subcategories for the series relating to subjects and geographical locations."

The collection is accessible in the Ransom Center's reading room on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to making materials accessible, the Ransom Center annually awards fellowships that support scholarly research projects in its collections. Applicants must demonstrate the necessity of substantial on-site use of the Center's collections. Information about the fellowships is available online.

The collection resides at the Ransom Center courtesy of MSD Capital, Michael and Susan Dell, Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, and John and Amy Phelan.

High-resolution press images are available.

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