Harry Ransom Center, Austin - Humanities Research Center inside University of Texas with oldest surviving camera photograph

When I was in Austin, during one of the days I visited University of Texas and one of the most amazing places there is Harry Ransom Center. There are multiple reasons to like this place but mine was mainly related to a very interesting photography equipment places at Harry Ransom Center of Austin. I will be sharing more about this Photography equipment and other rare artefacts preserved here. Harry Ransom Center is a place where some interesting exhibitions keep happening so it's worth to keep a watch on activities happening in Harry Ransom Center of Austin. Let's find more about Harry Ransom Center through this blogpost and also know about that special Photography equipment which draws attention of many to this place in Austin.

When I was in Austin, during one of the days I visited University of Texas and one of the most amazing places there is Harry Ransom Center. There are multiple reasons to like this place but mine was mainly related to a very interesting photography equipment places at Harry Ransom Center of Austin. I will be sharing more about this Photography equipment and other rare artefacts preserved here. Harry Ransom Center is a place where some interesting exhibitions keep happening so it's worth to keep a watch on activities happening in Harry Ransom Center of Austin. Let's find more about Harry Ransom Center through this blogpost and also know about that special Photography equipment which draws attention of many to this place in Austin. 


The Harry Ransom Center was earlier known as Humanities Research Center inside University of Texas, Austin. It's an archive, library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, specialising in the collection of literary and cultural artefacts from the Americas and Europe for the purpose of advancing the study of the arts and humanities. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art. Unfortunately we couldn't see all of that as it was closing in some time for that day.   Related Blogpost - Barton Springs Pool - A beautiful recreational outdoor swimming pool with natural spring water around Zilker Park, Austin

The Harry Ransom Center was earlier known as Humanities Research Center inside University of Texas, Austin. It's an archive, library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, specialising in the collection of literary and cultural artefacts from the Americas and Europe for the purpose of advancing the study of the arts and humanities. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art. Unfortunately we couldn't see all of that as it was closing in some time for that day. 



When we were visiting Harry Ransom Center, an exhibition "WOMEN and the MAKING of JOYCE's ULYSSES" and the video below tells more about it.

When we were visiting Harry Ransom Center, an exhibition "WOMEN and the MAKING of JOYCE's ULYSSES" and the video below tells more about it.

When we were visiting Harry Ransom Center, an exhibition "WOMEN and the MAKING of JOYCE's ULYSSES" and the video below tells more about it.

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In the exhibition, there were multiple interesting artefacts showcases including above typewriter. Exhibition also had lot of old books by Joyce.   Related Blogpost - The Beautiful Mount Bunnell - One of the most popular tourist attractions with stunning panoramic views of Colorado river surrounded by posh neighbourhood of Austin City, New Mexico, USA

In the exhibition, there were multiple interesting artefacts showcases including above typewriter. Exhibition also had lot of old books by Joyce. 



View from the Window at Le Gras is a heliographic image, which you see in above photograph and the oldest surviving camera photograph. It was created by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce in either 1826 or 1827 in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France, and shows parts of the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, as seen from a high window.

View from the Window at Le Gras is a heliographic image, which you see in above photograph and the oldest surviving camera photograph. It was created by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce in either 1826 or 1827 in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France, and shows parts of the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, as seen from a high window.

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Above drawing is pasted near this photograph as it's very hard to see into the photograph and figure out what's in there. You have to be a right spot w.r.t. lighting in that room to see this photograph.   Related Blogpost - Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue - One of the popular tourist attractions around Lady Bird Lake in Austin City of New Mexico, USA

Above drawing is pasted near this photograph as it's very hard to see into the photograph and figure out what's in there. You have to be a right spot w.r.t. lighting in that room to see this photograph. 


During a study and conservation project in 2002–2003, scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute examined the photograph using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and other techniques. They confirmed that the image consists of bitumen and that the metal plate is pewter (tin alloyed with lead, as well as trace amounts of iron, copper, and nickel). The Institute also designed and built the elaborate display case system that now houses the artifact in a continuously monitored, stabilized, oxygen-free environment.  Related Blogpost - Zilker Park in Austin - One of the best Parks in the city which hosts 'Austin City Limits Music Festival' & 'Zilker Park Kite Festival'

During a study and conservation project in 2002–2003, scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute examined the photograph using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and other techniques. They confirmed that the image consists of bitumen and that the metal plate is pewter (tin alloyed with lead, as well as trace amounts of iron, copper, and nickel). The Institute also designed and built the elaborate display case system that now houses the artifact in a continuously monitored, stabilized, oxygen-free environment.

In 2007, scientists from the Louvre Museum published an analysis of the photograph using ion beam analysis, with data taken on their 2 MV electrostatic accelerator. This showed the details of the oxidation process that was corroding the image.

In 2007, scientists from the Louvre Museum published an analysis of the photograph using ion beam analysis, with data taken on their 2 MV electrostatic accelerator. This showed the details of the oxidation process that was corroding the image.

The Harry Ransom Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections. In the 2015–2016 academic year, the center hosted nearly 6,000 research visits resulting in the publication of over 145 books. Isn't that incredible?   Related Blogpost - The Beautiful Cathedral of Saint Mary - A brilliant architecture in the middle of the Austin downtown, Texas

The Harry Ransom Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections. In the 2015–2016 academic year, the center hosted nearly 6,000 research visits resulting in the publication of over 145 books. Isn't that incredible? 


In Germany, in the mid-1450s, Johann Gutenberg and his partner Johann Fust published more than 150 large-format copies of the Bible in Latin. This is the book known today as the Gutenberg Bible. Gutenberg may have begun developing a new printing technology as early as the 1430s, and completion of the Bible demonstrated the viability of a press that used individual pieces of metal type to mass-produce books. Although books would continue to be written by hand in the years— and centuries—that followed, the printing process pioneered by his team became increasingly prevalent, helping change how information traveled in Europe and, later, the world.  The Ransom Center's copy represents one of only 20 complete copies in the world that survive intact. Printed on paper, the two volumes remain in early bindings and feature text and decoration added by hand. In the first volume, books of the Bible begin with two types of distinctive, colorful letters. The second volume features more traditional red and blue initials. Acquired in 1978, this Gutenberg Bible is always on view and can be accessed in its entirety below.

In Germany, in the mid-1450s, Johann Gutenberg and his partner Johann Fust published more than 150 large-format copies of the Bible in Latin. This is the book known today as the Gutenberg Bible. Gutenberg may have begun developing a new printing technology as early as the 1430s, and completion of the Bible demonstrated the viability of a press that used individual pieces of metal type to mass-produce books. Although books would continue to be written by hand in the years— and centuries—that followed, the printing process pioneered by his team became increasingly prevalent, helping change how information traveled in Europe and, later, the world.

The Ransom Center's copy represents one of only 20 complete copies in the world that survive intact. Printed on paper, the two volumes remain in early bindings and feature text and decoration added by hand. In the first volume, books of the Bible begin with two types of distinctive, colorful letters. The second volume features more traditional red and blue initials. Acquired in 1978, this Gutenberg Bible is always on view and can be accessed in its entirety below.

Harry Ransom Center is a brilliant place to explore in Austin for free and one can easily spend a day here, if you have interest in Art, Literature and cultures.

Harry Ransom Center is a brilliant place to explore in Austin for free and one can easily spend a day here, if you have interest in Art, Literature and cultures. 

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