Enter the secret world of The Collections, a new book from the University of Texas Press, that presents a striking visual guide of discovery from every corner of campus. The encyclopedic volume is filled with eye-catching photos from 80 collections — with famous works of art and history to specialized objects of scientific research — all of which have been acquired since the university’s inauguration in 1883.
The pages are a window for readers to peer into the archives, hallways and drawers across campus. Compiled and edited by Andrée Bober, this book is the first thorough account of the collections at The University of Texas at Austin. “The University of Texas at Austin is built on the core values of learning, expanding understanding, and creating knowledge. Celebrating the material holdings that support its mission, this book offers a chronicle of creativity and discovery fostered by the collections,” President Gregory Fenves states in his foreword to The Collections. With more than 170 million cultural objects, the volume of the university’s collections makes it the largest in the U.S. in terms of number of objects. This cultural repository outpaces the largest collections in America and rivals many in variety and importance.
With more than 170 million cultural objects, the volume of the university’s collections makes it the largest in the U.S. in terms of number of objects. This cultural repository outpaces the largest collections in America and rivals many in variety and importance.
The university has long been one of the world’s distinguished collecting universities, home to renowned institutions such as the Harry Ransom Center, the Blanton Museum of Art and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Other collections have grown apart from the public eye, typically as the byproduct of research and pedagogical interests. The Collections offers an account of all the university’s irreplaceable artifacts, introducing each collection by outlining its history, highlighting its strengths and suggesting its educational function.
The University of Texas at Austin has long been one of the world’s distinguished collecting universities.
Bober writes in the introduction, “Coming to understand the richness of Austin’s collections while working closely with so many people who share a passion for them has been an enormous privilege. I believe this book, whatever its lacunae, speaks eloquently to the university’s collecting strengths and the resources for scholarship and study that are publicly available.”
Collecting is ingrained in UT Austin’s identity – Professor Emeritus Lewis Gould
The Collections begin with a historical essay “A Heritage of Greatness”, by Lewis Gould, professor emeritus of American history. Gould traces the formation of the collections and the people whose visions are manifest in these material resources. At the end of his essay, Gould leaves the reader to explore the fruits of the university’s legacy of acquisition. Collecting, he says, is ingrained in UT Austin’s identity. This book, as expansive as it is, “can only be a a snapshot of a long-term process of collecting, arranging, preserving, publicizing, and using collections that will continue as long as the university exists.”
Andrée Bober is the founding director of Landmarks, the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Previously she served as deputy and then interim director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. Her publications include Landmarks, The University of Texas at Austin and Susan Unterberg: A Retrospective. She lives with her family in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The University of Texas Press, founded in 1950, is a scholarly press that is part of The University of Texas at Austin.
For more information about the book, please visit the UT Press website.
Release: January 2016, $125
9 ⅞ x 12 inches, 720 pages, 807 color and 117 b&w illustrations