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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Harry Ransom Center Research

Find and Request Materials

Requesting Manuscripts

To find primary source materials in a special collection, users must search for their materials using a finding aid. Unlike a search engine, a finding aid may not produce the exact source you are looking for. Instead, a finding aid illustrates how a collection of material is organized and gives a general idea of what materials might be contained within that collection. Some finding aids are specific down to the item level of a collection, while others only offer a general description of each folder, and require further investigation. 

When you visit the Harry Ransom Center, you will be able to use the finding aid to search for and request materials for use in our Reading Room. 
You'll search for manuscripts using the finding aids, which are available here:

(Please note that materials cannot be called to the reading room until you are onsite. If you request materials from offsite, they will be saved in your account, but no manuscripts will be pulled until you re-submit requests onsite.)


Select the collection that you're interested in seeing:


Select the containers and folders you'd like to consult and then click "Request items" on the right-hand margin. It is usually best to start with 1-2 containers for your first visit. 


The website will ask you to confirm your request:


Successfully submitted requests will show up in your research account:


Requesting Books

You will find major book collections listed here

To search for a specific book, use The University of Texas at Austin Library Catalog and search by book title. You can find the Library Catalog here. Limit the location to the Harry Ransom Center.


Once you find the book you're looking for, click on the title:


To request the book to your account, select the "Request Item" link:


Successfully submitted requests will show up in your research account:

Specialized Databases

In addition to our manuscripts finding aids, there are many specialized databases used for searching collections, particularly when looking for visual materials (art, film, photography, and performing arts). You will find a descriptive list of our specialized databases here.

As always, if you are not sure where to look or have trouble searching for what you need, a staff member will be happy to assist you!

Contact Us

For general information or help with reference and research, call (512) 471-9119 or email
A member of our Reference and Research staff will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. 

For other inquiries, you may find our staff directory here.

Guide to our Collections

Our Guide to the Collections is a great place to start your research. It includes highlights of our collections by subject and a search option for key terms. Find our guide here.

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