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UT Acquires McSweeney's Archive

Ransom Center will host first editions, correspondence, and more

By Monica Riese, 11:51AM, Wed. Jul. 31, 2013

UT Acquires McSweeney's Archive

The last few decades have not been kind to print media.

Newspapers are folding (and not in the good way), book publishers have been dwarfed by the e-reader juggernaut. Some 520 magazines ceased publication in 2008 alone.

But then there's McSweeney's, founded 15 years ago by Dave Eggers. Since 1998, the name (Eggers' mother's maiden name) has come to encompass a veritable cornucopia of literary treasures: It's a publishing house, a quarterly literary journal, a humor site, a food journal, a monthly magazine, and much more. And now, the impressive archives of that vast brand are coming to live at the University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center.

Said Eggers in a press release:

“The Ransom Center is a world-class institution, and we’re honored to be included among their holdings. McSweeney’s is celebrating our 15th anniversary this year, and we’ve had the honor and pleasure of publishing hundreds of authors, established and upcoming, while navigating the choppy seas of independent publishing. We thank the Ransom Center for taking on our archive and for cleaning out our basement.”

The archive comprises books (first editions, naturally), essays, and short stories from The Believer, Quarterly Concern, and others – as well as correspondence between the publishing house and many of its authors. Business correspondence sound dull to you? Consider the fact that the authors on the other end of Eggers' able authorial pen included such greats as Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Sarah Vowell, Denis Johnson, Jonathan Franzen, Nick Hornby, Joyce Carol Oates, and David Foster Wallace, whose personal archive is already a part of the Ransom Center's collection.

So get excited, Austin, for this archive will be yours to peruse as soon as it's all "processed and cataloged." And meanwhile, you can rejoice once more for living in a town that so appreciates the printed word (says she from the desk at the local altweekly).

Read the Ransom Center's full news release here.

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