Harry Ransom Center Celebrates 60 Years With Mad Men Exhibit
By Rob Giardinelli
Photography by Brian Diggs, Birzer Photography, Ben Porter and Pete Smith
THE SCENE: The University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center was the setting for a special evening that celebrated six decades as a leading worldwide destination for artistic exhibits that have impacted the cultural zeitgeist on an American and international level. The occasion brought out not only the city’s cultural elite, but also drew artists known on a worldwide level including Peter O’Toole’s daughter Kate O’Toole and creator of the iconic series Mad Men, Matthew Weiner. The theme? It was W.O.W., a World Of Wonders.
THE VIBE: The evening began at the second-floor reception area of the Harry Ransom Center with a VIP cocktail hour. Guests had the opportunity to mingle with internationally known and respected artistic and literary minds as well as view some of the iconic pieces from Ransom Center’s collection including two clothing ensembles from Mad Men, as well as a desk that belonged to Edgar Allan Poe. The festivities then continued as the action moved outside to the courtyard in front of the main entrance of The Harry Ransom Center where the good times continued against the backdrop of a perfect Texas evening.
The festivities then headed toward the iconic University of Texas Bell Tower and guests entered a beautifully adorned tent erected on the plaza, where guests dined on delicious cuisine during the evening’s program. Masters of Ceremonies Franchelle Stewart Dorn and Virginia l. Murchison effortlessly kept the evening flowing as a host of artistic and literary icons presented and received awards including: Sally Quinn, Billy Collins, Kate O’Toole, Elizabeth Avellán and Nell McKeown. The evening concluded with a conversation with Matthew Weiner, who shared his thoughts and behind the scenes insight about the culture of his visionary series, Mad Men.
THE CAUSE: The event, with honorary chairs Sally Quinn and Matthew Weiner raised over $400,000 for The Harry Ransom Center which procures and produces exhibitions of works by world renowned artists and writers.