One Great Get

Harry Ransom Center adds another acclaimed archive to celebrated collection

Harry Ransom Center adds another acclaimed archive to collection

Arthur Miller speaking at UT
Among the archive is Miller's personal FBI file, which he requested from the bureau in 1984 under the Freedom of Information Act. Courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin

Joining such literary superstars as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Kazuo Ishiguro, Arthur Miller's personal archive will be coming to the Harry Ransom Center.

The celebrated research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin announced January 10 that it will acquire the American playwright's entire archive, including drafts of famous works like All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible

Miller's works, which continue to be staged everywhere from high school auditoriums to Broadway theaters, are some of the most sought-after and lauded plays in American history. Miller's archive will display multiple drafts of his scripts as well as supplemental materials for the staging of his productions, including set designs, marketing materials, and more. Though lesser known as an essayist, the Ransom Center acquisition also includes his celebrated speeches and articles.

In addition to winning three Tony Awards, Miller received dozens of awards over the course of his storied career, including a National Book Foundation Medal; a Kennedy Center Honor; and a Pulitzer Prize for The Crucible, which he received at the tender age of 33. (This was a fact we were unaware of until today and one that has since spiraled us into an existential crisis.)

“Arthur Miller is one of our country’s finest playwrights, one who gave dramatic form to themes that are central to our still-evolving American story,” said Ransom Center director Stephen Enniss in a release.

In a spooky twist, the collection will also include Miller's FBI file, which he requested in 1984 as part of the Freedom of Information Act. From the documents he received, Miller learned that the FBI had been tracking the playwright from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, during the height of the McCarthy era.

Fans looking to get a glimpse into his personal life will find personal photographs, more than 50 journals spanning from the 1940s to the early 2000s, recorded ideas, and bits of dialogue to peruse. The archives are expected to be cataloged within two years.

The addition of Arthur Miller's letters makes the Ransom Center one of the premier destinations for playwright archives in the world. The vast collection includes letters from dramatists Lillian Hellman, David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, and George Bernard Shaw.