January 28, 2022

McSweeney’s Archive Acquired by Harry Ransom Center (U. of Texas at Austin)

From the Ransom Center:

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired the archive of the McSweeney’s publishing company. Founded in 1998 by Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s is considered one of the most influential literary journals and publishing houses of its time. McSweeney’s publishes books, Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Believer magazine, the food journal Lucky Peach and the DVD-journal Wholphin.

The bulk of the archive is composed of manuscripts of books, essays and short stories; correspondence drawn from the publishing house’s work with hundreds of writers; and award-winning design materials. A current digital copy of all files relating to McSweeney’s work will be included, as well as first editions of all its publications.


In the early days of the journal, Eggers corresponded extensively with such notable writers as David Foster Wallace, Rick Moody, Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, Heidi Julavits, William Vollmann, Lydia Davis, Nick Hornby and Sarah Vowell, among hundreds of others. Their correspondence is included in the archive.

The flagship publication of McSweeney’s is Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, a journal that has been honored every year with design awards. Each issue of the journal is uniquely designed, challenging the traditional form of the book and often including innovative features such as two spines or a magnetic binding. One issue was designed to resemble a bundle of junk mail and another looks like a human head. The archive documents the acquisition, correspondence, design and production associated with each issue and includes author submissions, edited drafts, final proofs, original art and unpublished submissions.

Read the Complete Announcement

From the Austin American Statesman

The Ransom Center paid $350,000 for the archive, using private donations and endowments to cover 90 percent of the cost.

Additional Info

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.