May 26, 2022

Poetry: Billy Collins Archive Acquired by Ransom Center

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 American poet Billy Collins. The materials span Collins’ personal and professional life from the 1950s to the present and documents in detail his creative development.

Collins, born in 1941, is known as a poet for the people, with a witty, conversational style that welcomes readers and illuminates the profound details of everyday life. He has described the beginning of his poems as “a kind of welcome mat … inviting the reader inside.” This accessible style and public presence have garnered a wide following, and from 2001 to 2003 he served as Poet Laureate of the United States.


Within the archive are dozens of notebooks, which include Collins’ observations, notes, doodles, clippings and extensive drafts of poems, both published and unpublished. It also includes desk diaries or datebooks that document his life as a teacher, poet and public figure. The earliest materials in the archive include childhood compositions and early family photographs. Also documented is Collins’ career as a teacher and his later emergence as a poet in the late 1970s. Audio and video recordings and drafts of speeches and talks document a full public life as one of the country’s most popular poets. The archive includes extensive correspondence, both personal and professional.

“I am deeply honored and not a little intimidated to have my papers join the literary trails of so many illustrious writers housed at the Harry Ransom Center, several of whom I count among my literary heroes,” said Collins.


This acquisition enriches the Ransom Center’s extensive archives of contemporary writers. The Ransom Center holds collections of numerous poets, including E.E. CummingsT.S. EliotRobert LowellMarianne MooreEzra PoundAnne SextonJames TateDylan ThomasWilliam Carlos Williams and Louis Zukofsky, to name only a few.

Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Harry Ransom Center Launches Online Digital Image Collection (November 11, 2013) 

See Also: Additional Online Research Tools from the Ransom Center

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.