The Harry Ransom Center Presents “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Featuring more than 200 items, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is drawn almost entirely from the Harry Ransom Center’s collections of art, photography, rare books, performing arts, film and manuscripts. 

Beginning Feb. 10, the exhibition brings to life the history of the book and reveals how “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” has captured our collective imagination for 150 years and how  Lewis Carroll’s creation has been transformed by artists, translators and filmmakers.

View an exhibition video preview.

The exhibition will also highlight holdings related to Carroll and his Alice stories, including letters, hand-drawn illustrations and photographs.

The Englishman who became famous as Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in 1832. Dodgson, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, first met Alice Liddell (the inspiration for “Alice”), the daughter of Dodgson’s Oxford dean Henry Liddell, in 1856. An avid amateur photographer, Dodgson photographed Alice and her siblings, as well as other children, his own family, colleagues, artists, intellectuals and celebrities of his time.

Dodgson, who had no children of his own, spent time with the Liddell children, telling stories, making puzzles and going on outings. On one of these outings, in July 1862, Dodgson began the story that became “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” In addition to Alice, the story contains references to her sisters Edith (the Eaglet) and Lorina, called Ina (the Lory).

Encouraged by friends, Dodgson developed the story into a book and funded its publication. He used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll in the interest of maintaining his privacy and distance from his professional work.

The exhibition is organized thematically, with sections that cover topics such as the history and context of Carroll's creation of "Alice"; a timeline highlighting changes in illustration of the book over time; translations of the novel from around the world; and Alice as interpreted by artists and filmmakers.

Highlights in the exhibition include original photographs made by Carroll, including one of Liddell and her sisters; a rare copy of the first printed edition of the book; original manuscripts by illustrator John Tenniel and Carroll; a photograph of Liddell as a young woman by Julia Margaret Cameron; illustrations by Salvador Dalí and five photographs reimagining “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by contemporary artist Abelardo Morell.

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