Houghton Library

Houghton Library Houghton Library, on the south side of Harvard Yard adjacent to Widener Library, is Harvard University's primary repository for rare books and manuscripts.
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In 1938 Keyes D. Metcalf, Librarian of Harvard College and Director of the Harvard University Library (1937–1955), proposed a separate library building for rare books and manuscripts, based on the policy of decentralization of collections as a means of controlling the growth of Widener Library. In addition, Metcalf advocated the need for an air-conditioned building with controlled temperature and humidity for the preservation of materials. At that time the rare books were housed on the ground floor of Widener and part of the stacks adjacent to the rare book reading room, which was known as the Treasure Room (the area is currently by the Periodicals Reading Room). Through the generosity of Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., Harvard Class of 1929, Harvard became the first American university to construct a separate research facility for the housing and study of rare books and manuscripts. The Boston architectural firm of Perry, Shaw, and Hepburn designed a classic neo-Georgian building, incorporating what was then state-of-the-art technology for climate control, air filtration, security, and the shelving of materials. The Houghton Library, dedicated and opened in 1942, won major architectural awards and became a model for other such research libraries. In the early years of the Houghton Library the core of the collections consisted of the contents of the Treasure Room in Widener, the Harvard Theatre Collection, rarities and special materials transferred from the Widener stacks, and inaugural gifts of books and manuscripts by important Harvard benefactors, including Arthur Houghton and Philip Hofer, Harvard Class of 1921, founding Curator of the library's Department of Printing & Graphic Arts. An ambitious acquisitions program and major gifts combined to double the size of the library's collections within one decade, filling all available stack space in the Houghton building. When Lamont Library was planned in the late 1940s, Houghton was allocated one underground level of that building for its steadily growing collections. When Pusey Library was designed during the first half of the 1970s, substantial portions of secure space were devoted to Houghton's manuscript collections and to the vast and varied holdings of the Harvard Theatre Collection and its reading room, offices, and exhibition galleries.

Mission: Houghton Library, on the south side of Harvard Yard adjacent to Widener Library, is Harvard University's primary repository for rare books and manuscripts. It is part of the Harvard College Library, the library system of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In recognition of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Houghton Library's Reading Room in Widener Library will close at 1....
11/26/2019

In recognition of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Houghton Library's Reading Room in Widener Library will close at 1.00 pm on Wednesday, November 27.

Additionally, the Houghton Reading Room will be closed all day Thursday, November 28 through Sunday, December 1.

The Houghton Reading Room in Widener Library will reopen at 9.00 am on Monday, December 2, 2019.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A fine Fall day at Houghton Library. Renovation activities continue.
10/31/2019

A fine Fall day at Houghton Library. Renovation activities continue.

Keep up on what's Happening at Houghton.
10/29/2019
Happening at Houghton, October 2019

Keep up on what's Happening at Houghton.

Award-winning poets Anne Boyer (A Handbook of Disappointed Fate) and Tongo Eisen-Martin ( Heaven is All Goodbyes) will share the podium for the first Vocarium reading of the season. Reception and book-signing to follow.

Houghton Library Visiting Fellowships are back! Applications are now open for 2020-2021.The Visiting Fellowship program ...
09/27/2019

Houghton Library Visiting Fellowships are back! Applications are now open for 2020-2021.

The Visiting Fellowship program offers scholars at all stages of their careers funding to pursue projects that require in-depth research on the library’s holdings.

For further details and to apply, go to: http://bit.ly/HoughtonLibraryVisitingFellowships2020-21

Untold numbers of Houghton Library's books, manuscripts, and objects spent the nineteenth century in Gore Hall (1838-191...
09/24/2019
That building on Cambridge city seal? Harvard’s original library, Gore Hall

Untold numbers of Houghton Library's books, manuscripts, and objects spent the nineteenth century in Gore Hall (1838-1913), Harvard's first purpose-built library, before Widener Library was constructed in 1915, and Houghton, itself, in 1942.
The Gore Hall name lives on in one of the buildings of Harvard's Winthrop House.
Gore Place, onetime home to Christopher and Rebecca Gore, still stands in Waltham, now a house museum.
For more information, see the Harvard University Gazette's article.

Before Widener, there was Gore Hall, an imposing Gothic Revival-style building once “regarded with pride as the chief distinction of the College and of the city.”

The temporary Houghton Library Reading Room is open in Widener Library (room 150).Research and reader services are house...
08/26/2019
Houghton Library Renovation

The temporary Houghton Library Reading Room is open in Widener Library (room 150).
Research and reader services are housed in this space through September 2020.

For information regarding the renovation, please visit: https://houghtonrenovation.library.harvard.edu/

In September 2019, Houghton Library will close as we begin a year-long renovation. Our goal: to make the building more accessible and welcoming while enhancing research and teaching spaces.

Houghton Library, with Spring in bloom.
08/13/2019

Houghton Library, with Spring in bloom.

Houghton Library, with Spring in bloom.
08/13/2019

Houghton Library, with Spring in bloom.

The Houghton Library building (including the Reading Room) closed at 4.00 pm today, Friday,  August 9, 2019.Researchers ...
08/09/2019

The Houghton Library building (including the Reading Room) closed at 4.00 pm today, Friday, August 9, 2019.

Researchers may access collections via our interim reading room in Widener Library beginning Monday, August 26, 2019, at 9.00 am.

A Lunar SoiréeSaturday, July 20, 2019, 7:00pm to 10:00pm  Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge...
07/16/2019

A Lunar Soirée
Saturday, July 20, 2019, 7:00pm to 10:00pm

Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA (Free parking at 52 Oxford St garage, Cambridge, MA)

The Harvard Museum of Natural History for A Lunar Soiree, celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the 1969 moon landing with this one-of-a-kind evening event exclusively for guests 21+.
Enjoy cocktails, beer, light refreshments, and 60s music, as well as moon-inspired demonstrations and activities.

Advance tickets required: $20 members/$25 nonmembers
https://reservations.hmsc.harvard.edu/Info.aspx?EventID=13

Cosmic Origins
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped down from the Apollo 11 lunar lander and impressed the Moon’s dusty surface with the first human boot print. This singular moment—when humanity set foot on a world outside Planet Earth—inspired a vibrant new age of scientific and technological research that has vastly improved the understanding of our planet, solar system, and wider universe.

On July 20, 2019, the Harvard Museum of Natural History will mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned mission to the Moon with the unveiling of Cosmic Origins.
Visitors to this new small exhibit—located in our Earth & Planetary Sciences gallery—will investigate the origins of and processes shaping planetary bodies and stars by using touchable specimens, colorful visuals, and interactive media. Through November 27, 2019, the exhibit will also feature an original lunar specimen, on loan from NASA, collected during Apollo 12.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to examine a real Moon rock, and to engage with this dynamic new exhibit. Cosmic Origins opens to the public on July 20, 2019.

Even as our renovation activities continue at Houghton Library, there continue to be exhibits and events throughout the ...
07/11/2019
Happening at Houghton Summer 2019 Edition

Even as our renovation activities continue at Houghton Library, there continue to be exhibits and events throughout the summer.
https://mailchi.mp/e03ec0c2e615/happening-at-houghton-summer-2019-edition

Summer is a season of change at Houghton Library. As Harvard students and faculty scatter to all points of the globe to pursue their summer plans, we seen an influx of visitors from outside the university. Visiting scholars and students fill our reading room, and visitors from around the world perus...

05/28/2019

Houghton Library will be closed Thursday, May 30, for Harvard's 368th Commencement.
Access to Harvard Yard will be restricted to those holding admission tickets.

During Commencement Week, we receive many visitors at Harvard University and at Houghton Library.This week also marks so...
05/28/2019

During Commencement Week, we receive many visitors at Harvard University and at Houghton Library.
This week also marks some in-Yard hatchlings (as spotted this morning).

What would you like to see on display in Houghton Library's lobby?When Houghton reopens in Fall 2020, researchers, stude...
05/28/2019

What would you like to see on display in Houghton Library's lobby?

When Houghton reopens in Fall 2020, researchers, students, and visitors will be welcomed with a rotating, dynamic display of collection items on view in the lobby. We invite you to nominate items for display and share their significance to you http://bit.ly/MyHoughtonLobby

#MyHoughton

What great news for our Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library colleague, Nancy Kuhl!
05/27/2019
Beinecke Curator Nancy Kuhl Honored for Extraordinary Service to Biography

What great news for our Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library colleague, Nancy Kuhl!

Nancy Kuhl, curator of poetry in the Yale Collection of American Literature, has been awarded the 2019 Biblio Award for Extraordinary Service to Biographers by the Biographers International Organization (BIO), which annually honors a librarian or archivist “who has made an exceptional contribution...

05/24/2019

Houghton Library will be closed Saturday-Monday, May 25-27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Please also note that the library will also be closed Thursday, May 30, for Harvard's 368th Commencement.

Please enjoy this episode of WGBH's Open Studio, featuring Houghton Library's exhibition, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apol...
05/21/2019
Open Studio with Jared Bowen: "Apollo 11 at Fifty" & Actor and Musician Alicia Witt

Please enjoy this episode of WGBH's Open Studio, featuring Houghton Library's exhibition, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty.
WGBH Arts Editor Jared Bowen interviews Director of Scholarly & Public Programs Anne-Marie Eze, and exhibit co-curator and John Overholt, Curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson and Early Modern Books and Manuscripts, as well as screening footage of astronauts on the Moon.
Click on the image to be taken to the episode.

Read the Harvard University Gazette article on Houghton Library's exciting new exhibition, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apo...
05/17/2019
Harvard’s Houghton Library includes NASA artifacts in Apollo exhibit

Read the Harvard University Gazette article on Houghton Library's exciting new exhibition, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty, featuring an interview with Curator John Overholt. Then come in and tour the photos and artifacts.

A new Houghton Library exhibit connects early celestial calculations to the Apollo 11 mission that put two American astronauts on the lunar surface 50 years ago. “Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty” offers gems from Harvard’s collection of rare books and manuscripts as well as NASA i...

Spring continues to paint Houghton Library's landscape in beautiful flowers.
05/07/2019

Spring continues to paint Houghton Library's landscape in beautiful flowers.

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at FiftyExhibition Opening ✮ Tuesday, April 30, 5.30 pmJoin us for the opening of Sm...
04/29/2019

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty
Exhibition Opening ✮ Tuesday, April 30, 5.30 pm

Join us for the opening of Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty. The evening starts with a lecture on "Swear Not by the Moon": Kennedy's Challenge by Matthew Hersch, and continues with a viewing of the exhibition and reception at Houghton Library.

Lecture:
Lamont Library ✭ Forum Room ✭ 5.30 PM

Exhibition Viewing and Reception:
Houghton Library ✭ Edison and Newman Room ✭ 6.30 PM

RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevPkS3t8TvUKtydJew6LmGJN26bGMsnU22jzLFFN_FOlrDIQ/viewform

#Apollo11
#Apolloat50
#HoughtonLibrary

On April 5, 2019, three Harvard students were named winners of the Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art. The H...
04/26/2019

On April 5, 2019, three Harvard students were named winners of the Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art. The Hofer Prize was established by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. ’52, L.L.B. ’55, to encourage student interest in collecting. It is awarded annually to a student or students whose collections of books or works of art best reflect the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination exemplified by Philip Hofer, A.B.’21, L.H.D. ’67. Hofer was the founder and first curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library and secretary of the Fogg Art Museum.

This year, Angela Wheeler, a second-year student in the Graduate School of Design, and Luke Kelly, Harvard College Class of ’19, were co-awarded first prizes of $3,000 each. Khin-Kyemon Aung, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School ’20, was awarded second prize of $1,500.

Angela Wheeler’s collection, “Constructing the City: National Narratives and Cultural Tourism in Tbilisi, 1950–Present,” reflects her scholarly interest in the history of Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, as it is revealed through its architecture. Her collection, begun as an undergraduate on her first trip to Tbilisi, is comprised of books and maps and posters and signs, as well as architectural models, objects salvaged from demolition sites, enamel pins, and slides—all of which illustrate the ways in which buildings and tourism literature have framed and re-framed the narratives and mythologies surrounding Tbilisi during its long and contested history.

Tied for first place is Luke Kelly’s “Learning my ABC’s: Carter Collected.” His essay traces the evolution of his eclectic rare book collection through his attempts to find examples of typography as discussed in John Carter and Nicolas Barker’s glossary ABC for Book Collectors. Kelly demonstrates how items in his collection exemplify concepts and terms from Carter and Barker’s handbook, and lovingly captures the thrill of discovering unexpected gems and the bibliophile’s delight in experiencing a book’s materiality as well as the knowledge it imparts. He writes, “By understanding the book as an object…, the history and achievements of past authors, printers, and collectors becomes physically and intellectually tangible. … While the books themselves may be rare, the knowledge and history they hold should not be.”

Second-place winner Khin-Kyemon Aung’s collection, “Searching for My Identity: Teaching Myself Theravada Buddhism and Folk Traditions from Myanmar,” is rooted in her desire to learn about her Burmese culture and identity through the study of religion. Beginning with an English-language book on Buddhism she received as a teenager, Aung chronicles her quest to understand the inextricable connections between Buddhism and Burmese folk traditions through the act of collecting and reading books. Her essay charts her development as a collector, moving from an emphasis on finding books to aid her self-instruction in religion towards texts that can help those close to her learn more about her religious practices and beliefs.

Hofer Prize entries include an essay describing the scope, contents, and goal of the collection, as well as an annotated list or bibliography of collection items. Entries are judged on the purpose, consistency, and quality of the collection and the presentation of the essay and bibliography, not the collection’s size, cost, or rarity. This year’s winners were chosen from a strong pool of applicants by a committee that included Jessica Aberle of the Fine Arts Library, Harvard University; Peter X. Accardo (chair), Houghton Library; David R. Godine, publisher, David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc.; Elizabeth Rudy, Harvard Art Museums; Miriam Stewart, Harvard Art Museums; and Melanie Wisner, Houghton Library.

Photo:
From left to right: Luke Kelly (Harvard College ’19), Khin-Kyemon Aung (HMS/HBS ’20), and Angela Wheeler (GSD) .

#PhilipHoferPrize #HoughtonLibrary
#LukeKelly #KhinKyemonAung #AngelaWheeler

Please note the many exciting events and activities at Houghton Library during the month of May.We hope you'll join us f...
04/23/2019
Happening at Houghton: May 2019

Please note the many exciting events and activities at Houghton Library during the month of May.
We hope you'll join us for one, some, or all!

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty Opening Reception and Exhibition Viewing April 30, 6:30 – 7:30 PM, Edison and Newman RoomJoin us for the opening of Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty. The evening starts with a lecture, "'Swear Not by the Moon': Kennedy's Challenge" by Matthe...

Spring has come to Harvard Yard.
04/19/2019

Spring has come to Harvard Yard.

04/10/2019

RESCHEDULED: T. S. Eliot Memorial Reading | Fred Moten

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the reading by Fred Moten, which was originally scheduled for April 10th, has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 25th at 6:00pm. The event will now take place at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts / Lecture Hall, thanks to our wonderful friends at the CCVA. We apologize for any inconvenience this change has caused.

Thursday, April 25, 6:00pm [new date]
T. S. ELIOT MEMORIAL READING: Fred Moten
Introduction by Prof. Teju Cole
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy Street
Co-sponsored by the T. S. Eliot Foundation and
the Woodberry Poetry Room

Today's banned and challenged books may become tomorrow's classics.ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom
04/09/2019

Today's banned and challenged books may become tomorrow's classics.
ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom

Houghton Library is excited to announce our next major exhibition.Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty April 29-...
04/01/2019
Small Steps, Giant Leaps

Houghton Library is excited to announce our next major exhibition.

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty

April 29-August 3, 2019
Houghton Library ✭ Edison and Newman Room
Free and open to the public

July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, one of the greatest achievements in human exploration.
Houghton Library will celebrate the occasion with an exhibition that combines our collection of landmarks in the history of science, such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, with rarely exhibited highlights from a private spaceflight collection, including artifacts used during the Apollo 11 mission and on the moon itself by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Additional info: https://library.harvard.edu/events/small-steps-giant-leaps

Exhibition Opening
Tuesday, April 30, 5.30 pm
Lecture, Lamont Library, Forum Room, followed by an exhibition viewing and reception at Houghton Library
Free and open to the public

Additional info: https://library.harvard.edu/events/small-steps-giant-leaps-exhibition-opening

#Apollo11
#Apolloat50
#HoughtonLibrary

As he became the first person to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong announced, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” This exhibition celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of that remarkable achievement as the last step in a long series that stretches back through the...

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at FiftyApril 29-August 3, 2019Houghton Library ✭ Edison and Newman RoomFree and ope...
04/01/2019

Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty

April 29-August 3, 2019
Houghton Library ✭ Edison and Newman Room
Free and open to the public

July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, one of the greatest achievements in human exploration.
Houghton Library will celebrate the occasion with an exhibition that combines our collection of landmarks in the history of science, such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton, with rarely exhibited highlights from a private spaceflight collection, including artifacts used during the Apollo 11 mission and on the moon itself by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

#Apollo11
#Apolloat50
#HoughtonLibrary

House in the Pines, a private school for girls, was established by Gertrude E. Cornish in Norton, Massachusetts in 1911....
03/27/2019

House in the Pines, a private school for girls, was established by Gertrude E. Cornish in Norton, Massachusetts in 1911.
In our collection, seventeen photographs depict a 1914 all-female production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Harvard Theatre Collection: MS Thr 1852
#WomensHistoryMonth

Address

Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA
02138

Houghton Library is within walking distance of the Harvard Station on the MBTA's Red Line.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 13:00

Telephone

(617) 495-2440

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