Houghton Library

Houghton Library Home to Harvard’s rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more: a destination for students, scholars, and the public.
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What You Can Do At Houghton • Research rare books • Attend free exhibits & events • Tour our historic building • Teach with primary sources What We Do • Provide access to special collections • Perform reference and research consultations • Teach with primary sources • Acquire, catalog, process, and preserve rare books, manuscripts, archives, and more • Digitize collection materials to preserve and make them more widely accessible • Support research at Harvard and beyond through four fellowship programs • Organize and host dynamic public programs, including exhibitions, lectures, poetry readings, and symposia • Publish scholarly and literary journals: Harvard Library Bulletin and Harvard Review • Maintain an active national and international loan program • Conduct tours of the building every Friday

Today @Harvard is observing #Juneteenth as a university-wide holiday for the first time. 155 years ago today, enslaved A...
06/19/2020

Today @Harvard is observing #Juneteenth as a university-wide holiday for the first time. 155 years ago today, enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas learned of their freedom and the end of the Civil War. This came over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Image 1: Here’s a rare example of correspondence from #HarrietTubman to Boston abolitionist Wendell Phillips. Harriet was illiterate and dictated her letters to a scribe. We’re extremely lucky to have her letter as part of our collection. Tubman dedicated her life to emancipation by leading enslaved people out of the South through escape routes and safe houses, known colloquially as "the Underground Railroad." Formerly enslaved herself, she was a radical abolitionist. Learn more about her letter and Boston’s role in the abolition of slavery in our online exhibition “Boston’s Crusade Against Slavery.” Link in bio.

Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) Manuscript letter (amanuensis copy) to Wendell Phillips, 1860. Wendell Phillips Papers, 1555-1882 (MS Am 1953). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Images 2 & 3: Pictures by @danowall. The U.S. Treasury Secretary announced a plan in 2016 to add Harriet Tubman to the front of the 20-dollar bill, a plan which the current presidential administration then officially scuttled. In response, the designer Dano Wall created, in collaboration with a number of New York and New Jersey manufacturing partners, this stamp which is intended to be used to mask the image of Andrew Jackson on the U.S. 20-dollar bill. His stated intention is to promote circulation of the bills in order to pressure officials to reconsider placing Harriet Tubman's image on the bill.

Harriet Tubman Rubber Stamp by Dano Wall and Related Objects (MS Typ 1285). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Hashtags: #Juneteenth #HarrietTubman #Tubman #UndergroundRailroad #Abolitionist #Emancipation #AmericanHero #BlackLivesMatter #AfricanAmericanHistory #BlackAmericanHistory #TubmanStamp #Tubman20 #TubmanTwenty #RepresentationMatters #HoughtonLibrary #HarvardLibrary #Harvard

Houghton Library, with Spring in bloom.
06/11/2020

Houghton Library, with Spring in bloom.

On Wednesday, June 10, Houghton Library staff are participating in ShutDownAcademia / ShutDownSTEM in coalition with the...
06/10/2020
#ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM

On Wednesday, June 10, Houghton Library staff are participating in ShutDownAcademia / ShutDownSTEM in coalition with the nationwide day of
• No research
• No meetings
• No classes
• No business as usual
In support of the initiative from a multi-identity, intersectional coalition of STEM professionals and academics taking action for Black lives. ShutDownSTEM, Particles for Justice and VanguardSTEM are in close collaboration, and working together to create lasting change. These efforts build on-- and would not be possible without--the long history of Black activism, scholarship, and leadership in the fight for Black lives.

On this day of action we will, in collaboration with colleagues in the Harvard Library:
• Take time to learn and to reflect.
• Identify concrete actions, at both the individual and collective level.
• Share ideas and act.

For additional information and resources for this day of action, visit https://www.shutdownstem.com/

#ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM
#HoughtonLibrary

#ShutDownAcademia#ShutDownSTEM10 June 2020   On June 10, 2020, we will #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM, and #Strike4BlackLives. In the wake of the most recent murders of Black people in the US, it is clear that white and other non-Black people have to step up and do the work to eradicate anti-Blac...

Houghton Library
06/10/2020

Houghton Library

In a recent photo essay, The Harvard Crimson  visited a number of Harvard's libraries, asking librarians at each to sele...
06/09/2020
Treasure Hunting in the Harvard Libraries | Magazine | The Harvard Crimson

In a recent photo essay, The Harvard Crimson visited a number of Harvard's libraries, asking librarians at each to select an item of special significance.

This reminded us of Open House 75, a staff-curated celebration of the treasures we love at Houghton Library.
Open House 75 can be found at:
houghton75 org/openhouse75/
Check it out in tandem with the beautiful, meaningful items our colleagues selected for The Crimson.

It's a delightful way to reconnect with old favorites, and discover new ones!

#HarvardYenchingLibrary
#FungLibrary
#LoebMusicLibrary
#GutmanLibrary
#HarvardFineArtsLibrary
#AndoverHarvardTheologicalLibrary
#FrancesLoebLibrary
#BakerLibrary
#HarvardLawSchoolLibrary
#HarvardSmithsonianCenterforAstrophysics
#HarvardCrimson
#HoughtonLibrary #Houghtonat75 #OpenHouse75

OLRK takes you on a tour of the most prized possessions of the Harvard libararies.

Houghton Library would like to announce the 2020 winner of the Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program (SHARP) Under...
06/08/2020
Announcing the winner of the 2020 Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program (SHARP) undergraduate fellowship at Houghton Library

Houghton Library would like to announce the 2020 winner of the Summer Humanities and Arts Research Program (SHARP) Undergraduate Fellowship, Madeleine Klebanoff-O’Brien, Class of ’22. Congratulations, Madeleine!

#HoughtonLibrary #SharpFellow #HarvardLibrary #HarvardUniversity

By Adrienne Chaparro, Scholarly and Public Programs Assistant The Harvard College Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (URAF) and Houghton Library are pleased to announce that Madeleine…

Onesimus, an enslaved West African man, convinced Cotton Mather to support the practice of inoculation against smallpox,...
06/05/2020
Three Bostonians and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1721

Onesimus, an enslaved West African man, convinced Cotton Mather to support the practice of inoculation against smallpox, long before it was widely accepted in Europe and North America.
Check out the Houghton Library blogpost below for more information.

#HoughtonLibrary #Onesimus #Smallpox #Inoculation

By Peter X. Accardo, Scholarly and Public Programs Librarian Among the texts available through Harvard Library’s online collection Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics is Some Acco…

"Overcoming the viral systems of both white supremacy and racial inequity will require hard work that is not the respons...
06/03/2020
The Choice Is Ours

"Overcoming the viral systems of both white supremacy and racial inequity will require hard work that is not the responsibility of communities of color alone, but of all of us."--Dr John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., Senior Advisor and Strategist to the President of Harvard University.

Houghton Library
#JohnSilvanusWilson

Statement from Dr John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.

Houghton Library
06/03/2020

Houghton Library

Black Lives Matter. — we here
06/02/2020
Black Lives Matter. — we here

Black Lives Matter. — we here

JUSTICE FOR  AHMAUD ARBERY JUSTICE FOR  GEORGE FLOYD JUSTICE FOR  BREONNA TAYLOR During a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, we are sickened by this country’s continued epidemic of racism and police

Harvard Library
06/01/2020
Harvard Library

Harvard Library

"We have a responsibility to document the persisting injustices of our current time, and to surface the stories of the past that are not yet told, all with the hope of a better future."

Read Library Vice President Martha Whitehead's full message to our community on the death of George Floyd.

Vanessa Braganza is a rising third-year PhD in English at Harvard University working on a dissertation on re-discovering...
06/01/2020
(Quarantined in) a Room of One’s Own - BLARB

Vanessa Braganza is a rising third-year PhD in English at Harvard University working on a dissertation on re-discovering early modern women writers through their books. She is heading the student-curated 2021 exhibit on "500 Years of Women Authors, Self-Authorizing" at Houghton Library.

Her article (Quarantined in) a Room of One’s Own is now available at the Blog of the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB).
Click to visit.

#VanessaMBraganza #HoughtonLibrary
#LosAngelesReviewofBooks #LARB #BLARB
Harvard University Department of English

V.M. Braganza talks about curating women writers at a distance and the stakes of Virginia Woolf’s room today.

In Harvard University's first-ever online commencement, President Lawrence S. Bacow has conferred degrees on the Class o...
05/28/2020

In Harvard University's first-ever online commencement, President Lawrence S. Bacow has conferred degrees on the Class of 2020. Congratulations, graduates!

#LawrenceSBacow
#Harvard20, #Graduation2020, #Congratulations #ThankYou
#harvardcommencement #HoughtonLibrary
#HarvardUniversity

Please join us in congratulating the class of #Harvard20 graduating today, especially our wonderful student employees! A...
05/28/2020
Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020 | Harvard University

Please join us in congratulating the class of #Harvard20 graduating today, especially our wonderful student employees!
Although we cannot be in the Yard today, the staff of Houghton Library congratulates all students who have made great achievements and are celebrated today.
Watch the online ceremonies livestreaming beginning at 10:30 am.
#Harvard20, #Graduation2020, #Congratulations #ThankYou
#harvardcommencement #MartinBaron Yo-Yo Ma
Harvard University #Harvard20, #Graduation2020, #Congratulations #ThankYou
#harvardcommencement #MartinBaron Washington Post #Harvard369

On Thursday, May 28, we will celebrate the Class of 2020 to confer their hard-earned degrees.

Yesterday, we stopped by Houghton Library to take a look. The trees were in bloom, and the construction site looked much...
05/11/2020

Yesterday, we stopped by Houghton Library to take a look. The trees were in bloom, and the construction site looked much as it did eight weeks ago.
The building and collections remain secure and awaiting the return of staff and our community of users.

#HoughtonLibrary

CONGRATULATIONS TO DOROTHY BERRY, A 2020 MOVER AND SHAKER!Houghton Library is very proud that Dorothy Berry, our Digital...
05/07/2020
Dorothy Berry | Movers & Shakers 2020–Change Agents

CONGRATULATIONS TO DOROTHY BERRY, A 2020 MOVER AND SHAKER!

Houghton Library is very proud that Dorothy Berry, our Digital Collections Program Manager, has been recognized as a change agent in Library Journal's 2020 list of Movers & Shakers.

Dorothy digitizes archival collections and showcases their value to scholars so others will remember and rediscover black history.

#HoughtonLibrary #HarvardUniversity
#LJMovers2020 #DorothyBerry #BlackHistory
#MoversandShakers #BettsCoup

Dorothy Berry learned about her family’s history growing up on the farm in the Missouri Ozarks homesteaded by her ancestors post-emancipation. Later, her father shared their family archive from 2003–2013 at his storefront Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum. This formative experience taught her...

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF THE INAUGURAL AMERICAN TRUST FOR THE BRITISH LIBRARY FELLOWSHIP AT HOUGHTON LIBRARYThe American...
05/05/2020

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF THE INAUGURAL AMERICAN TRUST FOR THE BRITISH LIBRARY FELLOWSHIP AT HOUGHTON LIBRARY

The American Trust for the British Library (ATBL) and Houghton Library are pleased to announce that Lauren Eriks Cline, Assistant Professor of English at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, has been awarded the first American Trust for The British Library Fellowship at Houghton Library. This visiting fellowship, a joint initiative between the two institutions, supports a research project in any discipline of the humanities, social sciences, or arts that draws on primary source materials in the collections of both the British Library and Houghton.

Dr. Eriks Cline teaches courses in drama, film, and the novel; literary and cultural theory; and British literature across periods. She will spend two weeks in London and two weeks at Harvard conducting research for her book project, Restaging Race: Victorian Spectators and Imperial Performance Narrative, which considers the ways in which popular performance was used as a tool of British empire. In four chapters, she analyzes the careers of four stage performers—Frances Kemble, Edmund Kean, Ira Aldridge, and Ellen Terry—to investigate how tropes of nineteenth-century narrative and spectator accounts of theatrical performance shaped the ways Victorians conceptualized race and the racism endemic to the British imperial project. Both libraries contain considerable collections on all four performers.

#HoughtonLibrary
#AmericanTrustfortheBritishLibrary
#BritishLibrary
#Fellowship
#FrancesKemble #EdmundKean #IraAldridge #EllenTerry
The Eccles Centre for American Studies

Finding Aid User StudyAre you missing your archival research during the shutdown? Would you be interested in helping to ...
05/04/2020
Finding Aid User Study Sign-Up

Finding Aid User Study
Are you missing your archival research during the shutdown? Would you be interested in helping to make the process of using archival materials better?

Houghton Library Processing Archivist Betts Coup is carrying out a finding aid user study to see how researchers use archival finding aids--and how we might be able to improve descriptions of collections!

Participants are asked to do a single, 45-60 minute interview via Zoom, looking at three different finding aids and completing a few tasks with those materials. If you'd like to participate in the study, please click on the link below.

Are you missing your archival research? Would you be interested in helping to make the process of using archival materials better? Houghton Library Processing Archivist Betts Coup is carrying out a finding aid user study to see how researchers use archival finding aids--and how we might be able to i...

Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020We invite you to join the president, provost, deans, and faculty for a special online ...
05/04/2020
Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020 | Harvard University

Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020

We invite you to join the president, provost, deans, and faculty for a special online event on Thursday, May 28, at 11:00 a.m. EDT, to celebrate the achievements of our graduates and to confer their academic degrees. For more information on our University-wide program, as well as details and links to individual School ceremonies, see the link below.

Our soon-to-be alumni will enter a world very different from the one they imagined just a few weeks ago. While we look forward with great anticipation to a time when it is safe for us to honor the members of the Harvard Class of 2020 in person, we hope you will take a moment to gather with the University community online to acknowledge their accomplishments, their creativity, their kindness, and their knowledge.

#harvarduniversity #harvardcommencement #classof2020
#houghtonlibrary

On Thursday, May 28, we will celebrate the Class of 2020 to confer their hard-earned degrees.

04/28/2020
Presswork: A Documentary

A new documentary, Presswork, has been released by our friends at Rare Book School and is sure to be of interest to friends of Houghton Library and those interested in printing technology (link at bottom).

What can eighteenth-century facsimile printing presses teach us about the history of printing and technology, and about the roles that printing technologies play in the production of knowledge? "Presswork", a public-facing program established in 2018, seeks to introduce scholars, students, and members of the general public alike to hands-on printing with historical presses. The program was created by RBS in collaboration with the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, U.Va., and has been funded through a grant from the The Jefferson Trust, an initiative of UVA’s Alumni Association.

#rarebookschool #uva #smallspecialcollectionslibrary
#presswork
#houghtonlibrary

RBS presents Presswork: A Documentary, chronicling RBS’s commissioning of an eighteenth-century style wooden rolling press, and the program that ensued which...

Harvard Review
04/27/2020
Harvard Review

Harvard Review

"When we go down by ourselves the next morning, I bring disinfectant-soaked paper towels to clean the tricycles and scooters. I let [the children] play with sticks. I can’t bring myself to disinfect the sticks." BERLIN by Laura Healy in our new DISPATCHES from a Pandemic.

We are pleased to announce the winning collections of this year’s 2020 Philip Hofer Prize winners, proof that book and a...
04/23/2020
2020 Philip Hofer Prize Winners

We are pleased to announce the winning collections of this year’s 2020 Philip Hofer Prize winners, proof that book and art collecting are alive and well at Harvard. Congratulations to Robin McDowell , Catherine Katz and Brian Mott! Read the announcement on our blog.

#harvard #houghtonlibrary #hoferprize

On April 8, 2020, 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 enco…

We are delighted to announce the awardees of this year’s New England Regional Fellowship Consortium who will be working ...
04/09/2020
Announcing Houghton’s 2020-2021 New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellows

We are delighted to announce the awardees of this year’s New England Regional Fellowship Consortium who will be working on projects at Houghton:
Ten researchers will visit Houghton as NERFC award recipients during the 2020-2021 academic year. We are looking forward to meeting the new cohort once the library reopens.

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Berry, Dr. Mark Bland, Nym Cooke, Jackson Davidow, Hongdeng Gao, Dr. Carla Kaplan, Dr. Don James McLaughlin, Alison Pappas, Patrick Parr and Alyssa Peterson!

The New England Regional Fellowship Consortium consists of 30 major cultural agencies. Annually, NERFC offers about two dozen $5,000 grants so researchers in a broad array of fields can conduct a m…

Our top priority is the health and well-being of everyone in our community, including researchers, visitors, and attende...
03/13/2020
Houghton Library

Our top priority is the health and well-being of everyone in our community, including researchers, visitors, and attendees at our events.
The Houghton Library reading room in Widener Library closed at 5:00 pm, Friday, March 13, 2020. At present, we do not know when we will reopen, but know that we will when it is safe and possible to do so.

Please visit the Houghton Library website ( https://library.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton ) for updates as they are posted.

In this uncertain time, it is our wish that all in the community take care of themselves and each other. Our full range of services will be again available as soon as possible..

Address

Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA
02138

Houghton Library is within walking distance of the Harvard MBTA station servicing the Red Line subway and bus lines 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 86, and 96. Nearby bus lines include 1, 66, 68, and 69.

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Our Story

It is our great pleasure to welcome all to Houghton Library where we advance the pursuit, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge by stewarding a world class collection of rare books, manuscripts, archives, photographs, ephemera and other rare and unique materials. The library serves as a center for advanced research, object-based and experiential learning, and community enrichment for the Harvard campus, the Boston-Cambridge metropolitan area, and beyond.

Houghton’s collection, which range from the ancient to the contemporary and from the local to the international, brim with potential energy and we take pride not only in the knowledge held and preserved in the library, but especially in the new discoveries and creations we enable and inspire.

Houghton archivists, curators, librarians, and staff apply deep expertise to our work of building, interpreting, and fostering use of the collections. We seek to provide a welcoming atmosphere for a diverse set of faculty, students, and visitors to the library and we especially welcome first time users as well as seasoned researchers and teachers.

So whether you are an instructor integrating primary sources into your classroom, a scholar seeking new areas for discovery and study, a student beginning research for a class, a senior thesis, or your own interests, or a citizen wanting to learn more about history, society, and culture, we invite you to join us at Houghton. Please explore our page and website, discover the wealth of resources available for your use, and plan a visit to Houghton Library.

Nearby museums


Comments

The Central Bank hosted this public lecture this week. Since Dr Theresa Zammit Lupi has published research with her counterparts at the Library, you may find it of interest.
Houghton (and Henry Louis Gates) on CBS Sunday Morning.
Looking forward to visiting your Library I used to work at Harvard. Carol Rae Bradford, Facebook Do email me any future events. I have signed up on your site. Thx
Tonight in the library
After spending 20 minutes on the Internet, I still have not found out who the Houghton Library is named after. What a crock!?