Founded in 1901, the Harvard Theatre Collection is one of the oldest and largest performing arts collections in the world. A department of Houghton Library, its holdings chiefly consist of primary source material related to all genres of performance, with special emphasis on the stage, music and dance, and popular entertainment. The collection includes a significant number of organizational and personal papers as well as photographic archives which preserve the legacies of institutions, playwrights, actors, designers, and choreographers. Formats of material include books, manuscripts, ephemera, realia, and audiovisual material. For a more detailed description, see the Theatre Collection website.
Because items in the Theatre Collection are rare or unique, additional rules are in place to ensure the security and preservation of the collection. Most notably, researchers cannot enter the stacks, and collection material can only be used in the Houghton Library Reading Room.