This guide is selective and intended as a point of departure for research in American Studies.  This guide contains, largely, resources listed by disciplines (Literature, Music) or topics (contemporary language) of interest to American Studies.  Resources listed by resource type (Newspapers, Archives/Manuscripts, Government Documents are available via the Library Research Guide for History.

Please feel free to email us with questions. We can make an appointment for you to come in, and we can talk at length about your project.

Anna Assogba (assogba@fas.harvard.eduResearch Librarian and Liaison to Romance Languages and Literatures and to Religion, Lamont Library (With particular knowledge of Zotero and other citation management systems).

Fred Burchsted (burchst@fas.harvard.edu) Research Librarian and Liaison for American Studies, Widener Library.

Getting What You Need

How can you get your hands/eyes on material?

 HOLLIS- the center of the Library ecosystem. This is often be the best first step to see if we have something. Many items are readily available through HOLLIS by clicking on "Online Access" or opening the listing and scrolling down to the "Get it" section. Check the HOLLIS section of this guide. 

Browser Plugins for Library Access- Harvard Bookmark and Lean Library plugins can help you find out if we have access to books and articles online-- so you don't always have to go to HOLLIS when you want to know if we have a certain item.

Off-Site Storage. Hit Request Pick Up in the Get It section of the HOLLIS Record. After your Harvard Key there is a pull down menu allowing you to choose delivery location. Sometimes there is a single delivery option. Submit your request. You will receive an email usually next business day (not weekends or holidays) morning.  Item is usually ready for pick-up in mid-afternoon.  Sometimes Offsite storage material is in-library use only.  For Widener, this is the Widener 1st floor room formerly the Periodical Room and the temporary location for Houghton (directly across the lobby from the Circulation Room).  Most Offsite storage material is available for scanning via Scan & Deliver (see below). 

Scan & Deliver/Interlibrary Loan- request pdfs of articles and book chapters from HOLLIS listings when you cannot get online access.

  • Limit: 2 chapters from a book or 2 articles from a journal.

Interlibrary Loan request materials from other libraries (log in on the ILL page)

  • Some non-Harvard special collections may be willing and able to scan material (usually for a fee).  Our Interlibrary Loan department will place the request and help with the cost (there is a cap).
  • Contact the other repository to see if they're able to scan what you need. Get a price estimate for the material and the exact details (like Box 77 folder 4- this is often available in Finding Aids)
  • Log in to ILL.  On the left side it says "Make a Request."  Open that and choose "Request Article." 
    • Fill in what you can (put in N/A if the field is inapplicable) with the price and other information in the Comments box.
    • This will get the process going and ILL will get back to you if they need more information or to discuss the price.

BorrowDirect - the fastest way to get books, music scores, some DVD and video, that we don't have in the library.

Purchase Request Specify if you want print or online

Access to Harvard Special Collection Materials

  • Look for "Request to Scan or Visit" in HOLLIS (to place a scanning request) or contact the repository directly. Most of our larger archival collections are able to provide scans.

Widener Carrels

Graduate students and visiting scholars are eligible to have a carrel in the Widener stacks: start the process with the carrel request form. (If you do this right at the start of the semester, it may take a few weeks before you receive confirmation.) Materials from the Widener stacks, including non-circulating materials like bound periodicals, can be checked out to your carrel.

Help with Digital Projects

The Digital Scholarship Support Group offers faculty, students, and staff interested in incorporating digital methods into their teaching and research a single point of entry to the many resources available at Harvard.