Start your research on the history of the African and African American Studies at Harvard with this guide. The collections listed here document the student and administrative action that led to the formation of the Department, its early curriculum and faculty, and the creation of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.

Collection Availability

Many of the University Archives' collections are open and available for use. However, there are collections within this guide that contain restricted materials.

For questions about access to specific collections, please contact the Archives reference staff at in advance of your visit before requesting any items.

Restrictions apply to certain categories of material:

  • University policy restricts access to University administrative records for a period of 50 years from the date of their creation. University records pertaining to individuals, including student and employee records, are closed for a minimum of 80 years.
  • Archives of student, alumni, and other associated organizations are subject to the same 50- and 80-year restrictions on access.
  • Personal archives of faculty, administrators, students, and alumni/ae may be subject to restrictions established by the donor. University records in personal archives are subject to the same 50- and 80-year restrictions on access required by University policy.
  • Records in general distribution at their time of creation are usually open without restriction. These include announcements, official University publications, calendars, brochures, and public reports.