Links to Harvard museums

Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain holds books largely on woody plants. The Archives include the records of the Arnold Arboretum together with personal papers of Arboretum staff and plant collectors and propagators associated with the Arboretum. Electronic inventories of several of the collections are available together with an online index of correspondence in the archival collections.

Finding aids for collections in the Arnold Arboretum Library and Archives, Jamaica Plain. Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Arnold Arboretum Library and Archives and without search terms yields a list of all Arnold Arboretum Library and Archives finding aids currently available through OASIS.

Hay, Ida. 1995. Science in the Pleasure Ground: A History of the Arnold Arboretum. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 349 pp.

Artemas Ward House

Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in the Science Center includes over 15,000 instruments, often with contemporary documentation, from 1450 through the 20th century worldwide. The collection also includes other objects from the history of science at Harvard, including William Dandridge Peck's dried fish specimens. Waywiser, online database of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.

Cohen, I. Bernard, 1950. Some Early Tools of American Science: An Account of the Early Scientific Instruments and Mineralogical and Biological Collections in Harvard University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 201 pp.

Fogg Art Museum. 1969. Early Science at Harvard: Innovators and their Instruments, 1765-1865. Cambridge, 82 pp.

Wheatland, D. P. 1968. The Apparatus of Science at Harvard, 1765-1800. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 203 pp.

Fisher Museum at the Harvard Forest (off campus)

Harvard Art Museums

  • Arthur M. Sackler Museum
  • Busch-Reisinger Museum
  • Fogg Museum
  • Arthur M. Sackler Museum

Harvard Art Museums Online Collections

Harvard University Herbaria and Harvard Botanical Museum

Finding aids for botanical manuscript collections. Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to one of the botany collections and without search terms yields a list of all finding aids currently available through OASIS.

Botanical Museum Archives

Warnement, Judith. 1997. "Botanical libraries and herbaria in North America. 3. Harvard's botanists and their libraries". Taxon, v. 46, pp. 649-660.
LOCATION: Botany Gray Herbarium: Neth T1

Dupree, A.H. 1959. Asa Gray, 1810-1888. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 505 pp.

Schultes, R. E., W. A. Davis and H. Burger. 1982. The Glass Flowers at Harvard. NY: E.P. Dutton, 118 pp. Reprint, Cambridge: Botanical Museum of Harvard University, 1992.

Mineralogical and Geological Museum

Frondel, C. 1988. The geological sciences at Harvard University from 1788 to 1850. Earth Sciences History, v. 7, no. 1, pp. 1-22.

Museum of Comparative Zoology

Database of Zoological Collections

The Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology is one of the world's greatest zoological libraries. The Library collects taxonomic zoology, evolutionary biology, oceanography, ecology, and paleontology. It was established in 1861 with the purchase of the paleontological library of the Belgian chemist and amateur paleontologist, Laurent Guillaume de Koninck (1809-1887) and the donation of material from the library of Louis Agassiz, the Museum's founder. Over the years biological and geological books and serials were transferred from the Harvard College Library in Gore and, later, Widener; note the lack of Widener classes for biology or geology. Before the libraries of the Boston Society of Natural History and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences were sold out-of-state, items not otherwise held in this area were transferred to several Boston libraries, expecially the MCZ. Most geological material has been transferred to the Kummel Library of the Geological Sciences.

Finding aids for collections in the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Ernst Mayr Library and without search terms yields a list of all Ernst Mayr Library finding aids currently available through OASIS.

Further Information

Work, R. L. 1952. "Ninety years of Professor Agassiz's natural history library". Harvard Library Bulletin, v. 6, pp. 202-218. [Ernst Mayr Library, Museum of Comparative Zoology]
LOCATION: Lamont: Periodicals
LOCATION: Widener: RR 58.20 and several other Harvard libraries

Barrow, M. V., Jr. 1995. Gentlemanly specialists in the age of professionalization: The first century of ornithology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. Pp. 55-94 in: Contributions to the History of North American Ornithology, ed. by W. E. Davis, Jr. and J. A. Jackson. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, no. 12.

Harvard University. Museum of Comparative Zoology. 1936. Notes concerning the history and contents of the Museum of Comparative Zology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard College, 89 pp.

Lurie, Edward. 1960. Louis Agassiz: a life in science. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 449 pp.

Winsor, Mary. 1991. Reading the Shape of Nature. Comparative Zoology at the Agassiz Museum. University of Chicago Press, 324 pp.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. The Search the Collections feature accesses over 300,000 records for which there are images. Collections by Type gives overviews of the collections of objects, archives and photographs. Includes online finding aids for Archival Paper Collections. OASIS includes finding aids for collections in the Peabody Museum Archives. Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Peabody Museum Archives and without search terms yields a list of all Peabody Museum Archives finding aids currently available through OASIS.

Anthropology at Harvard: a biographical history, 1790-1940, by David L. Browman & Stephen Williams. Cambridge, Massachusetts : Peabody Museum Press, Harvard University, 2013, 589 p.
Lamont | Reserves | GN43.2 M4 B76 2013
Tozzer | REF | GN43.2.M4 B76 2013x Copy 2 holdings.
Tozzer | TOZ-LC | GN43.2.M4 B76 2013x Copy 1 holdings.
Widener | Harvard Depository
HOLLIS record 012993909

Dorsey, G. A. 1896. History of the study of anthropology at Harvard University. Denison Quarterly, v. 4, no. 2, pp. 77-97.

Hinsley, C. M. 1985, From shell-heaps to stelae: Early anthroplogy at the Peabody Museum. Pp. 49-74 in Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture, ed. by G. W. Stocking, Jr. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 258 pp.

Hinsley, C. M. 1992. The museum origins of Harvard anthropology, 1866-1915. Pp. 121-145 in Science at Harvard University: Historical Perspectives, ed. by C. A. Elliott, M. W. Rossiter. Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh Univ. Press.

Harvard Semitic Museum

Warren Anatomical Museum

The Warren Anatomical Museum is Harvard Medical School's legacy anatomical teaching collection, beginning with the donation of John Collins Warren's personal anatomy collection in 1847. The collection contains osteological and anatomical preparations; medical and dental instrumentation; wet tissue preparations; anatomical models and plaster casts; lantern slides; water colors and photographs. At present, there is no way to remotely search the Warren Museum collection. Research inquiries should be sent to

A portion of the Warren Anatomical Museum is on display in Warren Museum Gallery on the 5th floor of the Countway Library.

Warren Anatomical Museum. Records, 1835-2010 (inclusive), 1971-1991 (bulk)

Bennett W. 1987. Dr. Warren's possessions. Harvard Magazine, v. 89(6): 24-31.

A descriptive catalogue of the Warren Anatomical Museum, by J. B. S. Jackson. Boston : A. Williams, 1870, 759 p.
Countway Medicine | Rare Books Reference | QM51 .H33 1870
Countway Medicine | Harvard Depository Rare Books Countway Medicine | Rare Books | 1.U.8 ( Ha.)
Countway Medicine | Rare Books | QL814 .H35 1870
Harvard University Archives | HUE 54.70.92
Online (HathiTrust) version