Primary Sources in Musical Theater

What primary sources might exist for your research topic? The possibilities include:

  • Musical scores, sheet music, scripts, recordings
  • Production materials: set and costume designs, business correspondence
  • Publicity materials: playbills, posters, prints and photographs
  • Critical reactions: newspaper articles, reviews

Where to Search: Archives in the Catalog

Many, but not all, archival collections at Harvard are listed in these catalogs. Consult an archivist or curator at the collection for help finding uncataloged materials.

Use this Research Guide for Finding Manuscripts and Archival Collections for information about searching materials held at Harvard and elsewhere. 

Requesting Materials from Special Collections

Many of Harvard's special collections use an online request system called HOLLIS Special Request; after filling out a quick registration form, you can:

  • submit requests in advance of a visit or while at the library
  • track the status of each request
  • access detailed information about past requests

See How to Use Harvard Library's Special Collections and Archives for more information, or register for a HOLLIS Special Request Account.

Care and Handling of Special Collections

Follow these handy guidelines to help preserve Harvard's rare materials for the future: 10 Tips for Reading Room Success.

Photography in Special Collections

Many of Harvard's collections allow photography - without flash - of materials for personal research use.

If in doubt, if a document is particularly fragile, or if you need a better-quality image, please ask a library staff member for help.