Exploring Special Collections at Harvard
The Houghton Library is Harvard's largest repository of rare books and manuscripts. Although best-known for literary collections, many sources for the history of science are held. Most books and many manuscripts are represented in the HOLLIS Catalog, but especially for manuscripts, a visit to Houghton to use their on-site catalogs and talk to staff is essential.
Finding aids for collections in the Houghton Library (OASIS). Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Houghton and without search terms yields a list of all Houghton finding aids currently available through OASIS.
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
The The Schlesinger Library has one of the leading collections of books, journals, and manuscripts on women's history. They have the personal papers of numerous women activists and records of women's organizations.
Information on visiting Schlesinger. Tips on using Schlesinger and their research guides.
Schlesinger subject research guides highlight Schlesinger collections in several areas, including:
Finding aids for collections in the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (OASIS). Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Schlesinger and without search terms yields a list of all Schlesinger finding aids currently available through OASIS.
Harvard University Archives
University Archives is the repository of the records of the University administration and of many, especially Harvard College, departments. The personal papers of Harvard College faculty are also collected here. There are vertical files of biographical material and portraits. Harvard dissertations and Senior Theses are housed here. The Harvard Business, Law and Medical Schools have their own archival collections.
Sources for the History of Science in the Harvard University Archives, by Clark A. Elliott, Harvard Library bulletin, vol. XXII, no 1 (Jan. 1974), pp. 49 – 71.
Finding aids for collections in the Harvard University Archives (OASIS). Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Harvard University Archives and without search terms yields a list of all Harvard University Archives finding aids currently available through OASIS.
Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives collects primary source materials, personal papers, report literature, media, etc., documenting the environmental movement from the mid1960s to the present.
Finding aids for collections in the Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives. Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives and without search terms yields a list of all Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives finding aids currently available through OASIS.
The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine includes the Center for the History of Medicine which holds extensive collections of European, and especially American, medical literature with especially rich collections in anatomy and surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and materia medica. Most 18th and 19th century manuscript collections have been processed, but access is through a card file in the reading room. Records for these collections are gradually being added to HOLLIS. Call ahead to make an appointment before visiting CHM, the Countway Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
List of Guides to Historical Collections Finding aids for collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine can be searched together in OASIS. Use Limit by Repository feature. A search limited to Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine and without search terms yields a list of all Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine finding aids available in OASIS currently available through OASIS.
Though particularly strong in early American business history, this collection contains international elements as well, including letters and other materials that give insight to the political and social culture of the times.
The current focus in collecting is on 20th and 21st century business and technological innovation. One of their most-used collections is the 19th-century R.G. Dun & Co. (a predecessor to Dun & Bradstreet) credit reports on local businesses, created by lawyers reporting on local companies and individuals, running to more than 2,500 volumes arranged geographically. They also have thousands of company annual reports (1820-date). Individual reports are not in HOLLIS, but are included in an onsite database. They are starting to acquire sustainability and other types of reports.. Baker Library Historical Collections also boasts a sizeable trade catalog collection (19th-early 20th century) on machinery, textiles, locomotives, etc. All of the catalogs are in HOLLIS and can be searched for under the form/genre term “trade catalogs.”
A small selection of major collections includes:
A vast accumulation of local business records bulking in late 18th-early 20th with strengths in: labor, records of merchants (e.g., Hancock family), farmer’s account books, early financiers (often with Harvard background). Lots on the China trade.
Polaroid Corporation records: administrative and patent/legal material now open. Polaroid was progressive with respect to hiring women and African-Americans.
Kress Collection of Business and Economics contains rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, manuscripts, and prints, from the 15th to the early 20th centuries with traditional strengths in economic philosophy, political economy, commerce, and business history. Many, but not all, of the titles in the Kress Collection may be found in Making of the Modern World (MOMW). HOLLIS includes all recently cataloged titles, plus those in MOMW. The most complete point of access to the collection is via a card catalog in the reading room. There is much material on the environment of economics and business: social conditions, politics, public health, transport, etc