Searching for Material

Most books and manuscripts in the Theodore Roosevelt Collection can be found in the catalog systems using the instructions below. However, some collections may not be fully described - or even described at all. Additionally, a large portion of the ephemera in the collection cannot be found using the catalog systems alone. Because of this, it is useful to contact reference staff to make an appointment to discuss your research project.


Printed books in the collection can be found in Harvard's online catalog system, HOLLIS.

Front cover of "The Wilderness Hunter", beige background with red text

  • To search HOLLIS for books held in the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, choose the Advanced Search option, and limit your search to Location = 'Houghton Library' and Material Type = 'Books'.
  • There are numerous other options available in Advanced Search. For example, while you can search for 'Keywords anywhere' you can also limit your search to  'Author', 'Title', or 'Subject" keywords, or search by other material types or language.
  • Once you have found the record of an item, subject links can lead you to other items in the same subject area.  You can also click on the name of the author or the Browse Shelf tab to call up other pertinent records.



Manuscripts are cataloged in a variety of ways. Many manuscripts, especially those that were acquired individually, are fully described in colored drawing of small bird sitting on a branchHOLLIS. Larger collections may only have a short summary or “collection-level” record in HOLLIS, but often have a more detailed description in the form of a finding aid. Links to the finding aids can be found in the HOLLIS record, as well as in Harvard's online collection of finding aids, HOLLIS for Archival Discovery.

For example, this measurement card recording TR's health as a Harvard College freshman is only described in HOLLIS, while this collection of TR's letters (one of many similar collections in the library) has both a collection-level record in HOLLIS and a finding aid.

HOLLIS+ searches online finding aids at Harvard, but only by keywords. For more targeted searching, use HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Search in both systems to be comprehensive.

Searching HOLLIS for Manuscripts

  • To search for manuscripts in HOLLIS, choose the Advanced Search option, limit the search to 'Location' = Houghton Library, and choose 'Material Type' = Archives/Manuscripts.
  • If you are searching for materials related to a specific person, searches of 'Keywords anywhere' rather than more limited searches (such as 'Author/Creator' or 'Subject') can be a good way to find material by and related to that person.

Searching HOLLIS for Archival Discovery for Manuscripts

HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, a companion to HOLLIS, is a search platform designed specifically for finding special collections and archival material.

As mentioned above, some material in the Theodore Roosevelt Collection is only described in HOLLIS.  For a comprehensive search, it is recommended to use both platforms.

Browsing Finding Aids

  • Browsing is one good way to search for collections of well-known people and organizations, as there may be multiple finding aids associated with them.
  • To browse Theodore Roosevelt Collection finding aids, click 'Browse,' found in the upper right hand corner of the screen and select 'Collections.'  You can then select 'Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919,' found under 'Creator,' located on the right hand side of the screen. 

Basic Searching 

  • While browsing can be helpful when searching for collections entirely focused on a particular person, related material might be found in collections focused on other people. 
  • There are several different options for searching in HOLLIS for Archival Discovery.  See below for examples:
    • Enter 'Theodore Roosevelt correspondence' for search results that contain all of these words.
    • Enter 'Theodore' OR 'Roosevelt' OR 'correspondence' for search results that contain any of these words.
    • Enter "Theodore Roosevelt correspondence" (in quotes) for search results that contain this exact phrase. 

Refining Your HOLLIS for Archival Discovery Search

If too many records are returned or if you want to narrow your search, you can refine your results by using the "Limit"  drop down menu and selecting the desired limitation.  You can also limit your results by selecting one of the options in the drop down menu located to the direct right of the main search bar. 

See the HOLLIS for Archival Discovery Guide for further searching tips. 

Digitized Manuscripts

Nearly every letter, diary, and manuscript in the collection written by Theodore Roosevelt has been digitized. Single items are linked through HOLLIS, and items within a larger collection are linked through their finding aids.


Ephemera is a category of primary source material that is used to mean minor documents and printed material not meant to last for very Pamphlet cover with title "Party Platforms in Deadly Parallel"long or to be saved. Categories of ephemera in the Theodore Roosevelt Collection include menus, programs for theater and musical events, material related to elections such as ballots, pins, and pamphlets, tickets, invitations, and sheet music, as well as scrapbooks compiled in TR's time and filled with newspaper clippings and other material.

  • Some ephemera are cataloged, and can be found using HOLLIS or HOLLIS for Archival Discovery.
    • In HOLLIS, try searching for the format of material (e.g. scrapbook) as a form/genre along with other search terms.
    • In HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, try searching for format, or personal or organizational names. You can also try searching 'Theodore Roosevelt ephemera' for collections.
  • Most ephemera and scrapbooks are not yet in HOLLIS, but library staff can help you locate material related to your research.

Visual Material

The Theodore Roosevelt Collection contains a wide array of visual material, including:Black and white photo of a black dog in the snow with mountains in the distance

  • Photographs
  • Political cartoons, both printed/published and original artwork
  • Printed material, such as posters and advertisements

Browsing the collection by period

  • Photographs in the collection up to 1910 have been digitized. The collection can be searched, using the directions below, or browsed by time period, here:

Searching HOLLIS Images 

  • HOLLIS Images is the online image catalog for all Harvard libraries.
  • HOLLIS will also display image results.  HOLLIS Images lets you do more targeted searching.
  • To search specifically for Roosevelt Collection material, Theodore Roosevelt Collection from the drop down menu to the immediate right of the main search bar. 

Searching HOLLIS

  • From the Advanced Search, select 'Resource Type' = Image, enter your search terms, and limit your search to 'Location' = Houghton Library.
  • Searching for Image as 'Resource Type' will only return individual items or entire collections of visual materials (such as a photographer's archives). It may not return manuscript collections containing just a few visual items. For a more thorough search, select 'Material Type' = Archives / Manuscripts, and enter 'Keywords anywhere' contains [your search terms] AND [format], where format is photograph, etc. Do not include the brackets in your search.
  • When entering the format of the visual material, truncate the word and end it with an asterisk, e.g. photograph*. This way, the system will find all words that begin with photograph (photographs, photography, photographic).
  • Using "Theodore Roosevelt" or "Roosevelt" as your only search term will bring up thousands of results. Make sure to add additional search terms to narrow the results.

Searching HOLLIS for Archival Discovery

  • Once in a collection guide, you can search for photographs using the 'Search Within Collection' bar, found on the left hand side of the screen.
  • To search for visual material by a specific artist, or depicting a specific person, organization, or production title follow the directions under the manuscript section of this guide.