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Requesting Materials from Schlesinger Library

Requesting Archival Collections

Use the Ask a Schlesinger Librarian form to request archival collections and to confirm availability.

Include the following information in your request:

  1. Collection title
  2. Call number
  3. Box number(s)
  4. Date(s) you wish to visit

To locate an archival collection, use Harvard libraries' online catalog, HOLLIS, to start your search. You can limit your search to Archives/Manuscript collections held by the Schlesinger Library in the advanced search mode.
HOLLIS Advanced Search box

1. The title of the collection is found in the "Details" section of the HOLLIS record. 

Finding the collection title in a HOLLIS record

2. The call number can be found in the "Get It" section of the HOLLIS record.

Finding the collection call number in a HOLLIS record

3. Most archival collections have finding aids (guides to the contents of the collection), but some smaller or unprocessed collections may not have a finding aid.

If the collection does not have a finding aid link, you do not need to identify box/folder numbers.

If the collection does have a finding aid link, you will use this document to identify the box/folder numbers. you can access the document by clicking on the "Finding Aid" link in the HOLLIS record. The link takes you into HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, Harvard libraries' database of archival collections with finding aids.

Finding aid links in a HOLLIS record

To determine the box and/or folder numbers you wish to see for collections with finding aids, you will need to locate the "Item Identifiers" for each folder. These can be found in the Collection Inventory, the Item Records, and in the PDF version of the finding aids. Please see these examples for more detail:

A. Collection Inventory

Item Identifier in the Collection Inventory


B. Item Record

Identifier in Item View



Step 1: Download and open the PDF view of the finding aid.

Click PDF View button to download a PDF of the finding aid.


Step 2: As you browse through the PDF, you will see the item identifiers located immediately below the title of the folder or item.

Item identifier in the PDF.