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Architecture and Urbanism Resources at Harvard

A brief guide to resources on architecture, landscapes, and urban planning at Harvard

Baker Library Special Collections

Baker Library has collected rare and unique materials that focus on the evolution of business and industry. Material in the library's special collections spans eight centuries beginning in the late 1300s to the present day and include corporate archives, manuscripts, account ledgers, rare books, broadsides, photographs, films, electronic records, and company annual reports. Such records will offer a unique perspective on the ways that businesses have engaged architecture and shaped cities.

Getting Started at Baker Library

  • Know Before You Go
    Information for planning your visit to the library, including directions, hours, and access policies.
  • Research Guides
    A collection of research guides specific to Baker Library.

Highlights from the Collection

  • Baker Library's Research Guide for Real Estate Industry
    These guides highlight key sources of information on design, project financing, and regional market conditions.
  • Photographs
    A collection of photographs that depict various businesses and manufactories in nineteenth-century Boston (1855-1895).
  • Industrial Life Photograph Collection
    Photographs collection by the Business Historical Society that document major industries in the United States and industrial processes, 1920-1941.
  • Fire Insurance Maps
    Maps prepared by companies like Barlow & Bancroft that were used to gather information the buildings that companies were insuring. They include details such as the size, shape and construction materials of dwellings, commercial buildings, factories and other structures as well as vital infrastructure like water mains and fire hydrants.
  • Frederic H. Viaux Papers
    The papers of Frederic H. Viaux, a real estate broker active in Boston and Cambridge at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century. His Charles River Embankment Company undertook major land reclamation projects along the Charles and the construction of the Harvard Bridge.
  • Boston Mill Corporation Records, 1643-1878
    Extensive documents related to the history of the Boston Mill Corporation which controlled the land that is now the Back Bay. These include surveys, reports, contracts, and leases.

    Banner image: Detail of The Weave Room, 1933Baker Library, Harvard Business School, Historical Collections Mss: 1412 :442 B747