Collections Overview

Main Collections

Spanning two centuries, the Gutman Library Special Collections offers rich and varied resources for studying the history of schooling and learning in America. Main collections include:

Examples of Research Projects Using the Collection

Past researchers, from Harvard and the larger scholarly community, have used the materials in Special Collections to support a variety of scholarly projects. Some examples of topics include:

  • 19th century Massachusetts compulsory attendance statutes
  • Depiction of “heroes” from the American Revolution in United States history textbooks
  • Use of color theory (i.e., color spectrum) in art education textbooks
  • Use of modern/standard periodic table of elements in chemistry textbooks
  • Analysis of human nature vs. animal nature in the Man: A Course of Study curriculum project
  • Social class formation in private schools between 1880-1930
  • Progressive educators in pre-1940 Boston
  • In-service teacher’s institutes in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Use of radio in education in the 1930s
  • Inclusion of Shakespeare in 19th century textbooks
  • Use of popular music in early Sesame Street programming
  • Depiction of Latin America in 20th century world history textbooks
  • Use of illustrations in 19th century mathematics textbooks
  • Sex education programs in San Francisco Public Schools between 1930-1950
  • Depiction of violence during the Civil Rights Movement in post-1960 textbooks
  • Examination of “scale board” bindings in early 19th century textbooks
  • Changes in curriculum and required texts in various cities and states