This guide is selective and intended as a point of departure for research in the history of science.

More specialized sources are available in Specialized Resources in the History of Science.

For an introductory guide: Library Research Guide: History of Science: Introduction

This guide lists only history of science sources. General historical sources are listed in Library Research Guide for History.

Please feel free to email with questions. We can make an appointment for you to come in, and we can talk at length about your project.

Fred Burchsted, (burchst@fas.harvard.edu) Research Librarian and Liaison to the Department of History of Science, Widener Library
Emily Bell (emilybell@fas.harvard.edu), Research Librarian, Lamont Library

Getting What You Need

There is a guide to Finding Materials in Widener.  Social Science and humanities material including much secondary and some primary material is in Widener, but the bulk of more specialized material is the several science libraries and Countway

Finding a pertinent book on the shelf and then looking at its neighbors is an excellent way of finding more material, because the call number system is also a subject system:  QH 30 means biographies of biologists and naturalists.

The new Harvard Direct system allows you to request a book from one Harvard library to be delivered to another.  Hit Request item on the HOLLIS record for a book that is not checked out.  More on Harvard Direct.

If you have the citation to an article which is not available online or the pages or chapter (up to 30 pp.) from a book, Scan & Deliver will email you the pdf within 1-4 days. Hit Scan & Deliver on the HOLLIS record.

If a book is checked out, you can probably get it within 1-4 days via Borrow Direct.  This is quicker than recalling it from the person who has it. Books only.

InterLibrary Loan will obtain books, DVDs, microfilm, periodical articles and other material not available atr Harvard.  When possible give them the WorldCat Accession no. at the bottom of the WorldCat record to help specify what you want.  Takes 1-4 days for article scans, a week-10 days (typically)  for other material.

At Harvard Library, services like ILL, Scan & Deliver & Borrow Direct fall under the umbrella of "Get It!" Services. They know it's complicated; they even have a flow chart: https://library.harvard.edu/get-it-services.