- Archived Harvard University Online Course Catalogs (A-Cats), Fall 2005 to present, contain course descriptions, lists of instructors, and academic calendars in three separate, searchable databases: Courses, Faculty, and Calendars. Contains information for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Harvard College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Summer School, and Extension School), Harvard Business School, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
- For a list of academic departments, areas of study, and committees and associated faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 2015/2016 to the present, see Harvard FAS Masthead.
Several of our most popular online resources are listed below. You can find additional collections available online by searching the Harvard Library catalogs HOLLIS, HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, and HOLLIS Images. For more information and help with searching, please contact the Archives reference staff.
Emergency full text access: HathiTrust
As an emergency measure due to COVID-19 restrictions, HathiTrust Digital Library is opening up the full text availability for nearly 2 million copyright-protected items, provided that the Harvard Library owns a physical copy. The full text is available to Harvard Library users with a valid HarvardKey for remote access to online resources. For more information, please review the Harvard Library’s Emergency full text access: HathiTrust and the Hathi Trust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service: Information for Users.
Under normal circumstances, copyright protected items have "Limited (search-only)" availability and full text access is only available for those works in the public domain & out of copyright protection. Please note that most of the items listed in this research guide fall under the latter category.
See also the Harvard Library research guide: COVID-19 Open Access Resources.
Harvard-Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf
Harvard University Catalogs
Please note: the Harvard University Catalogue from 1923 to 1998 is not yet available online. Original volumes for this time period are available for use in the Archives’ reading room.
Official Register of Harvard University
The Official Register is a series of publications published annually by the University. While the titles included within the register have varied since it was first published in 1900, it consistently includes items such as annual reports of the president and treasurer, University catalogue, individual courses catalogs for Harvard College and professional schools, announcements of departments and divisions, student handbooks, and directories of University officers and students.
Certain components of this publication are available online (the holdings may not be complete):
- Annual Reports of the President and Treasurer, 1826-1995.
- University Catalogue, 1872-1923.
- Faculty of Arts of Sciences Courses of Instruction, 1879-1988 (some gaps) .
- Anthropology Department, 1894-1914.
- Department of the Classics and Department of Indic Philology, 1883-1910.
- Division of History, Government, and Economics, 1897-1921.
- Division of Education, 1911-1919.
- Zoology Department, 1892-1904.
- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1886-1897
- Graduate School of Business Administration, 1908-1973
- Divinity School, 1893, 1899, 1900-1919.
- Law School, 1878-1969; 1970-2006
- Medical School, 1900-1968.
- Summer School of Arts and Sciences and of Education, 1893-1920
Additional content is also available the Hathi Trust but certain content may be limited to “Search Only.”
The Harvard University Archives collects two categories of websites: sites created by Schools, departments, and administrative units throughout the University (A-Sites), and sites created by the broader Harvard community, including faculty, students, visiting scholars, and staff (H-Sites). The Archives has been collecting websites since 2007.
The Harvard Charter of 1650
The Harvard Charter of 1650: History, transcription, and view online Signed on May 31, 1650 by Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony Thomas Dudley, the Charter of 1650 established the Harvard Corporation as Harvard's primary governing board. Harvard continues to operate under the authority of the Charter of 1650 to this day.
The Tolman Index to University Records, 1636-1870s and Sibley's Private Journal, 1846-1882, informally named for its compiler, Bertha Tolman, is an exhaustive name and subject card index covering most of the official University records from 1636 to the 1870s. The index also references the personal diary of Harvard librarian John Langdon Sibley and the correspondence of five Harvard presidents.
Calendar of Harvard History
The Calendar of Harvard History provides access to information about people, events, policies, academic and extracurricular student life, and other activities at Harvard from 1636 to the present. It is searchable by date and keyword. NOTE: May require Harvard network connection.
Historical Register of Harvard University, 1636-1936
Historical register of Harvard university, 1636-1936. (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1937). Includes, important dates in Harvard history, 1636-1936. -- Chronological tables. -- Officers of government and instruction, 1637-1936.
- Available online from the Harvard Math Department and from the Hathi Trust (some content may be limited to “Search Only").
Harvard Library Digital Collections
Colonial North America at Harvard Library provides access to digitized manuscripts and archives documenting a wide range of topics related to 17th- and 18th-century North America. From business ledgers to personal correspondence to government documents, explore thousands of items from the North American Colonial period across Harvard Library's collections.
The Harvard University Open Collections Program (OCP) provides online access to virtual collections of thematically linked material selected from numerous Harvard repositories. Selected documents and images from the Harvard University Archives are included in the following OCP projects.
Doctors of Philosophy with the Titles of their Theses
Published directories listing Harvard doctors of philosophy and the titles of their doctoral dissertations.
- Doctors of Philosophy and Doctors of Science: Who Have Received Their Degree in Course from Harvard University, with the Titles of Their Theses, 1873-1926.
- Summaries of Theses Accepted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1925-1943/1945. Online content available via the Hathi Trust. Content may be limited to “Search Only.”
- Doctors of philosophy with the titles of their theses, 1939/1945-1981/1982. Online content available via the Hathi Trust. Content may be limited to “Search Only.”
Publications of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts
Publications of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts. The volumes below contain transcriptions of records from the Harvard University Archives.
- Volume 15: Harvard College Records, Part 1.
- Volume 16: Harvard College Records, Part 2.
- Volume 31: Harvard College Records, Part 3.
- Volume 49: Harvard College Records, Part 4.
- Volume 50: Harvard College Records, Part 5.
- Volume 68: Printed Catalogues of the Harvard College Library.