Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Immigration Research Guide


Welcome to the Harvard Library!  This guide provides information and links to tools and resources that will help you with your research on immigration-related topics.  If you have any questions about the libraries or about doing research at Harvard, please don't hesitate to ask.  We are happy to help you navigate the collections of Harvard's libraries.

Kathleen Sheehan
Research Librarian and Liaison to the
Departments of Government and Sociology

Sue Gilroy
Librarian for Undergraduate Programs
in Writing and Liaison to Social Studies

Diane Sredl
Data Reference Librarian

Selected Harvard Libraries and Collections

Statue of Liberty, 2009 (AP Photo Richard Drew)

Government Documents and Microforms Collections in Lamont Library is the central reference and referral point for government information from the United States government, 160 foreign governments, and many international organizations.  The collection is especially strong in demography and population, history, international relations, international trade, and the social sciences.

Harvard Law School Library makes every effort to provide its patrons with at minimum a core collection of the primary law, both contemporary and historical, of each of the world's jurisdictions. 

Widener Library holds one of the world's most comprehensive research collections in the humanities and social sciences.  Of particular note are the collections of Africana, Americana, European local history, Judaica, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, Slavic studies, and materials for the study of Asia.  The holdings include major research materials in more than 100 languages.

Kennedy School Library collects at an instructional support and research level subject areas including: public administration; nonprofit sector management and policy; U.S. federal government; U.S. state and local government; U.S. politics and elections; economic development; sustainable development; international relations; U.S.-Asia relations; international security; human rights; and defense policy.

Finding Books

 Finding items in our libraries:

If you're looking for books and articles on a topic, use the default search in HOLLIS, which is a keyword search:

  • immigration - Note the facets on the right hand side of the screen.  These will allow you to refine your searches by author, language, subject, etc.

Finding items beyond Harvard

For books not currently available at Harvard, you can request them through Borrow Direct.  If one of the libraries in this network has the item, you should receive it within 4 days. 

For items not available through Borrow Direct, you can submit an Interlibrary Loan request to borrow it from a broader network of libraries.  These requests take an average of two weeks to fill.

If you find an item in another library that you think the Harvard libraries should own, you can submit a Collections Purchase Request

Resources for Gathering Background Information

In print:
Anti-immigration in the United States : a historical encyclopedia / Kathleen R. Arnold, editor. Santa Barbara, Calif. : Greenwood Press, c2011.
WID-LC JV6450 .A67 2011

Globalization and Security: an Encyclopedia, editors, G. Honor Fagan and Ronaldo Munck.  Santa Barbara, Calif. : Praeger Security International, 2009.
Widener: WID-LC D763.M47 G56 2009

Africa Yearbook covers major domestic political developments, the foreign policy and socio-economic trends in sub-Sahara Africa – all related to developments in one calendar year.

CQ Press Electronic Library is a collection of resources related to the U.S. Government.

Europa World: The Europa World Year Book Online provides information on more than 250 countries and territories, and profiles over 1650 international organizations.

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences aims to capture the "state of the art" of the social and behavioral sciences. 
Print edition:  Amsterdam ; New York : Elsevier, 2001.

Widener: RR 4703.5
Lamont: Reference H41 .I58

Oxford Reference Online is a multi-part database of the online versions of Oxford University Press texts, which includes volumes covering the Political and Social Sciences.


The first displaced persons to be allowed to enter the United States under a new congressional act, begin to file aboard the U.S. Army transport General Black at Bremerhaven, Germany, Oct. 21, 1948. The DPs coming to America on the ship represented 11 nations and numbered 813 persons. (AP Photo)