Locating Slavic materials at Harvard

Harvard University holds one of the largest Slavic collections outside the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe. The main collection of over 850,000 volumes in the areas of the humanities and social sciences is housed in the Widener Library and supported by the Americas, Europe and Oceania Division of the Harvard College Library. Manuscripts, rare books, and materials in the areas of fine arts, music, anthropology, ethnology, law, and science are found in other parts of the Harvard Library system (such as Houghton Library, the Davis Center Collection at Fung Library, the Fine Arts Library, the Loeb Music Library, and Tozzer Library); as well as in libraries of other faculties, such as the Law School Library. When searching for Slavic materials in HOLLIS Classic or HOLLIS, the researcher must take note of the library location of the desired item. Below is a list of Harvard libraries and archives that have substantial or noteworthy Slavic holdings in their collections.

Widener Library

Houghton Library

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Collection (Fung Library)

Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute Library

Government Documents/Microforms Collection (Lamont Library)

Harvard Law School Library

Fine Arts Library

Harvard Map Collection

The Harvard Film Archive

Tozzer Library

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library

Loeb Music Library

Harvard University Archives

Countway Library

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Widener Library

Widener Library is home to the single largest collection of Slavic publications held by Harvard.  The primary focus of the Widener Slavic collections is materials in the humanities and social sciences.  The collections include both Slavic language materials and titles pertaining to Slavic studies published in English, French, German, etc.  Although the focus of Widener’s collecting activities is on the acquisition of secondary literature, the collection does include political ephemera and other primary source materials.

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Houghton Library

Houghton Library holds many of the Slavic rare books, manuscripts and archival collections at Harvard.  Early Slavic publications include:

Houghton archival collections include

  • The Andrei Sakharov Archives which includes the papers of:
    • Andrei Amal'rik, 1938-1980. Andrei Amal'rik papers
    • Elena Bonner, 1923- . Elena Bonner papers
    • Dewhirst, Martin. Martin Dewhirst papers
    • Vasilii Semenovich Grossman, 1905-1964. Vasilii Semenovich Grossman papers
    • Ludmila Gurevich. Ludmila Gurevich family papers
    • Edward Kline. Edward Kline papers
    • The Human Rights Collection
    • Peter Reddaway photograph collection, 1968-1988

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Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Collection (Fung Library)

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies collection is comprised of books and periodicals related to the field of Russian and Eurasian studies, particularly in the social sciences (political science, economics, sociology) and history. The general collection consists of approximately 20,000 volumes, primarily scholarly monographs, reference books, archival guides, and statistical publications, as well as current newspapers and periodicals. Current collecting efforts place a particular emphasis on archives, photographs, and other special-collections material. The collection also includes microfilm, audio-visual materials, and ephemera, among other types of non-book formats.

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Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute Library

The Library at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute holds a small collection of monographs and serials, with an emphasis on reference materials.  In addition, it holds a number of important manuscripts and archival collections. The material in the collections includes personal documents, correspondence, telegrams, minutes, financial and administrative records, manuscripts, publications, press clippings, and photographs. The predominant languages of the various documents are Ukrainian and English, although some of the documents are written in other European languages. The collections are a particularly important historical resource for the study of Ukraine during the revolutionary years 1917 to 1921, and Ukrainian refugee and émigré life in Europe and the United States following the Second World War. The papers and archives are also useful for studying Ukrainian cultural life from the viewpoint of individual lives and institutional activities.”  A list, many with descriptions, of these collections is available at http://huri.harvard.edu/library.html

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Government Documents/Microforms Collection (Lamont Library)

Includes numerous Slavic microforms sets including the Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet State and Holodomor : famine in Ukraine, 1932-1933, from the Central State Archive of Public Organizations, Kiev , to name just two collections.

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Harvard Law School Library

Holds an extensive collection of Slavic legal materials, both contemporary and historical. Of specific note is the Pre-Soviet Law Collection with over 5,500 nineteenth- and twentieth-century titles available as physical copies or on microfilm. Learn more about this collection. 

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Fine Arts Library

Holds an extensive collection of Slavic and Eurasian art materials.  Special emphasis is placed on, but not limited to, the acquisition of museum and exhibit catalogs. 

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Harvard Map Collection   

“The Harvard Map Collection is one of the oldest and largest collections of cartographic materials in the United States with over 500,000 items. Resources range from 16th century globes to modern maps and geographic information systems (GIS) layers. A selection of our materials has been digitally imaged and is offered both as true picture images and georeferenced copies.’  Many of these maps have not been cataloged, you are encouraged to visit the Map Collection to review the full range of materials.

Map collection holdings include:

  • Soviet military topographic maps of the European areas of the Soviet Union
  • The Bohdan and Neonila Krawciw Ucrainica Map Collection. Read a description of the collection. (HOLLIS collection title: "Harvard Map Collection. Krawciw Collection."

Some of these maps and atlas are available electronically and can be searched at the Digital Maps Site.

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The Harvard Film Archive

Holds a number of Slavic films which are mostly in 35mm format so they must be viewed onsite.  Copies of Slavic films on DVD and VHS can be checked out of Widener Library.

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Tozzer Library

“Collects comprehensively in all subfields of anthropology: cultural and social anthropology, biological and physical anthropology, archaeology, and anthropological linguistics.”  The collections include a strong representation of Slavic and Eurasian materials.

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Dumbarton Oaks Research Library (located in Washington DC)

Byzantine Studies; includes materials and images from Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia, Romania, Russia, Armenia, and Georgia.  Dumbarton Oaks is located in Washington, DC and their collections do not circulate.

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Loeb Music Library

“The primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The library's general collections include about 91,000 books, 143,000 scores, 83,000 sound recordings and video formats, and nearly 1,080 periodical titles that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice. In addition, the Isham Memorial Library houses a collection of 8,250 rare books and scores and 31,200 microforms.”  The Laura Boulton Collection of Byzantine and Orthodox Music  includes Russian music.  Loeb Music Library also holds The Eduard Alekseyev Fieldwork Collection of the Musical Culture of Yakutia, 1969-1990 (see also Music of Yakutia : research guide).

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Harvard University Archives

Holds university records, faculty papers, historical collections that document Harvard, records of organizations associated with the university and dissertations, theses and prize papers.

HUA collections related to faculty members associated with Slavic studies include:

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Countway Library

Holds materials on medical care and public health. The Center for the History of Medicine holds some Slavic-related special collections.

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