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Digital Collections

A selection of Harvard Library digital collections. To request the addition of a collection, please contact Maggie Hale, Librarian for Collections Digitization.

 
 

The Book of Hours

 
  • As the prayer book for both commoners and royalty alike, the Book of Hours enjoyed unprecedented popularity, and is often characterized as the “bestseller” of the Middle Ages. An indispensable resource for the study of late medieval piety and prayer, Books of Hours are today best known for their decoration, which can range from the routine to the spectacular. With so many surviving examples, Books of Hours provide a virtually continuous, dense record of well-preserved medieval painting. The Book of Hours digital collection allows users to examine ten examples of Books of Hours taken from Houghton Library’s rich collection.

     
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Botanical and Cultural Images of Eastern Asia

 
  • More than 4,500 botanical and cultural images of Eastern Asia by John George Jack (1861–1949), Ernest Henry Wilson (1876–1930), Frank Nicholas Meyer (1875-1918), William Purdom (1880–1921), Joseph Hers (1884–1965) and Joseph Charles Francis Rock (1884–1962) from the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library.

     
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Bracton on the Laws and Customs of England

 
  • A digital presentation of Bracton: De Legibus Et Consuetudinibus Angliæ (Bracton on the Laws and Customs of England), the first comprehensive attempt to rationally articulate English law. The 13th-century document is commonly attributed to the English judge and scholar Henry of Bratton. Here the Latin original and an English translation can be searched and viewed individually or side by side.

     
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The Jacques Burkhardt Collection and Thayer Expedition Papers

 
  • The Jacques Burkhardt Collection of 976 scientific drawings of fish and miscellaneous vertebrates and invertebrates consist of watercolors and pencil drawings, almost half of which are from the Thayer Expedition to Brazil (1865–1866). The Thayer Expedition Papers include field notes, specimen lists, correspondence, diaries, sketches, photographs and other materials.

     
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Chilean Protest Murals

 
  • Many hundreds of protest murals were created in Chile during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). The photographer Andrés Romero Spethman worked alongside muralist brigades representing political parties such as the Partido Socialista and the Izquierda Cristiana. Created in and around Santiago between 1983 and 1990, the murals document the spirit, force and iconography of political protest during an important period of Chilean history.

     
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The Chinese Rubbings Collection

 
  • The Chinese Rubbings Collection includes 1,945 rubbings from the Fine Arts Library collections. The rubbings were made from ancient stone stelae, tomb tablets, Buddhist and Daoist scriptures on stelae and rocks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

     
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Coin and Conscience

 
  • An online presentation of an exhibition catalog issued by Baker Library in 1986 with digital images of prints from the Bleichroeder Collection. The collection includes more than 1,000 woodcuts, engravings, etchings and lithographs ranging from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Many prominent artists are represented in the collection, including Breughel, Goltzius, Rembrandt, Hogarth and Gillray.

     
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Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics

 
  • With more than 500,000 pages of textual materials and 10,000 pages of manuscripts and early printed books from ten contributing Harvard libraries and archives, the collection is organized around nine significant "episodes" of contagious disease. The collection also includes two image collections from the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

     
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Daguerreotypes at Harvard

 
 

A Daring Experiment: Harvard and Business Education for Women

 
  • This online resource features a wide array of historic documents, photographs, publications and oral history interviews from both the Radcliffe College Archives and the Harvard Business School Archives.

     
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The Emily Dickinson Archive

 
  • The Emily Dickinson Archive makes high-resolution images of most of Dickinson's surviving manuscripts available in open access, along with transcriptions and annotations from historical and scholarly traditions and tools for searching, reading and sharing.  

     
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Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH)

 
  • Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH) provides the broadest possible access to Harvard’s scholarship by making research authored by Harvard scholars available online for free. Since its founding in 2008, more than 16,000 articles by Harvard researchers have been deposited in DASH, which have been downloaded over three million times.

     
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Digital Papyri at Houghton Library

 
  • Dating from the 3rd-century BC to the 6th-century AD, Houghton Library’s collection of 84 papyri includes both literary and documentary texts which comprise a unique primary source for the study of the political, administrative and social history of the Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Many of the literary manuscripts come from Oxyrhynchus, but the collection also includes material from Hibeh and the Fayûm, as well as papyri of Homer, Plato, Thucydides, Demosthenes, Menander and the Gospels. Documentary texts include contracts, petitions, lists, tax receipts and letters. The digitization of Houghton's manuscripts was directed by Francesca Schironi, assistant professor in the Department of the Classics, in collaboration with Houghton Library staff.

     
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Digital Scores and Libretti

 
  • Hundreds of digital scores and libretti from the Harvard Library collections, including first and early editions and manuscript copies of music from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by J.S. Bach and Bach family members, Mozart, Schubert and other composers, as well as multiple versions of nineteenth century opera scores, seminal works of musical modernism and music of the Second Viennese School.

     
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Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides

 
  • Digital images collected by the Harvard Law School Library of more than five hundred broadsides – styled at the time as "Last Dying Speeches" or "Bloody Murders" – that were sold to the audiences that gathered to witness public executions in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. The examples digitized span the years 1707 to 1891 and include accounts of executions for such crimes as arson, assault, counterfeiting, horse stealing, murder, rape, robbery and treason.

     
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Edwards Bangs Drew Chinese Maritime Customs Service Photographs

 
  • Edward Bangs Drew joined the Chinese Maritime Customs Service in 1864 after earning his BA degree from Harvard. In 1868, Drew was appointed a Commissioner of the Service, a position he held for decades. During that time he collected photographs that document clothing, customs and daily life in 19th century China, as well as Drew’s life and career, including family and social gatherings, public appearances and events and ceremonies.

     
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Early Photography of Japan

 
  • A virtual collection of 35 albums containing nearly 2,000 photographs from Widener Library, the Fine Arts Library and Harvard-Yenching Library. The albums include many hand-colored albumen prints taken by pioneering and influential photographers such as Felice Beato, Baron Raimund von Stillfried, Kusakabe Kimbei and Tamamura Kozaburo. They document the early history of commercial photography in Japan and reflect traditional Japanese culture before the dramatic transformation brought about by modernization and Western influence during the Meiji period.

     
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Etz-Trudell Lantern Slides of Asia

 
  • The 500 hand-colored lantern slides in this Fine Arts Library collection were acquired by Universalist minister Roger Frederick Etz (1886-1950); in 1934 he toured Asia and visited their mission in Japan. Most of the images depict Japanese scenes, such as views of Mount Fuji, lakes or rice paddies; agricultural production, craftsmen and their workshops; and stores and merchandise displays. Also included are images showing silk production and tea harvesting; religious ceremonies and temples; and pilgrimage sites and shrines.

     
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Expeditions & Discoveries

 
  • In the 19th and 20th centuries, Harvard University played a significant role for pace-setting expeditions around the world. This multidisciplinary collection features nine major expeditions as they are reflected in the holdings of Harvard’s libraries, museums and archives. Records of those expeditions, from 1626 through 1953, include maps, photographs and published materials, as well as field notes, letters and a unique range of manuscript materials.

     
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Gardner Collection of Photographs of the New England Landscape

 
  • Once a teaching collection for the Geology Department at Harvard University, the 1,300 photographs in this collection primarily focus on the geological features of New England and nearby states. The photographs provide an important visual account of how the landscape changed from the late 1880s through the 1910s.

     
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Harvard in the 17th and 18th Centuries

 
  • An online guide to thousands of items — diaries, commonplace books, correspondence, legal documents, University records, drawings, maps, student notebooks, scientific observations and lecture notes — that form the documentary history of Harvard and serve as one of the great social history collections on the evolving United States. In addition to detailed records on these holdings, researchers will find that more than 13,000 pages from these holdings have been digitized and are available online.

     
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Harvard Map Collection Digital Maps

 
  • Descriptions and links to over 1,000 digitized maps and atlases from the Harvard Map Collection. Many are georeferenced for use in a GIS. Highlights include maps of Boston, Cambridge and other Massachusetts towns, New England, London, China, pictorial maps by Ernest Dudley Chase, fire insurance and real property atlases and maps of the Revolutionary War.

     
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Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System

 
  • A resource for the study of the lives of ordinary Soviet citizens in the decades preceding the Second World War, the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online (HPSSS) is a uniquely accessible English-language primary source, with vast amounts of one-of-a-kind data on political, economic, social and cultural conditions of the country. Made up of the working notes from over 750 separate interviews with Soviets who found themselves outside of their country at the end of the war, the HPSSS Online includes page images of the original documents, as well as searchable transcriptions.

     
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Harvard/Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf

 
  • More than 100,000 full-text searchable pages of frequently consulted sources on the history of Harvard and Radcliffe, including annual reports, narrative histories, writings, statistics, founding documents, Massachusetts legislation concerning Harvard, Harvard songs sung at football games and other ceremonial occasions, serial publications and media coverage.

     
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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite

 
  • The Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Suite offers unprecedented access to the Harvard Law School Library’s rich collection of Holmes archival material. Using a new search platform developed by HLSL’s Digital Lab, users can now search over 100,000 digitized documents and over 1,000 images from multiple collections from a single access point. A search may also be easily refined using the site’s faceted search functions.

     
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Holocaust Rescue and Relief

 
  • During and after World War II, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee aided hundreds of displaced persons in Europe. They established food and clothing distribution centers, hospitals, homes for children and aid to those emigrating to America. Spanning the years 1939-1967, this collection contains over 400,000 digital pages and photographs documenting the extraordinary achievements of this Committee.

     
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The Human Factor

 
  • More than 2,100 photographs collected at Harvard Business School during the 1930s. The photographs illustrate plants, equipment, techniques, processes and people at work in a wide variety of industries from automobile manufacturing to paper mills.

     
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Images of Colonialism - Africa and Asia

 
  • Constituting a visual record of early European contacts with Asia and Africa, Widener Library’s Images of Colonialism Collection is a primary visual resource for historical and socio-cultural studies. Made up largely of late-19th and early-20th century trade cards and illustrated European newspapers, this collection of more than 700 images offers insight into European perspectives on varying aspects of colonial experience by documenting how popular perceptions of Asia and Africa were created and disseminated.

     
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Immigration to the United States

 
  •  Selected historical materials from Harvard's library, archives and museums documents voluntary immigration to the US from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. The collection includes approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets, 6,000 photographs, 200 maps and 13,000 pages from manuscript and archival collections. By incorporating diaries, biographies and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants.

     
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Iranian Oral History Project

 
  • The Iranian Oral History Project (IOHP) is a unique resource for the study of modern Iranian history. The collection consists of the personal accounts of 134 individuals who played major roles in or were eyewitnesses to important political events in Iran from the 1920s to the 1980s. Of these, 118 narratives have been digitized and are available to researchers through this database. The collection provides scholars and practitioners the opportunity to listen to and read the personal accounts of many of Iran's former political leaders as they recall the times and events that shaped their lives and the life of their country.

     
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Islamic Heritage Project

 
  • The Islamic Heritage Project is a multi-disciplinary collection of high-quality digital reproductions on a wide range of subjects of more than 270 Islamic manuscripts, more than 300 published texts and 58 maps from Harvard's renowned library and museum collections.

     
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Judaica Division Image Collections

 
  • The Judaica Division Images Collections offer insight into virtually all facets of Jewish life in Israel. Among the collections are historical photographs that document the history of the Zionist movement and the development of the Jewish community in Israel over the past century; images documenting everyday Israeli life over the past 50 years, including contemporary Israel; photographs of Jewish life in the Galilee, especially kibbutzim; photographs documenting Israeli theatrical, dance and music performances; and posters and ephemera documenting Jewish life in the Diaspora and in Israel.

     
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Joseph Berry Keenan Collection

 
  • Manuscript materials and photographs that offer researchers invaluable insight into the Japanese War Crimes Trial – one of the most important trials of the 20th century. The Papers consist primarily of correspondence written during Keenan's work as Chief Counsel in the International Prosecution Section. The Visual Materials Collection spans the years of 1945-1947 and includes photographs of Keenan, military ceremonies and figures in Japan, Japanese people and scenery, and aerial views of the Japanese landscape following the atomic bomb drops of 1945.

     
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Latin American Pamphlet Digital Collection

 
  • More than 5,000 titles including many scarce and unique Latin American pamphlets published during the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Chile, Cuba, Bolivia and Mexico are the countries most heavily represented in this collection.

     
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Legal Portraits Online

 
  • More than 4,000 portrait images of lawyers, jurists, political figures, and legal thinkers dating from the Middle Ages to the late 20th- century drawn from the Harvard Law School's Legal Portrait Collection. These prints, drawings, and photographs depict legal figures prominent in the Common Law as well as those associated with the Canon and Civil Law traditions.

     
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Medieval Manuscripts

 
  • A significant resource for the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe, Houghton Library's distinguished collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts make up a valuable primary source for the study of the literature, art, history, music, philosophy and theology of the periods. Assembled through gifts and purchase over the past two centuries, the collection includes works in Latin, Greek and most of the vernacular languages of Europe. Digitized versions of many of the manuscripts are available, providing students and scholars with immediate and unmediated access to important texts and images.

     
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Mercator Globes at the Harvard Map Collection

 
  • The only matched pair of Mercator globes in America offer insight into the 16th century understanding of both the terrestrial and celestial worlds. Produced by Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), the terrestrial globe (1541) updates earlier Ptolemaic maps, representing America as a separate continent and including new discoveries in Europe, Africa, and southern Asia. The celestial (1551) globe relies on the Ptolemaic star system, but also reflects the theories of Copernicus published in 1543. After undergoing extensive conservation treatment both globes were digitally photographed, allowing scholars world-wide to examine them in extraordinary detail.

     
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Ming-Qing Women´s Writings

 
  • A valuable resource for scholars studying women's roles in China from the 14th- through the 20th-centuries, the Ming-Qing writings in this collection offer rich insight into women's roles in Chinese literature, history and culture, an area which has emerged in recent years as one of the most active and innovative fields in Chinese Studies. Completed in collaboration with McGill University, the digitization of these 91 titles from the Harvard-Yenching Library will ensure these texts are accessible to scholars world-wide.

     
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Hedda Morrison Photographs of China

 
  • More than 5,000 photographs from the Harvard-Yenching Library (Harvard College Library) taken by Hedda Hammer Morrison (1908-1991) during her residence in Beijing from 1933 to 1946. Her photographs document lifestyles, trades, handicrafts, landscapes, religious practices and architectual structures that in many cases have all but disappeared from modern China.

     
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Naxi Manuscripts

 
  • One of the last widely-used pictographic scripts in the world, the written language of the Dongba, an ethnic minority in southwest China, is today all but lost – only a very few Chinese scholars and remaining Naxi are able to read it. The digitization of Harvard-Yenching Library’s 600-plus Naxi manuscripts is being shared with scholars in China, who will add translations to the collection that will preserve the record of the customs, religious practices and daily life of the Naxi people.

     
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A New and Wonderful Invention: The 19th-Century American Trade Cards

 
  • More than 1,000 images of 19th-century advertising trade cards selected from the Historical Collections at Baker Library ( Harvard Business School). As one of the most popular forms of advertising in the 19th-century, and as indicators of consumer habits, social values and marketing techniques, trade cards are of interest to scholars of business history, American studies, graphic design and printing history and social and cultural history.

     
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New Testament and Archaeological Slides

 
  • New Testament and Archaeological Slides from Harvard Divinity School is a collection of over 8,000 digital images for teaching and research in New Testament studies, Greek and Roman mystery religions, and early Christian history. The images are from photographic slides taken or collected by Professor Helmut Koester and his students during more than 30 years of travel to archaeological sites and museums in the Mediterranean area.

     
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Nuremberg Trials Project -- Case 1 Medical Trial

 
  • Thousands of images of pages of Case 1 trial documents and analytical data for all trial documents from the Harvard Law School Library. The collection includes trial transcripts, briefs, document books, evidence files, and other papers related to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT).

     
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Pamphlets from the Harvard College Library

 
  • The Pamphlet Digitization Program of the Harvard College Library is a long-term effort to catalog and digitize Harvard's substantial pamphlet holdings to provide an enduring resource. As a fully cataloged and text-searchable collection, digitized pamphlets offer a unique opportunity for scholars to explore and trace historical events, political movements, economic developments, social changes, rhetoric and debate from a wide array of perspectives, including independent voices and those from established institutions and organizations.

     
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The Pickens Collection on Muslims in China

 
  • The Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China makes available online over 1000 photos of Muslims and Christian missionaries working among them in Western China in the 1920s and 1930s. These images form the core of the collection, which is supplemented by several hundred books, pamphlets, broadsides, etc., in several languages.

     
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The Poet's Voice - A Digital Poetry Collection

 
  • This collection features selected recordings of the works of poets in their own voice, and includes almost every important poet since the early 1930’s.  Readings in the digital collection are accessible to the Harvard community, and when copyright restrictions permit, they are also accessible to the general public.

     
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Reading

 
  • Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership and Reading History is an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. Reading provides access to a significant selection of unique source materials – more than 250,000 pages from 1,200 individual items, including 800 published books and 400 manuscript selections on reading as an acquired skill, as a social activity and as a valued and highly engaging individual act.

     
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Theodore Roosevelt Collection Photographs

 
  • Images in this collection document Roosevelt's career, family, homes, and memorials, including childhood, Harvard years, ranching in Dakota, the Spanish-American war, hunting trips and speech-making tours during the presidency (including a visit to the Panama Canal), his African safari and subsequent European tour of 1909-1910, the Progressive campaign of 1912, the Brazilian expedition of 1913-1914 and war-time speeches. There are formal portraits, newsreel stills, family and souvenir albums, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, panoramic views and lantern slides. Cataloging and imaging funded by the Ratus Lee Kelly Fund for Houghton Library.

     
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Russian Theatre Designs from the Harvard Theatre Collection

 
  • The entire collection of original Russian art work in the Harvard Theatre Collection, which comprises approximately 650 theatrical designs and portraits has been cataloged and digitized and is available in VIA. Most of these are associated with productions of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

     
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The Singer Continues the Song: Text and Music from the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature

 
  • Selected audio recordings and text files of oral literature made by Professor Milman Parry of the Department of the Classics at Harvard University from 1933 to 1935 in Yugoslavia,as well as epic texts collected by Professor Albert B. Lord in 1950 and 1951; and an exhibition of photographs. The Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature is the largest single repository of South Slavic heroic songs in the world.

     
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South Central China and Tibet: Hotspot of Diversity

 
  • Images and text of thousands of photographs and manuscripts from Harvard's historical and contemporary ethnographic and natural history collections related to South Central China and Tibet. The collections, brought together by the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library, include plant and bird specimens, as well as photographs of the region's landscape, architecture and people.

     
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Joseph Story Digital Suite

 
  • The Joseph Story Digital Suite combines all of the primary source materials produced by Joseph Story and held by Harvard Law School Library, as well as images of Story from sources across the University. Included is the three-volume Digest of Various Court Decisions, the Joseph Story Papers, 1796-1845, and the Story-Pitman Correspondence, 1817-1845. Users of the suite can search across all resources in one place, and refine search results using the site’s keyword facets.

     
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Studies in Scarlet

 
  • Studies in Scarlet: Marriage & Sexuality in the U.S. & U.K., 1815-1914 presents images of the texts of more than 450 trial narratives printed in the United States or the United Kingdom from 1815 until 1914, drawn from the Harvard Law School Library's trial collections. The narratives include trials for murder, rape, divorce, domestic violence, adultery, bigamy, breach of promise to marry and the custody of children

     
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Sunk in Lucre's Sordid Charms -- South Sea Bubble Resources in the Kress Collection at Baker Library

 
  • Digital images and full text from pamphlets, books, broadsides, prints, and ephemera focusing on the South Sea Bubble stock market crisis in the early part of the 18th-century. The resources are found in the Kress Collection and additional materials at Baker Library (Harvard Business School).

     
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Tehran Propaganda Murals

 
  • A part of daily life in contemporary Iran, propaganda murals appear throughout Tehran on both public and private buildings and contain powerful iconographic imagery.  This selection of over 130 propaganda murals photographed in the capital city during the summer of 2006 is among the first “born digital” special collections to come to the library and represents one of the first efforts to systematically document such public murals.

     
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Artemas Ward House and Its Collections

 
  • The General Artemas Ward House in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts was the home of General Artemas Ward, first commander-in-chief of the patriot forces. The house was given to Harvard University in 1925 and Harvard currently operates the house as a historic house museum. The Artemas Ward House and Its Collections provides online access to over 6,000 images of the house, furnishings, manuscripts, photographs and related published sources.

     
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Women Working

 
  • More than 500,000 pages of historical documentation focusing on the role of women in the United States economy from 1800-1930. The sources include books, pamphlets, manuscripts and images selected from Harvard's library and museum collections.

     
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Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

 
  • Explore the lives of women during the Qajar era (1796-1925) through a wide array of materials from private family holdings and participating institutions. Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran provides bilingual access to thousands of personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, publications, everyday objects, works of art and audio materials, making it a unique online resource for social and cultural histories of the Qajar world.

     
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