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News and Events

The Library shares news on its world-class collections, talented staff and informative events.
Find more events by visiting the Harvard Library calendar.


Consuming the Written Word

Digital technologies have changed the way we approach and interact with the written word. In this Harvard Library Strategic Conversation, Professors Darnton, Chartier and Stauffer will reflect on reading via the perspective of consumption.




Our View from the Cosmic Shore: Early Modern Interpretations of Celestial Events

When Milton was writing Paradise Lost in the 17th century, a comet grazed through the sky, inspiring the English poet to describe how Satan “stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn’d.” The simile for the awful and awe-inspiring wrath of evil is just one of many celestial events evoked in literature. In Harvard University’s Houghton Library, the interpretation of the cosmos in science and art history is explored through the library’s astronomy collection.


Kyle Courtney: Copyright Champion

Kyle Courtney, copyright advisor and program manager at the Office for Scholarly Communication, was named one of Library Journal's 2015 Movers & Shakers, "professionals who “see the future and bring it to life … [and] are committed to the mission of the library as an engine of democracy.”


For ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Milestone, a Stampede Down the Rabbit Hole

A New York Times article on the 150th anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In May, Houghton Library will open an exhibition featuring unique, colorful and curious Carrolliana from the early 1860s to the present, including original drawings by illustrator John Tenniel.


"Cold Storage" in Fine Books & Collections

A favorable write-up of metaLAB's film about the Harvard Depository, Cold Storage.


Paul Worster, Multimodal Learning Librarian

In her “Not Dead Yet” Library Journal column, Widener research librarian Cheryl LaGuardia interviews Paul Worster, multimodal learning librarian, about his new position and what it entails.


Think You "Own" What You "Buy" on the Internet? Think Again

Kyle Courtney, program manager and copyright advisor in the Office for Scholarly Communication, examines the changing meaning of “ownership” when it comes to digital consumer content in a Politico piece.


A New Audience for "A Night of Storytelling"

Historians thought that the first Irish language “talkie” had been lost to a fire in 1943. But on February 19, at the symposium “Folklore and Flaherty” hosted by the Harvard Film Archive, an audience in America had the chance to see that film for the first time, on a print recently discovered and restored by the Harvard Library. 


The Talented Georges Doriot

A Baker Library exhibit portrays the rich career of the father of venture capital, legendary HBS professor, and military innovator.


Unmasking Minstrelsy

An exhibition at the Loeb Music Library unearths fresh insights by shining light on a song style with deeply racist roots.


A Glimpse Inside the Depository

Gizmodo takes a look at the Harvard Depository and Jeffrey Schnapp and Cristoforo Magliozzi's new documentary, Cold Storage.


Tome Raider

With Dan Hazen at its head, Harvard's collection development team seeks literature in unlikely places.


The Personal Civil War

A Schlesinger Library exhibit explores the conflict’s intimate, individual narratives.


The “Wild West” of Academic Publishing

A Harvard Magazine look at the troubled present and promising future of scholarly communication.


Crowdsourcing Old Journals

A project at the Ernst Mayr Library of the MCZ is using web participation and video games to digitize documents.


Poets' Voices Resurrected

A WBUR story on the restoration of endangered audio recordings at the Woodberry Poetry Room. 


Encounters with Tennessee Williams

A collection of manuscripts and ephemera at Houghton Library document the life of Tennessee Williams.


Angela Lansbury Visits the Film Archive

Film actress and theater icon Angela Lansbury introduced a screening of her 1962 film All Fall Down at the HFA. 




Georges F. Doriot: Educating Leaders, Building Companies


This Baker Library Historical Collections exhibit examines the career of Harvard Business School professor Georges F. Doriot (1899–1987), a legendary educator, a founder of the modern venture capital industry and a US Army general during World War II. It features selections from the Georges F. Doriot Collection—on permanent loan to Baker Library from the French Library and Cultural Center in Boston—that reveal the ideas and ideals of a man who played an important role in the emergence of the postwar entrepreneurial economy. The exhibit runs through August 3, 2015.


Starry Messengers: Signs and Science from the Skies


Throughout the ages, we have looked to the night sky in a search for meaning. Comets, meteors, eclipses and other celestial events have been used by scientists to better understand the physical universe, by sages to predict the future, and by writers seeking inspiration. Starry Messengers brings together books and manuscripts from Houghton's collections that demonstrate how these events were understood in the early modern world. The exhibition runs through May 2.


"Where Mis'ry Moans": Four Prison Reformers in 18th- and 19th-Century England


By the dawn of the 18th century, prisons, or gaols (jails), had been part of England’s criminal justice system for hundreds of years. Oversight and inspection were lax, and conditions often dark, filthy and harsh. This exhibit focuses on four English prison reformers of the 18th and 19th centuries: John Howard, George Onesiphorus Paul, Elizabeth Fry and John T. Burt. The exhibit runs through April 24.


"We Carry With Us Precious Memorials": Harvard Class Photograph Albums 1852-1865


“No friendships of after-life begin to equal in ardor and intensity those of college days,” Charles Carroll Tower, Harvard Class of 1855, mused. “[T]hanks to the aid of photography we are enabled, as we take leave of each other today, to carry with us precious memorials of college associations.” With the introduction of photography in the mid-19th century, Harvard graduates could remember their college years with a new fidelity. The earliest class pictures were daguerreotypes, unique images on a silver plate. From 1853 to 1864, class photographs took the form of salted paper prints, the first negative-to-positive technique. Year by year, photographers perfected the science and artistry of this pioneering process. Seniors assembled the collection of images into custom-made albums, which began as simple notebooks and by the 1860s had transformed into handsome, gilt-edged tomes. The poignant reminiscences and elaborate embellishments through the years reflect the evocative ways in which graduates commemorated this formative period of their lives for themselves and for posterity—at the moment when Harvard itself was transitioning from a provincial college into a major university. The exhibition runs through May 29.


Beacons of the Water World: The Evolution of the Sea Chart


For much of human history, the most efficient and least cumbersome way to cover long distances and transport goods was on water. Yet navigation—whether by canoe, galley, caravel, ketch, or schooner—was never without its hazards. Survival often depended upon detailed information gathered orally from seasoned mariners or from written instructions compiled from numerous logs of voyages into unfamiliar seas. By the late 16th century, the expansion of trade within Europe and the increasing pace of exploration abroad created an urgent need for reliable accounts and accurate surveys of new navigational routes. This exhibit investigates the evolution of sea charts—from pilot books with a focus on European waters to multi-volume atlases ranging the great seas of the world. It surveys the major chartmakers of northern Europe, with attention to the development of a common symbolic language for depicting navigational hazards and aids. The exhibition runs through June 10.


The Treasure Room


One hundred years ago, visitors to the newly dedicated Memorial Rooms in Widener Library would have first passed by the Treasure Room in the marble entrance lobby. The Treasure Room housed Harvard’s most valued collections, mounted frequent exhibitions, and supported the research of faculty and scholars. This exhibition provides a brief history of a long-forgotten library space, the nucleus of what would later become Houghton Library. Photographs, documents, letters, and other objects, such as the only book believed to have survived from John Harvard’s library, are on view, drawn from the collections of the Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library. The exhibition runs through March 31.


Occupied Cuba, 1898-1902: Photographs from the Theodore Roosevelt Collection


The years between the end of the Cuban War of Independence in 1898, facilitated by United States involvement as part of the Spanish-American War, and the proclamation of the Cuban Republic in 1902 were a time of much change and transition in Cuba. After the last of the Spanish troops left Cuba in 1898, the United States took over the governance of Cuba. Occupied Cuba brings together some documentary photographs of this time gathered from Harvard’s Theodore Roosevelt Collection. The exhibition runs through December 31. 


Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in Popular Culture


The Harvard Music Department's student-curated library exhibit, which came out of Professor Carol J. Oja's fall-term course on blackface minstrelsy, includes images, sheet music, songsters and other minstrel-show artifacts from the Harvard Theatre Collection, which houses one of the most important collections of 19th-century minstrelsy materials in the world. The exhibition is supported by grants from the Elson Family Arts Initiative Fund and the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities. It runs through May 8.


Tour of Widener Library


Tours of Widener Library are offered every Thursday for all currently affiliated Harvard faculty, staff, students and visiting scholars. Conducted by research and reference librarians, the tour includes an introduction to Widener's collections, orientation to the facilities, including the reading rooms and the stacks and an explanation of services available to researchers. All tours begin just beyond the Security Desk at the main (Yard) entrance of the building.


Explore Scopus


Please join us to explore Scopus, a prominent abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature that includes scientific journals, books and conference proceedings, plus social science and arts and humanities content.


Tour of Houghton Library


Public tours of Houghton Library are offered every Friday at 2 pm. Attendees receive a general introduction to the library, followed by a tour of the Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell and John Keats rooms, as well as the suite devoted to the Donald & Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson. Those wishing to take the tour should meet in the Houghton Library lobby. Reservations are not required.


Film: Manakamana


Directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez. Nepal/US, 2013. Manakamana grew out of the many years Stephanie Spray has spent living and filming in Nepal, and her collaboration with Pacho Velez, some of whose previous documentary work screened at the HFA in 2011. After meeting at Harvard’s Film Study Center, the two set off for Nepal with the same 16mm camera Robert Gardner used to shoot Forest of Bliss. Manakamana is a brilliant mash-up of early cinema, ethnographic film and Warhol’s screen tests. With the directors in person.


Films of Place by Ute Aurand


German experimental filmmaker Ute Aurand returns to the Harvard Film Archive with three films inspired by her immersive travels to distant lands—India, Japan and the United States.


PubMed: Learn to Search Like an Expert

PubMed: Saving Time with Tools and Technology

Frustrated searching PubMed? Get more control over your results with MeSH, subheadings, limits and field searching. Learn how to refine your search to get the most precision, or how to do a broad but comprehensive search to find as much as possible on your topic. 


Edible Book Festival


Will you create the next “Health of Nations by Adam Smoothie” or “Alice in Wonderbread by Lewis Carrot”? Flex your creative muscles and make book art with food at the 2015 Edible Book Contest. Harvard students, faculty, and staff, both as teams and as individuals, are welcome to enter the contest. We welcome your punny, poignant, and precious contributions. You provide the ideas and ingredients, and we’ll supply the workspace and light refreshments. 


E-Mail Management


This workshop will introduce University staff to the methods for gaining control of e-mail and managing it according to Harvard records policies. The workshop will also provide tips on how to organize your e-mail.


Film Screening: Dark Victory


1939, directed by Edmund Goulding, starring Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Ronald Reagan. When 23-year-old socialite Judith Traherne suffers from severe headaches and double vision, a famous medical specialist discovers that she has a lethal brain tumor. A classic of the “women’s film” genre, Dark Victory grapples with issues of love, life, death—and a woman’s right to make her own medical choices. Part of the Schlesinger Library Movie Night series "Women's Bodies."