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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.


Celebrating Widener

Two lectures on April 16 marked the beginning of a series of celebratory events and exhibits about Widener and its mysteries, history, and marvels.




Edible Books: A Step Up From HUDS

Books submitted to the Library's Edible Book Competition included Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanana, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fireball, Game of Scones, and Alice in Wonderbread by Lewis Carrot, according to a post on the Crimson's FlyBy blog. 


Edible Book Competition

The Crimson covered the Library's 2015 Edible Book Competition, "a celebration of the scholarly and the scrumptious." 


A Close Glimpse of James Baldwin

A Close Glimpse of James Baldwin

Houghton Library recently acquired the 3,000th item in its “MS Am” collection of American manuscripts, literary papers, historical documents, and artifacts: the typescript of an unfinished play by Baldwin.


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.




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.


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.


"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.


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.


Ragged Claws: T.S. Eliot's Prufrock at 100


The publication in June 1915 of T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was a pivotal event in modern poetry. While many critics dismissed it at the time as unskilled and obscure, Prufrock is now acknowledged as the first masterpiece of modernism in English, as well as Eliot’s first important publication. In both its themes and technique, Prufrock broke sharply with the conventions of Romantic and Georgian poetry. The exhibition explores the genesis of the poem by way of various manuscript and typescript reproductions, as well as “exploding” the poem by providing materials illustrating Eliot’s evocative imagery, such as an authentic magic lantern. It includes multiple printings of Prufrock, from its debut in 1915 in Poetry magazine to its first independent appearance in book form in 1917, along with books from Eliot’s library that provided source material. The exhibition runs through June 27.


Unitarian Universalist Service Committee: 75 Years of Service


Andover-Harvard Theological Library is hosting an exhibit of historic documents and images chronicling 75 years of global human rights advocacy and humanitarian work by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. The display is drawn from the library's official archives of some 260 boxes of documents and images, starting with UUSC's heralded work rescuing European refugees during World War II. The exhibit, which spans three floors of the library, will be on display through July 31. 


University as Collector


Universities aggregate knowledge and specialists, but they also aggregate historical artifacts. Using Harvard's extensive collections as a starting point, this conference will assemble its own collection of specialists to explore the history and mission of universities through “university objects.” Each presenter will examine one exemplary holding at Harvard to consider the insights its presence offers into the world of knowledge. Speakers from a wide array of Harvard communities will also address larger questions about universities as unique collecting institutions.


Film: The Doll


Directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has. With Mariusz Dmochowski, Beata Tyszkiewicz, Tadeusz Fijewski. Poland, 1968. Part of the Harvard Film Archive series The Waking Dreams of Wojciech Jerzy Has.


LibGuides 2 Migration Drop-In Session


Are you unsure of how to best prepare your LibGuides for the migration to version 2? Have you looked at the checklist and still felt a bit overwhelmed? Then join us for one of our LibGuides 2 Migration Support Drop-In Sessions! Members of the LibGuides 2 Team will be on hand to answer your questions and to discuss best practices and strategies for migrating your guides. 


The Making of "Citizen": Claudia Rankine


Poet and scholar Claudia Rankine (author of the National Book Award finalist and NBCC-nominated collection Citizen: An American Lyric and Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric) will read from Citizen and narrate the process involved in selecting, "doctoring," and integrating the artworks throughout the work. A book-signing will follow.


Film: Club Sandwich


Directed by Fernando Eimbcke. With María Renée Prudencio, Lucio Giménez Cacho, Danae Reynaud. Mexico, 2013. With director Fernando Eimbcke in person.


Beauty, Truth, and the Book: Claudia Funke


Beautiful and “important” books were the traditional foundations of aspiring rare book libraries, influenced as those repositories often were by the taste of beneficent collectors of the 19th and 20th centuries. With recourse to particular examples, this lecture, by Claudia Funke, curator of rare books at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the recent past president of the Bibliographical Society of America, will survey the concepts of beauty and truth as they have intersected with rare books and their cultural realm in the modern era. The evening will conclude with a discussion of the value of beauty and truth in private and institutional collecting today. 


Technical Drawings and Their Reproductions, Part 1


Renowned conservator Lois Olcott Price will provide an overview of changes in the fabrication and role of American architectural drawings and reproduction techniques from the 18th to the mid-20th centuries. The lectures are designed for archivists, scholars, librarians, curators, catalogers, conservators and preservation staff to learn about how these technical drawings were created and duplicated, as well as how to identify and preserve them. Part 1 of a two-part lecture.


Film: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul


Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. With Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin. Germany, 1976. Part of the Harvard Film Archive series Furious Cinema '70-'77.


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.