Go to m.harvard.edu for the Harvard Mobile web app.

 
My Account
 
Site Search
 
 
Online Exhibitions

Online access to archives and special collections at Harvard is enhanced by web-accessible exhibitions created by librarians, curators and archivists. Some of the many online exhibitions are listed below. For more, please see the individual repository websites.

 
 

Battle-Scarred: Caring for the Sick and Wounded of the Civil War

 
  • "Battle-Scarred" examines the Civil War from a particular perspective, drawing on the rich library and museum resources of the Countway's Center for the History of Medicine, to commemorate those who died in battle and also document the experiences of the wounded and the ill and the men and women who cared for them on the battlefield, in hospitals and prison camps, and on the home front.

     
    ­
 

A Broad Foundation

 
  • In 1883, Harvard Medical School moved into new quarters on Boylston Street in downtown Boston, and for the first time in a century, the school was able to provide adequate laboratory and clinical space for its students. A promotional brochure from that period describes the rationale behind the new building as “to secure for each student that direct personal supervision and instruction, forming such a marked feature of the courses offered, especially in the thorough laboratory training, which is so essential in securing a broad foundation for future clinical work.” “A Broad Foundation” traces the evolving history of medical education at Harvard—its faculty, students, curricula, and facilities—from the establishment of the school and its earliest days down to its current flourishing state.

     
    ­
 

Bubbles, Panics & Crashes

 
  • Financial crises have happened before, and—if history is any guide—they will happen again. In the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis, this Baker Library Historical Collections exhibit documents four major crises that occurred in an earlier, particularly volatile century of economic history. These four crises were so far-reaching that they affected virtually everyone involved in the US market economy. Yet each was so complex that their causes and consequences remain subjects of debate generations later.

     
    ­
 

Building the Foundation: Business Education for Women at Harvard University, 1937-1970

 
  • Traces the early history of business education for women at Harvard, from the founding of the one-year certificate program at Radcliffe College in 1937 to the Harvard Business School faculty vote to admit women into the two-year MBA program and finally to the complete integration of women into the HBS campus life by 1970. A selection of photographs, interviews, reports, and correspondence documents how program directors, administrators, and faculty shaped business education for women at the University, preparing students to take their places in the business world. 

     
    ­
 

Buy Now, Pay Later: A History of Personal Credit

 
  • Credit is a new development in economic history, right? Wrong. As this exhibit shows, while the institutions and instruments of 21st century credit are less than a century old, credit is as old as commerce. The exhibit draws on materials in Baker Library’s Historical Collections to show how previous generations devised creative ways of lending and borrowing long before credit cards.

     
    ­
 

Charles Lowell's Hip: An Early Case of (Alleged) Medical Malpractice

 
  • Charles Lowell infamously suffered a well-publicized and controversial hip dislocation. A young man at the time of the incident in 1821, he charged his physicians with malpractice and negligence, arguably helping to start a wave of medical lawsuits. The case was filled with speculation and accusation, but never arrived at a satisfactory conclusion. Years after the court was adjourned, however, Lowell stood to testify as the final witness when, upon his death, his pelvis was prepared and donated. Never pleased with the judicial resolution to drop the case, he advocated for a post-mortem examination in the hopes that the bone could expose all unanswered questions, and prove once and for all that he had been wronged.

     
    ­
 

A Chronicle of the China Trade

 
  • The Heard papers, one of the largest collections of business records relating to the 19th-century China trade and now held by the Harvard Business School, present a look into momentous events of Sino-Western relations and the day-to-day activities of American traders in the treaty ports.

     
    ­
 

Complementary Therapies: Masterworks of Chinese and Botanical Medicine

 
  • Botanical medicine, which uses herbs and natural remedies, and traditional Chinese medicine, which combines botany with practices like acupuncture and moxibustion, are two of branches of alternative medicine—"complementary therapies"—that are believed to work alongside conventional treatment. This exhibit brings to light some of the treasures of the collections of the Center for the History of Medicine.

     
    ­
 

Conceiving the Pill

 
 

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.

     
    ­
 

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.

     
    ­
 

Expeditions & Discoveries

 
  • In the 19th and 20th centuries, Harvard 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.

     
    ­
 

The Fifteeners

 
  • Incunabula or incunables are the very first examples of books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed with moveable type in Western Europe. Incunabula are also sometimes referred to as "fifteeners" from their appearance in the 15th century. With over 800 items, the Countway Library of Medicine holds the largest collection of medical incunabula in this country and one of the finest collections of this type in the world. All of the books and woodcuts in this exhibit have been drawn from the collections of the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library and have one common element—each is at least 500 years old. "The Fifteeners" highlights some of the extraordinary treasures in the Countway's incunabula collection and allows the public a glimpse of these rarest of printed medical works.

     
    ­
 

Galton's Children: The Rise and Fall of the Eugenics Movement

 
  • Is it possible to improve the human race through scientific means, or, more specifically, can we breed a better human? "Galton’s Children," a Center for the History of Medicine exhibit, examines the social phenomenon of eugenics from its origins and period of greatest influence in the early 20th century, to discredit in the 1930s and its associations with the racial hygiene policies of Nazi Germany, and the persistence of eugenic ideas today.

     
    ­
 

Gilt by Association

 
  • This exhibit commemorates the drama and richness of medical history and allows the public a glimpse of extraordinary treasures associated with some of the most renowned figures and events in medicine. From Presidents in the White House to the Czars of Russia in the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg, "Gilt by Association" celebrates 800 years of milestones in the history of medicine through the rich and varied collections at the Countway Library of Medicine. 

     
    ­
 

Grand Delusion?

 
  • To support and develop homeopathy in the face of opposition from its detractors, the adherents of the movement created an entire medical establishment—books, journals, schools, hospitals, asylums, sanitariums, dispensaries, professional societies, national and international organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, publishing firms, and even life insurance companies—in parallel with that of regular practitioners. This Center for the History of Medicine exhibit traces the developments of the history of homeopathy in Boston and Massachusetts and the contributions and experiences of its practitioners.

     
    ­
 

Grete L. Bibring: The Modern Woman

 
  • Born in Vienna just before the 20th century, Grete L. Bibring would earn the honor of being the first female full clinical professor at Harvard Medical School in 1961. As a part of the “second generation” of Freudian scholars, she was highly influential in integrating psychiatric principles into general patient care. Her passion permeated her other roles working with students, residents, physicians, social workers, and nurses across the globe. Dr. Bibring’s work continued well after retirement with a thought-provoking seminar at Radcliffe, publication of multiple articles, and her dedication to patient care. This exhibit celebrates her life and her influence on the generations of medical, psychiatric, and social services professions.

     
    ­
 

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 have been digitized and are available online.

     
    ­
 

The High Art of Photographic Advertising

 
  • In 1934, a stunning exhibition sponsored by the National Alliance of Art and Industry (NAAI) and the Photographic Illustrators, Inc. opened in the gallery of New York City's 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The show featured works by the top photographers of the day, with a particular focus on advertising and industrial images. In 1935, approximately 125 prints from the NAAI exhibition came to Harvard Business School, which was actively collecting photographs for exhibition and classroom use. "The High Art of Photographic Advertising" revisits the 1934 exhibition—a collection that 75 years later survives as a telling chapter in evolving perceptions about photography's artistic, commercial, and cultural significance. 

     
    ­
 

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.

     
    ­
 

The Human Relations Movement

 
  • In the 1920s Harvard Business School professors led a landmark study of worker behavior at Western Electric's Hawthorne Works plant. The experiments represented a milestone in the dawn of the human relations movement.

     
    ­
 

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

 
  • Selected historical materials from Harvard's library, archives and museums document 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.

     
    ­
 

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.

     
    ­
 

Latin American Business History

 
  • The oral history program is a key resource for research on Latin American business history. Beginning in December 2007, the portion of the Harvard Business School business history team that specializes in South America has interviewed 21 leading business practitioners from Argentina and Chile. The interviews are a valuable resource for research on the business history of Argentina and Chile since the 1960s.

     
    ­
 

Leading by Teaching: Elizabeth D. Hay and Lynne M. Reid

 
  • Highlighting the importance of networks, mentors, and communities of support, this exhibit includes selections that reflect Elizabeth D. Hay and Lynne M. Reid’s roles as teachers, mentors, and champions for women in medicine. The Hay and Reid collections contain a rich range of materials, including correspondence, lectures, research records, teaching materials, writings, and photographs, that document the experiences and contributions of these two influential pioneers. By making these collections available for discovery, access, and interpretation, the Archives for Women in Medicine is connecting scholars with unique evidence of the achievements and struggles overcome by this cohort of women—evidence that is essential to our understanding of the evolution of medicine.

     
    ­
 

The Lost Museum of Harvard's Dental School

 
  • Nearly as old as the Dental School itself, Harvard's Dental Museum was originally intended to display specimens of mechanical dentistry prepared by graduating students. It soon became a repository for specimens of human and comparative odontology, pathology, and anatomy, instruments, models, photographs, and lantern and stereoscopic slides. The Museum also housed some unusual historical items. The published Announcement of the Dental School for 1937 has a brief but detailed description of the Dental Museum, and information about the collection had been included in the annual catalogs for the past 60 years. In the following year's edition of the Announcement, however, no entry for the Museum is included, and one never appears again. Just what happened to Harvard's Dental Museum, and where are its collections now?

     
    ­
 

Magical Stones and Imperial Bones

 
  • Touching on aspects of medicine’s history and impact on public health, from ancient medications to smallpox vaccinations and the development of modern antibiotics, from medical education to Arctic exploration, this selection of books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and artifacts from the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library represents just a fraction of the holdings in the Rare Books and Special Collections department. Ranging from the 13th century to the 20th, from the Winter Palace of the Czars of Russia to the assassination of President Garfield, this exhibit celebrates six centuries of significant developments in the history of medicine as documented through the rich and varied collections at the Countway Library.

     
    ­
 

Mary Ellen Avery: Highlights from Her Collection

 
  • The Mary Ellen Avery Papers are one of the founding collections of the Archives for Women in Medicine. This exhibit shares just a small selection of letters, photographs, diaries, and other items which help to document Avery’s pioneering career and contributions to pediatrics. Avery is known for her 1959 discovery of the cause of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in premature infants: the lack of lung surfactant, a foamy fluid which creates surface tension and allows the lungs to inflate. This discovery led to the development of a treatment for RDS in newborns. Over the years Avery built a rich collection of papers and records that document not only her significant achievements, but also the warmth, humor, and courage that made her an inspiration and a role model to many.

     
    ­
 

Maxwell Finland: A Centennial Celebration

 
  • Maxwell Finland's career in infectious diseases spanned more than 50 years. His association with the Boston City Hospital began in 1926 and culminated in his appointment as Director of the Harvard Medical Services and the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory. He was author or co-author of more than 800 scientific papers, including pioneering studies of the pneumococcus and diagnosis and management of pneumonias, clinical pharmacology of antimicrobial agents and hospital epidemiology. This exhibit, which includes pictures of Finland as well as reminiscences from friends and colleagues, tells the story of this teacher, role model, mentor, friend, and father figure, and traces his legacy through to the present.

     
    ­
 

A Moment's Insight

 
  • An online exhibit partnering artifacts and osteological preparations from Harvard Medical School's Warren Anatomical Museum with the modern and historical photographic techniques of the student artists of the Art Institute of Boston. The exhibit was derived from a November 2011 photography workshop and a May-June 2012 physical display of the artifacts and photographs at the Warren Museum.

     
    ­
 

Naval Medicine and the War of 1812

 
  • Osteological preparations in this Warren Anatomical Museum exhibit represent wounds received in naval combat during the War of 1812, including the battles between the Constitution and Guerriere, Constitution and Java, and the Enterprise and the Boxer.

     
    ­
 

New Directions: Building Baker Library's Collections

 
  • Unique among business school libraries, Baker Library possesses extraordinarily comprehensive and diverse historical collections consisting of letters, memos, reports, books, images and more. When pieced together, these individual documents act as evidence to describe and interpret history as well as to challenge commonly held assumptions. Current collecting initiatives are closely tied to trends in contemporary scholarship, and existing research collections are continually developed with a consistent focus on the evolution of business and industry within five major collecting themes: Contemporary Leaders, Global Markets, Intellectual Capital, Invention and Innovation, and Visual Evidence. Additional areas of collecting interest include documenting women in business and the significance of family business. 

     
    ­
 

Railroads and the Transformation of Capitalism

 
  • In the mid-to-late-19th-century United States, more than 240,000 miles of railroad track was laid, connecting vast regions of the country, transporting raw materials, goods, and people, and making possible an unparalleled level of commerce. The railroad system, unprecedented in its size and complexity, became one of the models on which modern capitalism would be based. The exhibit draws from Baker Library Historical Collections' extensive railroad materials to explore the continuing research in the history and role of railroads in creating not only the foundations of modern business, but also a system of modern capitalism that survives to this day.

     
    ­
 

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History

 
  • An online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of Harvard's 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.

     
    ­
 

Refocusing Family Planning: Selections from the Abraham Stone and Alan Guttmacher Papers

 
  • Abraham Stone and Alan Guttmacher were instrumental in the development and growth of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Both were responsible for shifting the focus of the organization to include fertility services, marriage counseling, and the prevention of global overpopulation by collaboration with international colleagues while continuing to provide birth control and family planning education in the United States. This Center for the History of Medicine exhibition chronicles Stone and Guttmacher's work in their roles as Director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau and as the President of Planned Parenthood—World Population, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, respectively.

     
    ­
 

Ruhleben Internment Camp: A British Community in Wartime Germany

 
  • Ruhleben was a horse racetrack located on the outskirts of Berlin that the German military converted into an internment camp during WWI. Over the course of the war it served as a temporary home to more than 5,500 civilians, the vast majority of whom were British. Conditions were poor—overcrowding was a constant problem and internees were faced with poor food and unsanitary conditions. However, despite this difficult environment, the internees were able to create in the word of a former detainee, “...a bit of England—a small British colony as it were, planted in the heart of the enemy’s country.” Through manuscripts, newsletters, artwork, and photographs, these holdings from the Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections illustrate the creative and social output of the Ruhleben prisoners.

     
    ­
 

The Scalpel and the Pen

 
  • Physician, lecturer, novelist, inventor, historian, anatomist, humorist—and poet, professor, and autocrat of the breakfast-table—Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) has been called “the most successful combination which the world has ever seen of the physician and man of letters.” This Center for the History of Medicine exhibit takes its name from that idea and explores all the different sides of the personal and professional career, in both literature and medicine, of this true Boston original.

     
    ­
 

The Stethoscope Sorority: Stories from the Archives for Women in Medicine

 
  • The Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM) at the Countway Library was created in 2000 to capture and preserve the untold history of the many women who have helped change the face of medicine in the United States. This exhibition highlights materials from the AWM that illustrate women’s experiences as mentors, pioneering researchers, healers, and strong voices speaking out for their beliefs. Using their own words, the exhibition presents stories from some of the women of the AWM and the people who have helped contribute to their successes.

     
    ­
 

Talking Heads

 
  • Why do we act the way we do? What determines the patterns of our behavior and personality? These are questions to which every generation seeks answers. During the 19th century, phrenology—the study of human cranial structures and their application to personality, character, and behavior—provided a popular explanation. At its peak, phrenology excited intense interest among both scientists and the public in Boston and throughout the world. This Center for the History of Medicine exhibit explores the basis for phrenological study, some of the major figures associated with it, and Boston's own unique place in the history of this peculiar and popular movement.

     
    ­
 

To Slay the Devouring Monster

 
  • Smallpox—it is an ancient, terrifying, and deadly disease which has afflicted humanity for at least 2,000 years. But today, smallpox is the only naturally occurring disease which is considered to be eradicated. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, 200 years ago, Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse studied the researches of English physician Edward Jenner and followed with his own experiments, fostering an aggressive campaign to inoculate Americans against smallpox—the disease he called the "devouring monster." In the bicentennial year of Waterhouse's vaccination experiments, the Countway Library of Medicine drew on its extraordinary collection of rare books, pamphlets, broadsides, manuscripts, letters, and artifacts—many gifts from members of the Waterhouse family—to commemorate the first efforts to slay that devouring monster.

     
    ­
 

Women, Enterprise & Society

 
  • The Women, Enterprise & Society web guide identifies materials in Harvard Business School's Business Manuscripts Collection that document women's participation in American business and culture from the 18th through the 20th century.

     
    ­
 

Women Working, 1800-1930

 
  • 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.

     
    ­