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

Exploring the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard's libraries
Bibliothèques & Ex-Libris d'Amateurs Belges aux XVIIe, XVIIIe et XIXe Siècles, Benjamin Linnig, 1906. View Details
Widener Library

This digital collection explores the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard's libraries.

Materials in the collection include: 

  • personally annotated books owned by John Keats, Herman Melville, Hester Lynch Piozzi, and others
  • William Wordsworth's private library catalog
  • commonplace books used by Joseph Conrad, Washington Irving, Victor Hugo, and more
  • records of the Harvard College Library that reveal the reading activities of Emerson, Longfellow, and Thoreau
  • historical textbooks that document the principles, and some of the biases, in reading instruction from the 18th to the early 20th centuries
  • more than 250,000 pages from 1,200 individual items from the Harvard collections, including 800 books and 400 manuscript selections

Accessing These Materials

Items in this collection are cataloged in HOLLIS. To find items, search by the series title: "Open Collections Program at Harvard University. Reading"

The original website for this collection is available through the Internet Archive.

Contact

Rebecca Y. Martin