The most comprehensive East Asian collection of any American university. We hold Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Western materials.
- Rare and ancient books
- Digital photos and maps
- Local Chinese gazetteers
- Minority language materials
Harvard-Yenching Library welcomes all researchers regardless of academic affiliation to view our rare books, historical photographs, manuscripts, archival collections, and other treasured materials.
Special Collections can be viewed by appointment in Harvard-Yenching Library's Special Collections Reading Room (3rd floor). Appointments are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-12pm and from 2pm-4pm
- Researchers outside of Harvard who do not hold a Library Borrowing Card will need to register with the Harvard Library Access & Borrowing Office prior to accessing the library.
Request Materials to View
- Special collections items can be requested using the “Request to Scan or Visit” link in the HOLLIS record or through HOLLIS Special Request.
- Offsite materials may require two to four business days to process.
- Please note that HOLLIS Special Request doesn't send email confirmations. Feel free to contact us to confirm availability ahead of your visit.
- Be sure to schedule a Reading Room appointment per the instructions below.
- For more information, please view How to Use Harvard Library's Special Collections and Archives.
Schedule a Reading Room Appointment
- Please schedule an appointment to visit the HYL Special Collections Reading Room.
- Appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
- No walk-in or same-day appointments are available.
- Be sure to request your materials per the instructions above.
- The library may be able to accommodate small classes and sections in the Special Collections Reading Room for hands-on engagement with our materials.
- Instructors may make a request via the Special Collections and Archives Class Request Tool, or contact us directly.
As of 2018, the Harvard-Yenching Library's collections exceed 1.5 million volumes, including over 900,000 Chinese, 400,000 Japanese, over 200,000 Korean, 30,000 Vietnamese, 55,000 Western languages, 4,000 Tibetan, 3,500 Manchu, and 500 Mongolian. The library also holds rare and special collections, many of which have been digitized and are available to view on HOLLIS.