Houghton Library opened its doors in 1942. Throughout 2017, we are celebrating the library’s world-class collections, and support of research and teaching over the last 75 years. Join in the celebrations by participating in our year-long program of events that promises visitors a unique glimpse of some of Houghton’s most treasured holdings:

  • Three exhibitions showcasing highlights from Houghton's collection selected by Harvard faculty, and the library’s curators, archivists and librarians
  • Film series screening movies inspired by or connected to Houghton’s literary archives
  • Houghton Library at 75, a new guide to the collections
  • Houghton Library: Who Cares? A 75th Anniversary Symposium exploring why and how curators, conservators, artists and researchers care for special collections
  • Weekly tours, and special events

For updates, check back here, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Current Exhibition

Happening @ Houghton

Special Events


  • Dame Shirley Bassey (b. 1937), photographed by Angus McBean. One of Britain’s most popular vocalists of the 20th century, Bassey was the first Welsh singer with a #1 single (“As I Love You,” 1959). Silver gelatin print. Angus McBean photographs, 1936-1970.  MS Thr 581. (c) Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
#blackhistorymonth #sorrytomjones
  • After her arrest in 1970, Angela Davis received support from a variety of sources, as evidenced by these pamphlets from Houghton's Black Panther Party ephemera collection (AC95.B5665.969c). Make sure to visit for an exhibit drawn from Davis's papers. #BlackHistoryMonth
  • The Lincoln Primer (1864) was one of a series of American Tract Society textbooks intended to help newly emancipated people learn to read, a chance for them to acquire a skill frequently forbidden in states with legalized slavery. #BlackHistoryMonth
  • Amiri Baraka distributed works like this staple-bound edition of his poetry as part of the Black Arts Movement. BAM called on Black artists to create for Black audiences, focusing on self-determination, pride, and consciousness raising. AC95.B2313.966b
  • Although the library will be closed over winter break (Dec 24–Jan 1), construction work is continuing apace!⁣
Photo on left by Stu Rosner. #houghtonreno #houghtonlibrary
  • We’re counting the days to the release of @GerwigGreta ‘s #LittleWomen. Read about Houghton’s Alcott papers in the @ELLEmagazine article by @andevers. See links in our bio.
  • A (belated) happy birthday to Emily Dickinson, born December 10, 1830!  At #houghtonlib we celebrated with the infamous black cake, taken from ED’s own recipe.
  • A little #snow won’t stop the #HoughtonReno!  Thanks to our friend, photographer Stu Rosner, for letting us share this. #houghtonlibrary #houghtonrenovation #cambridgema #harvarduniversity #winter
  • The Houghton Library Visiting Fellowships 2020-2021 are now open for applications!

The Visiting Fellowship program funds projects that require in-depth research on the library’s holdings.

For more info and to apply, see the link in our bio!

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RSS Houghton Library Blog

  • An Instrumental Patron
    By Dale Stinchcomb, Assistant Curator of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library Even for a dance company as innovative as the Ballets Russes, the staging of “Les Noces” (“The Wedding”) in 1923 was a radical leap forward. Bronislava Nijinska’s raw evocation of a peasant wedding has been called feminist in its portrayal of a bride […]
  • “The love of a ghost for a ghost”: T.S. Eliot on his letters to Emily Hale
    By Leslie A. Morris, Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library On November 25, 1960, four years after Emily Hale told him she was giving his letters to her to Princeton, T.S. Eliot wrote a letter to his Executors with an accompanying document. Revised on September 30, 1963, the document was sealed […]
  • A Missionary Recipe to Celebrate Christmas
    By Rana Issa, Department of English, American University of Beirut, and 2017–2018 Houghton Visiting Fellow I love the archive. Mostly, I love all the wonderful scraps of paper that do not have any direct bearing on the stories I like to tell. Scraps that encapsulate their own story and that may not fit into seamless […]
© 2017 The President and Fellows of Harvard College