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


  • This year, Houghton marks the centennial anniversary of the 20th Century’s most influential design movement—the Bauhaus. Don’t miss selections from the papers of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, or from the archives of Bauhaus luminaries Lyonel Feininger and Andor Weininger. Curated by @cejacobson and Leslie Morris. On view now through April 6. #bauhaus100 #harvardlibrary
  • Now open! 'Tactile Books: Making Sense of the Ways We Read,' an exhibition showcasing early alternatives to Braille as forms of tactile reading. Photograph of Laura Bridgman reading courtesy of @perkinsvision.

Mounted in conjunction with 'Touch This Page! Making Sense of the Ways We Read' on display @harvard, @northeastern, and the Perkins School for the Blind.

#tactilebooks #perkinsschoolfortheblind #harvardlibrary
  • 'Victorian Visionary: John Ruskin and the Realization of the Ideal' is now open! To mark the bicentenary of his birth, this exhibition explores Ruskin’s vision of a better world through original artwork, autograph letters, association copies, and illustrated books, in addition to other primary resources recently donated by R. Dyke Benjamin, Harvard Class of 1959.

Image: Study of Rocks and Lichens in the Glen below the Montets in the Ascent to Chamonix, 1849 (HEW 6.12.1)

#victorianvisionary #johnruskin #watercolor #houghtonlibrary
  • #Repost @harvardtheatre
On Wednesday, November 28 at 530pm Houghton Library will be hosting a panel on issues relating to cross-cultural and non-traditional casting in theater and film. Join Wesley Morris (New York Times), Ju Yon Kim (Harvard) and Brian Herrera (Princeton) for a conversation presented by @harvard_arts and Houghton Library, inspired by the exhibition 'Treading the Borders: Immigration and the American Stage.' RSVP required via link in our profile.

Image: Anna May Wong from the cover for a 1935 piece of Danish sheet music, MS Thr 1598.

#houghtonlibrary #officeforthearts #annamaywong #crosscasting #harvardtheatrecollection
  • #Repost @harvardtheatre
“Behold the swelling scene!” Next Tuesday, December 4, @hyperionshakespeare takes over @houghtonlib for an evening of scenes from TWELFTH NIGHT, OTHELLO, HENRY IV Part 1, HENRY V, and SIR THOMAS MORE—staged throughout the library’s galleries. One night only! Admission is free; tickets are not required.⁣
RSVP at⁣
Image: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1959. Photo by Angus McBean (MS Thr 581). © Houghton Library, Harvard University⁣
@harvard_arts #bardintheyard #hyperionshakespearecompany #harvard #shakespeare #harvardtheatrecollection #houghtonlibrary #harvardlibrary⁣
  • We’re all getting ready, in our own way, for @frankenreads at Houghton Library. Come today, Oct 31st, 9am-4pm to hear a collaborative reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the Edison and Newman Room. Holiday treats for all! It’s just the right amount of scary. Stop by anytime. #frankenstein200 #harvardlibrary #frankenreads #frankenweek #maryshelley #reading #halloween
  • #Repost @r.edmonde
Even Maria Montessori gets into the legacy of Shelley’s Frankenstein, courtesy of teenage Italians writing on money in the 1990’s before the Lira was discontinued. My creator took many graffitied banknotes out of circulation to use in art projects like the graphic novel r.ed engender.ed - A Conical Chronicle, on exhibit during Frankenweek at Harvard University. .
#italian #money #graffiti #lira #tagging #taggers #soldi #currency #mariamontessori #montessori #dj #music #frankenstein #maryshelley #watercolor #ephemera #painting #visualart #angelalorenz #visualartist #harvard #harvarduniversity #redmonde #cartooncharacter #fabricsculpture #textilesculpture #disco #discomusic #dj
  • Our colleagues @dumbartonoaks have a fascinating new exhibition called "Juggling the Middle Ages," which traces the history of a medieval tale known often as 'Le Jongleur de Notre Dame' or 'Our Lady’s Tumbler.' The tale was popularized for modern audiences in 1890 via a short story by Anatole France. This image is from an illustrated book made by the Swiss artist Fritz Bühler, who hand-painted fifty copies of France's story as a Christmas present in 1955. #juggler #jugglingthemiddleages #dumbartonoaks #anatolefrance #fritzbuhler #houghtonliibrary
  • Celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein during Frankenweek, October 22-31! Harvard is hosting a symposium, a marathon @frankenreads, an electricity show—and an exhibition exploring how nineteenth-century playwrights transformed Mary Shelley’s original vision and set a pattern for future adaptations that that forever altered popular culture.⁣
For more info, visit “Stage Fright: Or the Fate of Frankenstein is on view until December 18 at Houghton Library.⁣
#frankenstein200 #frankenweek #frankenweekatharvard #frankenreads #frankenstein #stagefright #halloween2018 #harvardtheatrecollection #houghtonlibrary #harvardlibrary⁣

Follow Us!

RSS Houghton Library Blog

  • Houghton Library Renovation
    A message from Thomas Hyry, Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library. I am pleased to announce that we will undertake a major renovation of Houghton Library with the goals of modernizing our research and teaching facilities, expanding our exhibition and display capabilities, and improving physical accessibility and visibility. Enhancements will include a new gallery space […]
  • Surprises and Suddenness in Edward Lear
    By Noreen Masud, 2018–2019 Houghton Library Visiting Fellow/Eleanor M. Garvey Fellow in Printing and Graphic Arts, and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Durham University. She works on topics including aphorisms, culinary leftovers, flatness, and hymns in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature. Owls and Pussycats going to sea, Old Men with beards full of birds, Pobbles […]
  • Beauty and Cliché in an Anonymous French Manuscript Score
    By Joseph Gauvreau, Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature. Joseph was a summer 2018 Pforzheimer Fellow in Harvard Library. Working closely with Christina Linklater (a Houghton music cataloger and keeper of the Isham Memorial Library in the Loeb Music Library), he reported a number of Harvard’s music manuscript holdings to RISM. Joseph’s essay is published in […]
© 2017 The President and Fellows of Harvard College