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


  • #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⁣
  • Tomorrow at 1230pm, @harvardtheatre curator Matthew Wittmann will be giving a tour (free and open to the public) of our current exhibition "Treading the Borders: Immigration and the American Stage." Among the many more recent materials on display is this flyer for an 1981 production @panasianrep! #yellowismyfavoritecolor #panasianrep #banana #popcorn #houghtonlibrary #treadingtheborders #harvardtheatrecollection
  • 'The Circus' is coming to PBS (October 8 & 9) in the form of a four-hour mini-series from @americanexperiencepbs that explores the colorful history of America’s grandest entertainment. Part I airs tonight so please check local listings for the time in your neck of the woods. The film features a host of images drawn from the excellent assortment of antiquarian circus material in the Harvard Theatre Collection. There’s also commentary from @harvardtheatre curator and erstwhile circus historian Matthew Wittmann.

Image: John Bill Ricketts (and an apprentice) doing a 'Flying Mercury' act, ca. 1796.

#circus #americanexperience #pbs #houghtonlibrary #harvardtheatrecollection to
  • Join us tomorrow--Wednesday, September 26--at 530pm for a special event to celebrate the launch of Professor Stephen Greenblatt's new HarvardX course "Othello's Story." The course looks at the ways in which Shakespeare’s characters tell stories within the play––about themselves, to themselves, and to each other–and considers, too, how actors, directors, composers, and other artists tell stories through Othello in performance. @harvard's own Hyperion Shakespeare Company will be on hand!

Paul Robeson fairly smoldering as Othello, 1944.

#othello #houghtonlibrary #harvardtheatrecollection #harvardx

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  • 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 […]
  • Collections Now Available for Research: November
    Houghton Library is pleased to announce the following collections are now described online and accessible in the reading room. Moll Flanders Memorial Collection of Trade Cards of Enterprising London Businesswomen, circa 1980-2018 (MS Eng 1801) – processed by Melanie Wisner Collection of Marbled Papers, circa 1945-2005 (52L-1152) – processed by Melanie Wisner Hermann Hagedorn Papers, […]
  • An Intimate and Symbolic Bond: Quentin Roosevelt, the Great War, and American-French Relations
    By Vincent Harmsen, 2017–2018 Houghton Library Visiting Fellow and recipient of the William Dearborn Fellowship in American History. Mr. Harmsen holds a master’s degree in history from the Sorbonne University, Paris. November 19, 1918 would have been the twenty-first birthday of Quentin Roosevelt, son of Theodore Roosevelt. However, Quentin had died in France a few […]
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