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


  • Actress Charlotte Cushman and journalist/novelist/translator Matilda Hays (Max or Matthew to her friends) were widely known in Europe to be in a romantic relationship. They’re pictured in this 1850s daguerreotype (TC-19, Houghton Library, Harvard University) in their usual attire of matching tailored shirts and jackets. #pride #pridemonth #theater #houghtonlibrary
  • Time for #moonlandingmondays at #houghtonlibrary! Today, a transcript of communications between Eagle and Mission Control in Houston recording the tense moments when Armstrong manually guided the Lunar Module onto the moon’s surface. Though Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon, Aldrin annotated this document with a reminder that it recorded the “First words by a human on another world as spoken by me.”
  • It's week 6 of #MoonLandingMondays at #houghtonlibrary 
Today: A sketch of the Lunar Module made by Armstrong during a visit to his home in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to explain the upcoming Apollo 11 mission to his father, Stephen.
  • When Houghton reopens in Fall 2020, researchers, students, and visitors will be welcomed with a rotating, dynamic display of collection items on view in the lobby. We invite you to nominate items for display and share their significance to you #MyHoughton
  • It's week 5 of #MoonLandingMondays at #houghtonlibrary 
Today: Wernher von Braun’s original drawings for Collier’s magazine of a three-stage rocket capable of sending people to the moon and a capsule that does not need to be aerodynamic in the vacuum of space, precursors to Apollo 11’s Saturn V and lunar module.
  • It’s week 4 of #MoonLandingMondays at #houghtonlibrary. Today: Original photograph of the Wright Brother’s first glider capable of carrying a human, photographed in an unmanned flight. The words “Lemme down,” inscribed in pencil in the lower margin, recall the famous words shouted by Wilbur to Orville during one of his first flights.⁣
  • It’s time for #MoonLandingMondays at #houghtonlibrary
Cyrano De Bergerac’s Selenarchia, or, The Government of the World in the Moon (1659) presented the moon as a Utopian comical inversion of Earth aimed at subverting the human assumption of a central place in the universe—the lunar inhabitants regard the Earth as their moon, and insist it must therefore be uninhabited.
  • It’s Week 2 of #moonlandingmondays at #houghtonlibrary! Today: Galileo’s earliest observations of the moon through a telescope, as published in his groundbreaking work Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger) in 1610.
  • Join us this evening for the opening of Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo at Fifty! If you can’t make it in person, we will be posting exhibition images every Monday during the summer—Moon Landing Mondays! #apollo11 #apollo50th #moonlandingmondays

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RSS Houghton Library Blog

  • A Mysterious Manuscript in a Banned Language
    By Christine E. Jacobson, Assistant Curator, Modern Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library Houghton recently acquired a nineteenth-century bilingual manuscript of Ukrainian and Russian folk songs and verse. At first glance, the work seems unremarkable. At 370 pages, it contains over 120 poems and songs, including well-known works by Alexander Pushkin and Taras Shevchenko as well […]
  • On the Shoulders of Giants: Scientific Innovation and the Apollo 11 Mission
    This post is a condensed version of an essay from the catalogue of Houghton Library’s most recent exhibition, Small Steps, Giant Leaps: Apollo 11 at Fifty, which is on view from April 29 ­­– August 3, 2019. Follow us on Instagram, where we will feature images from the exhibition every Monday during its run. In […]
  • 2019 Philip Hofer Prize Winners
    On April 5, 2019, three Harvard students were named winners of the Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art. The Hofer Prize was established by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. ’52, L.L.B. ’55, to encourage student interest in collecting. It is awarded annually to a student or students whose collections of books or works of […]
© 2017 The President and Fellows of Harvard College