Houghton Library staff celebrate the library’s 75th anniversary with an open house-inspired showcase of its outstanding collections.

Fifty archivists, conservators, curators, librarians, security guards and student workers who make up “Team Houghton” share memorable items encountered during careers at the library that range from four months to over forty years. United by their dedication to providing access to over 600,000 printed books and six miles of manuscript and archival materials housed at Houghton and offsite, the staff’s encyclopedic knowledge of the library comes to the fore in this exhibition.

A microcosm of Houghton in breadth and depth, highlights from 'Open House 75' range from a Renaissance letter written by Michelangelo and a missive stained by Hemingway’s sweat, to a moving instance of gay fandom and women writers on domesticity and anarchy. Among the notable “firsts” represented are the diary of the first American meteorologist and an Edison lightbulb that illuminated America’s first electrified theater. Cultural treasures from Liberia and Japan are presented alongside everyday objects such as a Roman coin and a Panama hat; taken together, these and other objects in the exhibition suggest the rich variety of human experience housed within Houghton’s walls.

Visit 'Open House 75' to discover Houghton Library through the eyes of the people who know it best.

© 2017 The President and Fellows of Harvard College