Houghton Library is the primary repository for rare books and manuscripts at Harvard University. It is part of the Harvard College Library within the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Houghton is located on the south side of Harvard Yard, next to Widener Library.
Harvard's first special collections library was the Treasure Room of Widener Library. In March 1938, looking to supply Harvard's most valuable collections with more space and improved storage conditions, Harvard College Librarian Keyes DeWitt Metcalf presented the Harvard Corporation with a set of proposals which would eventually lead to the creation of Houghton Library, Lamont Library, and the New England Deposit Library. Funding for Houghton was raised privately, with the largest portion coming from Arthur A. Houghton Jr., in the form of shares of stock in Corning Glass Works. Construction was largely completed by the fall of 1941, and the library opened on February 28, 1942.
Houghton holds collections of papers of Samuel Johnson, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Margaret Fuller, John Keats, Gore Vidal, Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family, Bronson Alcott and his daughter Louisa May Alcott, along with the papers of other notable transcendentalists, Theodore Roosevelt, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Henry James, William James, James Joyce, John Updike and many others.
Houghton also holds the letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who commanded the 54th Massachusetts during the Civil War, and was killed during the assault on Fort Wagner.
Houghton has five main curatorial departments:
- A Houghton Library Chronicle, 1942-1992. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard College Library. 1992. OCLC 26633110.
- Centuries of books & manuscripts : collectors and friends, scholars and librarians build the Harvard College Library : an exhibition on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Houghton Library, 1942-1992. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard College Library. 1992. OCLC 26024581.
External links 
Coordinates: 42°22′23.48″N 71°06′57.36″W / 42.3731889°N 71.1159333°W
Bob-Jason-Ben - Houghton Library
This is one of our first shows from the 2009 Summer... We had a lot fun wth the lively capacity crowd.
THE POET'S VOICE: C.A. Conrad & Anne Waldman | Woodberry Poetry Room
A reading by C.A. Conrad (featuring an in-depth reading from "Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Som)atics," as well as from the "Book of Frank" and "Transl...
THE ARCADIA PROJECT: A Poetry Reading | Woodberry Poetry Room
A Reading by Timothy Donnelly, C.D. Wright, Gabriel Gudding, Dana Levin, John Beer, Dan Beachy-Quick & Brian Teare. With a voice-over introduction by G.C. Wa...
Anne Waldman Performs a Segment from "Worrying Yr Logos: Conversant You Speak to the Dead"
On the occasion of Presidents' Day, this brief clip from the Poet's Voice reading by Anne Waldman, featuring a powerful section from THE IOVIS TRILOGY. The c...
Fiddlers ReStrung 2012 - Short Clips - Houghton Lake Public Library
We had the pleasure to perform in the beautiful town of Houghton Lake. Thank you Houghton Lake for inviting us, the warm welcome, the wonderful audience and ...
Social Jumpstart TV ~ Mike Wolpert & Sarah Houghton
Mike Wolpert, founder of http://www.socialjumpstart.com interviews Sarah Houghton, Librarian, Digital Rights Management Expert and publisher of http://librar...
THE POET'S VOICE: Christian Wiman & Matvei Yankelevich | Woodberry Poetry Room
The inimitable voices of Osip Mandelstam and Daniel Kharms are revived by Christian Wiman, author of Every Riven Thing and editor of Poetry Magazine, and Mat...
THE GORGEOUS NOTHINGS: Emily Dickinson's Envelope-Poems | Woodberry Poetry Room
Poet and visual artist Jen Bervin and renowned Dickinson scholar Marta Werner presented text and images from their collaborative project, "The Gorgeous Nothi...
THE VOICE IN THE AGE OF MECHANICAL REPRODUCTION | Woodberry Poetry Room
Pound's Recordings from the Harvard Vocarium to the "Aspern Tapes" Pound scholar and NYU professor of comparative literature Richard Sieburth presents a swee...
Libraries Got Screwed by Amazon and Overdrive
A call to action for librarians about the disturbing side effects to library users of the Amazon Kindle format eBook lending in Overdrive, including the thre...
Fri, 10 May 2013 10:13:59 -0700
Harvard's Houghton Library recently purchased a copy of “The Star Trek Guide,” an intriguing and often amusing handbook that includes everything that aspiring writers might need to know before crafting a script for the '60s cult sci-fi television ...
Tue, 14 May 2013 07:10:53 -0700
The Houghton Library at Harvard recently acquired a copy of the guide as part of a broader plan to increase its collection of popular culture materials. Last Friday the Harvard Gazette ran an article on the acquisition and explained that long after ...
Thu, 09 May 2013 10:09:48 -0700
Nearby is a page from a Houghton Library emblem book. It reads, “Live ever mindful of thy dying, for time is always from thee flying.” TIME_13_Apocalypsin_500. Time as a reminder of death: Painting of the end of time by Beatus of Liébana in ...
Tue, 07 May 2013 15:12:05 -0700
The spirit of the conference will live on in an exhibit, “Boston's Crusade Against Slavery,” at Houghton Library through Aug. 23. It is the work of students in a two-semester course on Boston and emancipation, taught by John Stauffer, chair of the ...
Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog)
Seattle Post Intelligencer (blog)
Sat, 04 May 2013 21:12:10 -0700
Claudia Cohen is one of the better bookbinders around. She has done work for the likes of the Houghton Library, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, Pennyroyal Press, Heavenly Monkey Press and the Whitney Museum among others.
Delco News Network
Fri, 03 May 2013 07:49:41 -0700
During the summer she visited Harvard University's Houghton Library in Cambridge, Mass. and the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston to obtain information used in her paper. “I was always really interested in transcendentalism, even since high ...
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:17:36 -0700
(“Private Proust,” on display in the Houghton Library's Amy Lowell Room, is an exhibit of related correspondence. The display is just one component of Proust-related exhibits, concerts, screenings, and lectures at Harvard this spring.) And then there ...
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