Houghton Library

Houghton Library is Harvard College's rare books and manuscripts library. The collections at Houghton focus on the study of Western civilization and are especially strong in American, Continental, and English history and literature, but also include significant cultural materials from around the world representing a wide range of experiences. The collections encompass diverse holdings: from the world famous to the entirely unknown, the ancient to the immediate. We host classes in the arts, humanities, sciences, and more. 


Recent classes at the Houghton Library include Major Authors, Epic from Homer to Star Wars and Advanced Ottoman.

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Students from PredictionX in class at Houghton Library.

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Black panther paper shopping bag, AC95.B5665.969c (167), examined by a Junior Tutorial.

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Jeu de lot Dauphin, ThrZ, a game of chance, played by the Tangible Things class.

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Bill of sale for a donkey, papyrus, MS Gr SM2223, used in Harvard's HUM 10a.

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Student examines a nineteenth century Thai manuscript. MS Typ 439.

Staff Services

  • Introduction to Archives and Special Collections Research
  • Houghton Library Research Guide
  • Pre-class appointment for instructor (required for first time requester, recommended for everyone)
  • Assistance with presentation of materials in class
  • Assistance with selection of materials
  • Bibliography of materials used in class
  • Tour

Technology Available

  • Document Camera
  • VHS video player
  • CD audio player
  • Wifi
  • Touchscreen monitor

Administrative Information

  Class limit: 15