Gutman Library Special Collections

Spanning two centuries, the Monroe C. Gutman Library Special Collections offers rich and varied resources for studying the history of schooling and learning in America.

As part of Gutman Library's mission to support learning, research, and teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, GLSC collects, preserves, and makes available to researchers its specialized published primary source materials and manuscript holdings relating to the history of schooling, teaching and curriculum in the United States.

Recent classes at the Gutman Library Special Collections include Doings things with Latin and Test course.


  • History of Education and Teacher Training Schools This collection contains nearly 21,000 volumes of primary source materials on elementary and secondary education and teacher training in the United States. The bulk of the collection dates from 1830 to 1940.
  • Jeanne S. Chall Collection on the Teaching of Reading The Jeanne S. Chall Collection on the Teaching of Reading consists of materials collected by Professor Jeanne S. Chall and donated to Gutman Library Special Collections. The collection consists of several thousands of volumes documenting the history of reading research and the teaching of reading, spanning both the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Private School Catalogs This collection of about 7,000 items documents private education in the United States from the 1830s to 1960s.
  • Public School Reports The Public School Reports collection contains about 10,000 items documenting public education in the United States from the 1830s through the 1950s.
  • Action for Children's Television The ACT Collection documents the work of Action for Children's Television (ACT), a national grassroots organization founded by Peggy Charren in Newtonville, Massachusetts in 1968.
  • Historical Textbooks This collection of nearly 45,000 elementary and secondary textbooks covers subject areas from agriculture to zoology. The collection contains materials published in the United States in English from 1776 through 1985. A small number of European imprints in foreign languages are also included. This collection also contains a number of textbooks focused on reading and teaching literacy, also known as readers or basal readers.
  • Manuscript Collections Collections include papers of Francis Keppel, Harold Howe II, and Roy E. Larsen. Other collections include The Language Research Incorporated Project Files; Man: A Course of Study/Peter E. Dow; and the Paul Mattingly Collection on the American Institute of Instruction.
  • Staff Services

    • Assistance with presentation of materials in class
    • Assistance with selection of materials
    • Bibliography of materials used in class
    • Reserve class materials for Reading Room Use
    • Pre-class appointment for instructor (required for first time requester, recommended for everyone)
    • Ongoing reference assistance for students interested in using collections for course assignments
    • Creation of library research guide for class

    Technology Available

    • Computer and data projector
    • Wifi

    Administrative Information

      Class limit: 12

    The Gutman Library Special Collections does not have a publicly available calendar. When making a request, please submit with your preferred times and a staff member will get back to you.