|Country||United States of America|
|Established||28 February 1942|
|Branch of||Harvard University Library|
Houghton Library, on the south side of Harvard Yard adjacent to Widener Library, is Harvard University's primary repository for rare books and manuscripts. It is part of the Harvard College Library, the library system of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Harvard's first special collections library began as the Treasure Room of Gore Hall in 1908. The Treasure Room moved to the newly-built Widener Library in 1915. In 1938, looking to supply Harvard's most valuable holdings with more space and improved storage conditions, Harvard College Librarian Keyes DeWitt Metcalf made a series of proposals which eventually led 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 stock in Corning Glass Works. Construction was largely completed by the fall of 1941, and the library opened on February 28, 1942.
Along with much else, Houghton holds collections of papers of Samuel Johnson, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Margaret Fuller, John Keats, Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family, Amos 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, Jamaica Kincaid, Gore Vidal, and many others.
Houghton has five main curatorial departments:
- Early Books and Manuscripts, which includes a large collection of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and over 2,500 incunabula.
- Early Modern Books and Manuscripts, featuring the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson, one of the largest collections of books and manuscripts relating to Samuel Johnson and his circle.
- Modern Books and Manuscripts, which collects material from 1800 to the present, including the papers and libraries of Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Leon Trotsky, Gore Vidal, John Updike, Amy Lowell, and collector Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr., among many others.
- Modern Books & Manuscripts New Acquisitions Blog
- Printing & Graphic Arts which documents the history and art of book production.
- The Harvard Theatre Collection covering the history of the performing arts.
- A Houghton Library Chronicle, 1942–1992. Cambridge, Massachusetts: 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, Massachusetts: Harvard College Library. 1992. OCLC 26024581.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Houghton Library.|
- Houghton Library home page
- Houghton 75: Celebrating Houghton Library's 75th Anniversary
- Online exhibition: Public Poet, Private Man: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at 200
- Online exhibition: Books in Books: Reflections on Reading and Writing in the Middle Ages
- Online exhibition: Harvard's Lincoln
- Online exhibition: A Monument More Durable Than Brass: The Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson
- Online exhibition: History of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Collection
- Online exhibition: "I shall ever be your dearest love": John Keats and Fanny Brawne
- Online exhibition: "Such a Curious Dream!: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at 150
- Houghton Library Blog
- Department of Modern Books & Manuscripts new acquisitions blog