From the Collections of Harvard College Library, Events and Exhibitions 2016


Image from Houghthon's collections

Houghton Library, MS Typ 120, f. 1

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in
Boston Collections

For Houghton Library’s portion of the exhibit, the emphasis is on the centrality of books to monastic life. Male and female monasticism revolved around religion, but at its heart was a cult of the book: not just the bible, all books. Monastic scriptoria guaranteed the survival and transmission of classical literature and learning. Reverence felt for texts and their authors is manifest in the beauty of the books that were crafted in monasteries and convents. Manuscripts on display at the Houghton Library highlight the scriptorium as both a space for the production of manuscripts and the human collective that produced them.

Major support for the Houghton Library portion of the exhibition has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Edison & Newman Exhibition & Program Fund, the John & Ann Clarkeson Library Fund and the Bayard Livingston & Kate Gray Kilgour Fund.

Please join us for an opening reception on September 12 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Edison and Newman Room

For further information on the Beyond Words exhibitions, please visit the website or contact Monique Duhaime at or 617-495-2441

Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library


Laurent de Brunhoff image of Babar Brings his ABC to Houghton Library

Laurent de Brunhoff Babar Brings his ABC to Houghton Library TypDr 2070.B240.16b, Houghton Library

Babar Comes to Houghton Library
Babar, the world’s favorite elephant, has arrived at Houghton Library! Thanks to a generous gift from Laurent de Brunhoff and Phyllis Rose, the library has acquired the complete archive of preparatory materials for Jean de Brunhoff’s ABC de Babar, first published in Paris in 1934. Visitors will see a selection from the collection, which includes the original manuscript and original illustrations, as well as studies for the illustrations. The preliminary sketches, trial compositions, final ink drawings, hand-colored proofs, and designs for the covers, endleaves, and title page document the entire process of creating and producing a commercially successful children’s book in the first half of the twentieth century.

Unlike other Babar books, which tell stories, the ABC de Babar places characters from the stories in settings chosen to illustrate each letter of the alphabet. Since the pictures contain few or no words, French children were encouraged to learn their letters and improve their vocabularies by picking out and naming as many objects as they could whose names begin with the letter in question.

Also on exhibition is an original drawing by Laurent de Brunhoff, commissioned by the library, that shows Babar, his ABC under his arm, mounting the steps of Houghton Library.

For more information, contact Monique Duhaime at or 617-495-2441

Amy Lowell Room, Houghton Library


Image Yellowstone National Park, compliments of the Northern Pacific Railway HOLLIS number 013823063

Yellowstone National Park, compliments of the
Northern Pacific Railway

The Land Remains: A century of conservation in America’s National Parks
The maps in this exhibition showcase units of the National Park Service in all stages of their history. Many date from before the idea of the government preserving areas of natural beauty or cultural significance had even formed. Many are from the first days of preservation of a site. Some show the process of creating a park and the struggle to protect and preserve hallowed ground while still allowing in the people for whom it is preserved. We hope that these maps will remind you of the beauty and importance of this country’s natural and cultural treasures, and inspire you to #FindYourPark.

Map Gallery Hall, Pusey Library


Henry James

Undated photograph inscribed “Your affectionate old friend, Henry James.”

Henry James: Commemoration
“We possess a great man most when we begin to look at him through the plate glass of death“

Henry James (1843-1916) penned those words as part of his tribute to Robert Browning (1812-1889), when the great Victorian poet was interred in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. Visitors to this Centennial Exhibition can look at James himself through the plate glass of eight display cases, filled with books, manuscripts, photographs, and many other collateral testaments to a great man’s legacy.

In this exhibition you will see some of the many forms through which Henry James obeyed a deeply felt need to eulogize others—and even to commemorate the halting evolution of his own consciousness. While some have alleged that James was drawn to morbid plots and characters in his fiction, in his more personal writing—in his letters and private journals—occasions of mortality more typically provoke an almost Transcendental response, a kind of sacred reflex, urging him to hallow the memory of those he has lost.

As a fitting complement in this the centenary year of James’s passing, the exhibition also allows viewers to see (and hear) how others were moved to commemorate the author after his death. It would take several decades until a “James Revival” began in earnest, initiated in no small way by Harvard Professor F. O. Matthiessen, who taught the English Department’s first course devoted to the author; but by publishing a series of path-breaking books devoted to James’s life and art, Matthiessen brought others to a broader and more intelligent understanding of the writer’s achievement.

As Cynthia Ozick has observed (with a certain sense of awe), “with the passing of each new decade, James becomes more and more our contemporary—it is as if our own sensibilities are only just catching up with his.”

Michael Anesko, Guest Curator

Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library


Theodore Roosevelt opening the second New York State suffrage campaign on Sept. 8, 1917 at Sagamore Hill. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Theodore Roosevelt opening the second
New York State suffrage campaign on
Sept. 8, 1917 at Sagamore Hill. Houghton
Library, Harvard University.

The Bull Moose and the China Cabinet: Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement
Following the Republican Party’s nomination of incumbent William Howard Taft for president in 1912, supporters of Theodore Roosevelt’s candidacy formed the Progressive Party, which centered upon returning power to the people and creating a more equitable country by the right treatment of its citizens. For nearly 100 years, women had been fighting for equal rights on every front—education; labor; and intellectual, moral, legal, and human rights. Roosevelt’s Progressive Party placed women’s suffrage in its official platform. It was the first major political party to do so. This exhibition examines Roosevelt’s evolving position on women’s suffrage, and includes a page from his Harvard senior paper on women’s rights, correspondence, contemporary newspaper accounts and political cartoons, and artifacts documenting the role and influence of the women in Roosevelt’s life.

The exhibition was guest curated by Melanie Bayless Veteto, a student in the Museum Studies program at the Harvard Extension School. For more information, contact

Theodore Roosevelt Gallery, Pusey Library


Bhakti: Framing Devotion, Mumbai, India, by Javier Aranzales. Special Prize, South Asia Institute.

Bhakti: Framing Devotion, Mumbai, India, by
Javier Aranzales. Special Prize, South Asia Institute

Harvard College
Annual International Photo Contest

Photos taken by Harvard students who have studied, worked, interned, or done research abroad during the past year are on exhibit. For more information on the contest, see the photo contest page.

Level B, first and third floor display cases,
Lamont Library (Hours)
For details contact Lynn Sayers at 617-495-2455


Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Doyle, A. Conan. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of
the Hound of the Baskerville
s. New York, NY: Playmore,
Inc., 1977. Page 8.

2016 Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting
Books or Art

The Philip Hofer prize is awarded each year to students at Harvard whose collections of books or works of art best exemplify the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination represented by Philip Hofer, A.B. '21, L.H.D. '67, founder and first Curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts in the Houghton Library and Secretary of the Fogg Art Museum. The prize, which is to encourage student interest in collecting, was established in 1987 by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. '52, L.L.B. '55. Students competing for the prize submit an annotated list or bibliography and an essay describing the scope, contents, and goal of the collection. On exhibition are samples of this year’s first and second prize winning collections, The Lost and Found Works of Dr. John H. Watson, submitted by Helen X. Yang, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Class of 2016, and Harry Potter Chinese Forgeries, submitted by Christopher J. Foster, Graduate Student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.

For details, contact Lynn Sayers at 617-495-2455

Third floor display cases, Lamont Library,


2015 Undergraduate Book Collectiong Prize

Walter, Eugene. Jennie the Watercress Girl. Mobile, AL: The National Willoughby Institute, 1946.

2016 Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize
Established in 1977, the Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting recognizes and encourages book collecting by undergraduates at Harvard. Students competing for the annual prize submit an annotated bibliography and an essay on their collecting efforts, the influence of mentors, the experience of searching for, organizing and caring for items, and the future direction of the collection. On display are samplings of the collections of this year’s prize-winning entries, along with personal commentary.

For details, contact Lynn Sayers at 617-495-2455

Second and third floor display cases, Lamont Library


There are no lectures scheduled at this time. Please check back.

Continuing Exhibitions

Mercator Globes
Exhibition includes Gerard Mercator's terrestrial (1541) and celestial (1551) globes that reflect new discoveries in world geography and cosmography as well as new techniques in charting, printing, and globe making. Only 22 matched pairs survive, Harvard's being the only matched pair in America.

For details call the Map Collection at 617-495-2417

Mercator Case, Map Gallery Hall