Cabot Library

Cabot Science Library Collections


The Cabot Science Library collections consist of core materials on astronomy, biochemistry, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioremediation, botany, chemistry, ecology, environment, general science, geology, medicine, microbiology, natural history, neuroscience, oceanography, physiology, physics, sustainable agriculture, and zoology. In addition to an extensive reference collection, the library is the repository of research-level interdisciplinary materials not collected by the subject-specific science libraries at Harvard.

Cabot houses extensive research collections in pure mathematics and theoretical statistics. The general collections are predominantly in the English language. The research-level collections include materials in other languages, such as French and German, and also Russian-language materials in the mathematics collection. Cabot also houses extensive collections in the fields of geology, geophysics, mineralogy, stratigraphy, geochemistry, and regional geology. While materials from all over the world are represented, the collection is particularly strong in New England geology.

Specialized collections include: computer manuals; agriculture, engineering, geology, and aviation materials dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries; mathematics materials dating back to the mid-19th century; international chemistry dissertations dating from the 1850s through 1960s; Rand reports from the 1940s through 1960s; and videos, including Science Center Research Lectures for Non-Specialists, a series sponsored by the Science Center.

Cabot's collections include books, journals, government documents, manuals, maps, pamphlets, and other formats such as videos, CD-ROMs, and computer diskettes. Bibliographic information about these resources, databases, and electronic journals can be accessed online via the HOLLIS catalog and the Harvard Libraries site.


Cabot's map collection is comprised of more than 40,000 maps in both traditional and electronic formats. In addition to the United States' most comprehensive collection of geological maps, the library is a particularly rich source of the U.S. and foreign geological survey publications, including geological, topographical, tectonic, hydrological, and mineral deposits maps from almost every country in the world. The burgeoning CD-ROM collection is fast becoming an excellent resource for all United States topographic maps and a provider of specialized geological data.

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Gardner Collection of Photographs

The Gardner Collection of Photographs is a significant illustration of turn-of-the-century landscape photography in the United States and boasts photographs that were taken by several important photographers of the day, including Seneca Ray Stoddard, Nathaniel Livermore Stebbins, and Baldwin Coolidge. In addition to its significance for geological research, the collection also offers vivid visual documentation of a landscape lost forever to the urbanization and development of the New England countryside.

Formally begun in the 1890s by William Morris Davis, a professor in the Geology Department from 1876–1912, the collection was later named for George Augustus Gardner, who gave a substantial gift for the purchase of photographs for geological instruction. The collection consists of more than 1,300 black-and-white images dating from the 1880s, most of which are of New England. Fewer than 200 are of other locations in other U.S. states, Greenland, and Europe.

The Gardner Collection is available for viewing during Reference Desk Hours. There is no electronic access to the collection at this time.

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