Tozzer Library

Collections Overview


Tozzer Library collects comprehensively in all subfields of anthropology: cultural and social anthropology, biological and physical anthropology, archaeology, and anthropological linguistics, with a special emphasis on materials relating to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The library holds more than 250,000 volumes including the personal libraries of L. Cabot Briggs, William R. Bullard, Hugh O'Neill Hencken, Samuel K. Lothrop, Jaroslav Pasternak, Georger Grant MacCurdy, and Alfred M. Tozzer. Currently the library subscribes to more than 2,000 journals and serials, which are a major strength of the collection.

Of particular significance is the large collection of primary source materials in Mesoamerican archaeology, ethnology, and linguistics. It includes Mayan language materials, Spanish Colonial documents, ethnographic and archaeological field notes, and unpublished scholarly manuscripts from researchers at Harvard and other institutions. Among the most notable of the Mesoamerican materials are those in the Bowditch-Gates Collection of over 250 volumes containing photographic reproductions of almost every unpublished manuscript or unique imprint in the various Mayan and Mexican languages. Other important materials are the Scholes collection of manuscripts relating to Middle American Indians, the field notes of distinguished anthropologists Alfred Marston Tozzer, after whom the library was named, and Sylvanus Griswold Morley, and the significant number of high-quality reproductions and facsimiles of Maya and Mexican pre-Columbian and Colonial period codices.

Tozzer holds many other rare materials as well. Among the more significant manuscript holdings are the Adolph F. Bandelier Collection relating to the Indians of the American Southwest, the Henry O. Beyer Collection relating to the history and ethnography of the Philippine Islands, the Jaroslav Pasternak Collection of Ukrainian archaeology, the field notes of Alfred M. Tozzer, the personal papers of Cora Du Bois, and field reports of expeditions led by Henry Field to Pakistan and the Middle East. Also among the collection are pamphlets from the personal libraries of Harvard affiliated anthropologists that are especially valuable to scholars for their original marginalia.

Other anthropology collections at Harvard can be found in the following libraries: Widener (general anthropology, folklore, linguistics, Egyptology, Classical and historical archaeology), Loeb Music (ethnomusicology), Fine Arts (African art), Botany (ethnobotany), Countway (biological anthropology), Andover-Harvard Theological (indigenous religious traditions), and the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (human paleontology and primatology).

In Washington D.C., Dumbarton Oaks' Pre-Columbian library collection covers the art and anthropology of the New World from Mesoamerica to the Andes in Pre-Columbian through early colonial times. Because that collection complements Tozzer’s collection so closely, Tozzer's patrons have access to this otherwise non-circulating collection via interlibrary loan.

Other Harvard repositories housing unpublished papers and manuscripts in anthropology are the archives of the Peabody Museum and the Harvard University Archives.

Questions and comments about the collection may be directed to Janet L. Steins, Associate Librarian for Technical Services and Collections, via e-mail or at 617-495-1481. Tozzer Library welcomes suggestions for the purchase of books and journals with content that falls within the scope of the collection. Suggestions may be made online via the Purchase Request Form.

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