Tozzer is the oldest library in the United States devoted to collecting ethnology, archaeology, and related anthropological fields. It was founded in 1866 at the bequest of George Peabody as part of the new Peabody Museum and was originally known as the Peabody Museum Library.
In 1974 it was renamed Tozzer Library in honor of Alfred Marston Tozzer (1877–1954), Hudson Professor of Archaeology at Harvard and the library's second librarian. Tozzer, who served the library from 1935–1947, is credited with being largely responsible for building the library's Middle American archaeology and ethnology collection.
Originally the collections were housed in the Peabody Museum. In 1974 they were moved into the present building, designed by Johnson, Hotvedt and Associates, that was made possible by gifts from the Tozzer family and the late Francis Boyer. In 1979, Tozzer Library became an administrative unit of the Harvard College Library. The library has continued to grow and today it holds one of the largest and most comprehensive anthropology collections in the world.
For a more detailed history of Tozzer Library see Weeks, John M. (1987) "Tozzer Library: A 'National' Library for Anthropology" in Current Anthropology 28: 133-137.
Peabody Museum and Tozzer Librarians
Roland B. Dixon, 1904–1934
Alfred M. Tozzer, 1935–1947
Margaret Currier, 1947–1974
Antonio Rodriguez-Buckingham, 1974–1977
Nancy J. Schmidt, 1978–1984
Sally Williams (Acting), 1984–1985
G. Edward Evans, 1985–1988
Lynne M. Schmelz, 1988–1998
Maija M. Lutz, 1998–2004
Lynne M. Schmelz, 2004–2009
Janet L. Steins (Interim), 2009–2010
Publications About Tozzer Library
Anon. (1934) The Peabody Museum, Anthropological Section of the University Museum. In The Library of Harvard University: Descriptive and Historical Notes. See under “Departmental Libraries.” 4th ed. pp. 166-167. Harvard University Press.
Barnes, Melba. (1945) Peabody Museum Library. Special Libraries 36(6): 197-198. July-Aug.
Brew, John Otis. (1966) Library. In Early Days of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. pp. 11-12. Cambridge: Peabody Museum.
Currier, Margaret. (1949)a The Peabody Museum Library. The Harvard Library Bulletin, 3(1): 94-101. Winter 1949.
__________. (1949)b Peabody Museum Library at Harvard University. Museum News 26 (19): 7-8.
__________. (1953) Anthropology Indexing at the Peabody Museum Library, Harvard University. United States Library of Congress Information Bulletin, 12 (20): 7-8.
__________. (1966) The Peabody Museum Library. In People and Projects of the Peabody Museum, J.O. Brew, ed., pp. 57-59. Harvard University Press. (This is an abridged and revised version of Currier 1949a.)
Hay, Fred. (1992) Tozzer Library: How to Access the World’s Largest Anthropology Bibliography. CAM: Cultural Anthropology Methods Newsletter, 4(1): 1-3.
Schmidt, Nancy J. (1981) Two New Publications from the World’s Largest Anthropology Library. Symbols, Fall 1981: 6-7, 12.
__________. (1982) A Short History of Anthropological Subject Headings at Tozzer Library. History of Anthropology Newsletter. Spring: 11-14.
Steins, Janet L. (2004) Anthropology Libraries. In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. 2nd ed., first update supplement, Miriam A. Drake, ed. pp. 53-63. New York: Marcel Dekker.
Weeks, John M. (1985) Middle American Indians : a guide to the manuscript collection at Tozzer Library, Harvard University. New York: Garland. Garland reference library of social science; v. 332.
__________. (1987)a Maya Ethnohistory : a Guide to Spanish Colonial Documents at Tozzer Library, Harvard University. Nashville: Dept. of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University
__________. (1987)b Tozzer Library: A “National” Library for Anthropology. Current Anthropology 28: 133-137.
__________. (1990) Mesoamerican Ethnohistory in United States Libraries: Reconstruction of the William E. Gates Collection of Historical and Linguistic Manuscripts. Culver City, CA: Labyrinthos.
__________. (1991) Historical Notes on the Bowditch-Gates Middle American Indian Manuscript Collection at Tozzer Library, Harvard University. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 11(1): 27-47.