Widener Library

South and Southeast Asian Collections

The collections under the purview of the Librarian for South and South-East Asia include materials in many languages, all formats and subjects in the humanities and social sciences published in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives (for South Asia); Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and East Timor (for Southeast Asia).

While most of these materials are in English, our acquisitions also cover the former colonial languages: Dutch, French and Portuguese.  In addition Widener has traditionally collected in Sanskrit and Tibetan. Since 2013 acquisitions have expanded to include materials in Bengali, Burmese, Hindi, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Nepali, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and tribal languages of North-East India. Widener has a strong collection of South Asian videorecordings, in various Indic languages, documenting the cultural and social landscape of the subcontinent.

Materials in South Asian languages using Perso-Arabic script are collected by the Middle Eastern Division in Widener.

Vietnamese and Southeast Asian Chinese language materials are collected by the Harvard-Yenching Library.

Government information, including statistics and datasets, can be found in the Government Documents / Microform Collection at the Lamont Library.

The South and Southeast Asian collections are supplemented by holdings in the Fine Arts Library, the Loeb Music Library, Frances Loeb Library (Design), the Tozzer Library (anthropology), the Andover-Harvard Theological Library, and the Harvard Law School Library. The Houghton Library houses an important collection of Indic manuscripts (mostly in Sanskrit), and records of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, as well as pamphlets of missionary presses.

Harvard is also a member of the South Asia Materials Project (SAMP), the Southeast Asia Materials Project (SEAM), and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), which gives access to additional resources from those areas in all languages.

For more information regarding South and Southeast Asian collections at Widener, please contact Richard Lesage, Librarian for South and South-East Asia, or Ramona Islam, Library liaison to South Asian Studies.

For questions relating to South Asian collections in Perso-Arabic script, please contact Michael Grossman, Middle Eastern Librarian.

For information on the Vietnamese collection, please contact Chan Thi-Ngoc Phan, Librarian for the Vietnamese Collection in the Harvard-Yenching Library.