What's the best way to search for manuscripts at Harvard?
Where to Start
No one source completely describes Harvard's holdings of manuscripts and archives. The two best places to start are:
- HOLLIS (for broad searching)
- websites and staff of Harvard’s special collections and archives (for understanding the overall shape of collections and identifying experts who can guide you).
In HOLLIS, you will find collection-level (summary) descriptions of manuscript collections, as well as records for thousands of single manuscript items. You can also find collections of microfilmed manuscripts and archives, as well as databases that provide access to archives and manuscripts digitized from collections all over the world.
Some HOLLIS records include links to online versions of items or to HOLLIS for Archival Discovery finding aids. Additional finding aids and catalogs are often available only on-site. If you have trouble locating the materials you seek, please contact the specific library or archive directly.
Additional Tips & Advice
For working with Harvard’s special collections and archives, see How to Use Harvard Library's Special Collections and Archives.
For finding archives and manuscripts both at Harvard and elsewhere, please consult the Library Research Guide for Finding Manuscripts and Archival Collections.
Have another HOLLIS question? Our HOLLIS User Guide provides an overview of HOLLIS's features and functions.
In observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, our services will be unavailable on Monday, January 18. There may be a slight delay in our responses to inquiries received over the weekend. If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey, please report it to Library Technology Services.
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