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:

Catalog Records

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.

Finding Aids

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.

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