How many books did John Harvard donate to Harvard? Did he give anything else?

As far as we can tell, the John Harvard bequest totaled 300 titles in about 400 volumes.  In addition to the very valuable library, Harvard also donated 1/2 of his total estate (779 Pounds).  Putting that figure into a currency converter and inflation calculator suggests that he gave the college over 2 million dollars (in today's value), not including the considerable value of the books.

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from Saturday, May 26 through Monday May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. Questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2023.
  • If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



Monday - Thursday 9am-5pm

Chat is intended for brief inquiries from the Harvard community.


Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.

These services are intended primarily for Harvard University faculty, staff and students. If you are not affiliated with Harvard, please use these services only to request information about the Library and its collections.