Does Harvard have books from Ralph Waldo Emerson's Library?

Yes, books that were once part of Emerson’s library are housed at Houghton Library. Follow the steps below to identify them in the Harvard Library catalog: 

  • Navigate to HOLLIS and choose the STARTS WITH/BROWSE option, found near the top of the screen. 
  • Select "Call number- Other" from the drop-down menu. 
  • Type AC85.Em345.Z 
  • Click the search button (magnifying glass icon) 
  • Every book with a call number that begins AC85.Em345.Z will have been owned by Emerson. 
  • See a sample search. 

Emerson's Library by Walter Harding (Charlottesville: Published for the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia by the University Press of Virginia, 1967) is a catalog of Emerson's personal library based on M.C. Haviland's card catalogue of the collection, which is now in the library of the Concord Antiquarian Society. 

Houghton also holds books from the personal libraries of other members of the Transcendentalism movement.  See below for tips on how to search for such material. 

  • Navigate to HOLLIS and select 'Advanced Search'. 
  • Select 'Library Catalog' and limit the Search Scope to 'Houghton'. 
  • Do an author search with your person’s name followed by "former owner". Ex. Fuller, Margaret former owner. 
  • Click Search. (Because of the way the system searches, you may get some false hits; that is, books by Margaret Fuller but formerly owned by someone else.)