The Schlesinger Library illuminates the lives of American women past and present through its collections, research support, public programming, and exhibitions, all while advancing Harvard Radcliffe Institute’s commitment to women, gender, and society.
One of the special collections libraries within the Harvard Library—the oldest library system in the United States—the Schlesinger Library is considered the leading center for scholarship on the history of women in the United States, with collections that span civil rights and feminism, health and sexuality, work and family life, education and the professions, and culinary history and etiquette. The Library is committed to expanding its holdings by and about women of all ethnicities, political philosophies, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Open to the public, the Library welcomes all visitors.
Schlesinger Library Research Grants
The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America offers a variety of research grants to support new scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality. Applications will be evaluated on the significance of the research topic and its creativity in drawing on the Library’s holdings.
Visit the Library
Due to COVID-19, the Library building is currently closed to all researchers, but we are open online. This is a continually evolving situation so please check back for updates. Please note that response times may be affected as we assist Harvard students and faculty with their remote learning and research needs. We appreciate your patience. During normal operations, however, it is open to the public and welcomes visitors at 3 James Street, in Cambridge, on Monday through Saturday between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM.
Start Your Research
While the Library is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our guide on remote research. Virtual reference services are available via Ask a Librarian, and we encourage you to explore the HOLLIS catalog. The Library has also created research guides to collections. Through these, you can learn how to use research tools like Zotero; read subject guides created especially for Harvard courses; or browse collection highlights by subject.
Search the Catalog
Make the most of your research time with the resources in this section. While no appointment is necessary to use holdings during normal operations, researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the Library in advance because material may be stored offsite and/or have restrictions.
Here, a brief explanation of the tools linked below.
HOLLIS is the Harvard Library’s catalog. Search HOLLIS for articles, books, manuscript materials, media, and more.
With HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, search for letters, photographs, film and video, print items, digital materials, objects, and other primary sources.
HOLLIS Images is the Harvard Library’s dedicated image catalog. It includes content from archives, museums, libraries, and other collections throughout Harvard University.
Use Ask a Librarian to request materials and to confirm availability. To locate materials, use the HOLLIS catalog to start your search. You can limit results to Schlesinger Library holdings in the advanced search mode.
Request Archival Collections has detailed information about what to include when contacting our librarians.
Consult our Research Guides for an introduction by subject to various holdings. The guides are meant to help you begin your research on select topics and are not complete lists of relevant material.
HOLLIS (Library Catalog) HOLLIS for Archival Discovery HOLLIS Images Ask a Librarian Request Archival Collections Research Guides
Ask a Schlesinger Librarian
Virtual reference services are available. Click through to ask a question or make an appointment with a research librarian at the Schlesinger Library. We’re eager to talk about your research needs.