Schlesinger Library exterior


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.

Search the Catalog


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Fund your Research

Opportunities for Researchers

The Schlesinger Library offers a variety of research grants to support new scholarship on women, gender, and sexuality.

Grants for Researchers

Opportunities for Students

Carol K. Pforzheimer Student Fellowships provide funding to Harvard undergraduates to do research in the Schlesinger Library's collections.

Grants for Students

Opportunities for Educators

Teachers in grades 6–12 can apply for support for research in our collections connected to work in their classrooms.

Grants for Educators

Hear Black Women’s Voices

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Visit the Library

The Schlesinger Library’s Reading Room is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Lia and William Poorvu Gallery is open to all visitors, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. All visitors must read and abide by current Harvard Radcliffe Institute policies.

Plan your Research Visit

Start Your Research

The Schlesinger Library’s Reading Room is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Lia and William Poorvu Gallery is open to all visitors, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

If you are interested in making an appointment, please read the access policies below and contact us via Ask A Librarian

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.

Research Tools

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 submit research questions as well as queries about Library policies and procedures, to schedule a research consultation, and to confirm availability of collections. To locate materials, use the HOLLIS catalog to start you search. You can limit results to Schlesinger Library holding in the advanced search mode.

Use HOLLIS Special Request to order Schlesinger materials for use in the Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room. HOLLIS Special Request is available to Harvard and non-Harvard researchers and can be used at any participating Harvard library or archives. For more information on how to create, manage, and navigate the Harvard Special Request tool, see the HOLLIS Special Request guide.

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 HOLLIS Special Request Research Guides

Selections: News from the Schlesinger Library

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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.

How can we help you?


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News & Ideas