Photo by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff PhotographerPhoto by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff Photographer


The Schlesinger Library building will be closed for renovation from November 2018 through early September 2019. During this time, researchers will be able to access the Library’s collections, by appointment, via a temporary Reading Room located in Fay House, Radcliffe Yard.

The Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room will be closed from Saturday, October 27, through Tuesday, November 6, 2018, as we move into the temporary location. During this time, there will be no access to the Library’s collections and virtual reference services will be limited.

If you’re planning a visit between now and Friday, October 26, please contact us for more information about collections availability.

2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the Library and—in celebration of this occasion—we hope you can join us for some of the anniversary  events.

With the finest collection of resources for research on the history of women in America, the library's holdings are strong in:

      • Women's rights and feminism;

      • Health and sexuality;

      • Work and family life;

      • Education and the professions; and

      • Culinary history and etiquette.

Open to the public, the library welcomes all researchers who wish to use the collections, view exhibitions, and attend events. As one of the special libraries within the Harvard Library, specific policies may apply.

History of the Library

  • 1908: The library is built at Radcliffe College with half the funding provided by Andrew Carnegie; it is considered a Carnegie library.
  • 1943: Radcliffe College accepts the archive of material assembled by Maud Wood Park that documents woman suffrage; it becomes known as the Woman's Rights Collection.
  • 1940s and '50s: The Woman's Rights Collection becomes the Women's Archives at Radcliffe College, and new materials are added throughout this period.
  • 1965: The library continues to expand and is renamed to honor Harvard University historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. and his wife Elizabeth Bancroft Schlesinger.
  • 1970s: The library's collections grow rapidly, especially with the contributions from members of the feminist movement.
  • 2018: In 2018, the Institute is celebrating the Schlesinger’s 75th anniversary.
  • Today: The library's collections continue to expand and include a larger variety of topics and new formats, including "born digital" materials.