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


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

Since all Library collections are now stored off-site and seating in the temporary reading room is limited, advance notice of at least 3–4 business days is required. Appointments can be made via our Ask a Librarian form.

The Schlesinger Library will complete the final phase of its renovation project between August 10 and September 2. As the collection will be in transit and staff will be moving locations, the Library’s Reading Room will be closed and services to researchers will be largely unavailable from August 10 to September 7. The Library will return to its routine schedule, Monday–Saturday, 9 AM–5 PM, on Monday, September 9. We regret this inconvenience to researchers and look forward to welcoming you in our newly renovated library. If you have questions, please contact us at

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.