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Harvard Radcliffe Institute has shifted to primarily virtual operations and continues to monitor the coronavirus pandemic. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates.

Schlesinger Library

the Library

Spiraling staircase in the Schlesinger Library
Stairwell inside the Schlesinger Library. Photo by Kevin Grady

The Schlesinger Library is the leading center for scholarship on the history of women in the United States. As part of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, we are devoted to catalyzing new research and to sharing it broadly with scholars and an engaged public.

Our staff is committed to incorporating best practices in instruction, digital scholarship, and community engagement, as the Library advances a more complete story of human accomplishment. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history. Open to all, the Library is also committed to deepening its holdings by and about African American, Asian American, Latina, and Native American women as well as women of all political philosophies and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Library by the Numbers

Manuscript Collections 4,275
From personal papers to organizational records
Journals 22,146
Including a world-class collection of food journals and more than 250 periodicals on a variety of topics related to women and girls
Photographs 180,000
From daguerreotypes to Polaroids

What We're About

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.

Acquisitional Priorities Collections Events Exhibitions Schlesinger Library Policies
20180507 Schlesinger Library 0238 Radcliffe Kg

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.

Get Hours, Directions, Planning Suggestions

Special Projects

Learn more about the Library's special initiatives and projects.

Long 19th Amendment Project Portal #metoo Digital Media Collection Voting Matters Suffrage School
Photograph of Catt, Upton, and Shuler being driven along a street lined with people, as Park and Brown march alongside the car carrying banners.
Letter to Lucy Stone from Susan B Anthony_August 2, 1857_courtesy of Blackwell Family Papers Schlesinger Library

Help Transcribe Our Collections

Anyone can transcribe, and your efforts will help make this material more searchable and accessible in the future. Sign up for a free account with the crowdsourcing transcription service FromthePage, and start transcribing correspondence from the papers of Maud Wood Park, Susan B. Anthony, and Miriam Van Waters (a prison reformer who worked extensively in Framingham, Massachusetts). To learn more, watch the “Sign Up and Start Transcribing” tutorial, available on YouTube.

Sign Up for a Free Account Watch the Tutorial FromthePage Tutorials Playlist

Discover the Schlesinger Library

Photograph of women suffrage buttons
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