- Can anyone access Historical & Special Collections?
Yes, materials in Historical & Special Collections are open to all researchers regardless of academic affiliation. For access to the Law School Library general collection, please visit the Admission to the Library webpage.
- How do I set up a reading room appointment?
Fill out our appointment request form! Once we have received your appointment request, someone will contact you to confirm both the scheduling and that your requested material is available. In addition to filling out an appointment request form, all researchers must request materials through HOLLIS Special Request.
- Do I need to request items in advance of my visit?
Yes, researchers must request material in advance of their visit as the reading room is open only by appointment. Appointments require two business days advance notice.
Please request your materials through HOLLIS Special Request. For more information, consult our HOLLIS Special Request FAQs.
- Are laptops and scanners permitted in the Reading Room?
Laptops and tablets are permitted; flatbed scanners are not. For further information, please see our reading room policies. There is one public desktop computer available for use, but researchers are not permitted to consult Historical & Special Collections material while seated at the desktop computer.
- Is there wireless access for my laptop?
The entire Law School campus is wireless accessible. Visitors to campus may access wireless Internet by using the “Harvard Guest” network. Please see Harvard Law School Information Technology Service’s detailed information on guest wireless instructions.
- How much storage space is available to researchers?
Each researcher is provided with a small locker for the day. We suggest researchers make arrangements for storing larger items elsewhere, as we cannot be responsible for items that do not fit in the lockers. All bags and jackets must be placed in the locker. For preservation purposes, the Root Room is maintained at a set temperature that at times can feel cold. For your comfort, we recommend bringing a light sweater or sweatshirt.
- Are there specific rules for the handling of materials?
All materials consulted must be handled with great care. Researchers handling materials carelessly will be denied further access to the collections. Learn more about careful handling of special collections materials with the Harvard Library’s 10 Tips for Reading Room Success.
- How should I cite Historical & Special Collections material?
As a courtesy to HSC and to enable others to identify and locate information about its collections, researchers should include a full citation and the following credit when quoting or using images from the collection:
Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections
Here are some citation-credit examples.
- How do I access modern manuscripts?
Please fill out our appointment request form to schedule a time to consult modern manuscripts in our reading room. We require two business days’ advance notice for all appointments in order to retrieve manuscript boxes from off-site storage. All researchers must request material through HOLLIS Special Request in addition to filling out an appointment request form.
If you have questions about modern manuscripts, please email us at email@example.com.
- How much material can I request at any one time?
We can retrieve a maximum of 10 boxes per day per researcher from off-site storage. We typically request that researchers send boxes back before requesting additional boxes.
- Have any modern manuscript collections been digitized or microfilmed?
Yes, many manuscript collections, either in whole or in part, have been digitized and can be viewed online! You can access this material in several different ways depending on the collection:
- Explore our digital collections page for a partial list of digitized material.
- Look for links to digitized content in finding aids. You can search finding aids in both the library catalog, HOLLIS, and in HOLLIS for Archival Discovery.
- Visit the ProQuest History Vault American Politics and Society module, “Law and Society since the Civil War: American Legal Manuscripts from the Harvard Law School Library.” Eleven modern manuscript collections were microfilmed by University Publications of America and later digitized by ProQuest. You must have a Harvard University ID and key (or other access to ProQuest) in order to use this resource remotely.
- Consult manuscript collections available on microfilm at the Harvard Law School Library. These include:
- Louis D. Brandeis Papers, 1881-1966
- Zechariah Chafee Jr. Papers, 1898-1957
- Richard H. Field Papers, 1932, 1942-1978
- Felix Frankfurter Papers, 1900-1965
- Sheldon Glueck Papers, 1916-1972
- William Hastie Papers, 1916-1976
- Albert Lévitt Papers, 1817-1968
- Sir Frederick Pollock Correspondence, 1848-1937
- Roscoe Pound Papers, 1888-1964
- Sacco-Vanzetti Case Records, 1920-1928
You do not need an appointment with Historical & Special Collections to view material on microfilm. The collection is paged by Access Services with a turnaround time of one business day so please plan accordingly. Check out the guide on using microforms at the Harvard Law School Library for more information.
- If a manuscript has been microfilmed or digitized can I still access the original?
No, if a manuscript has been microfilmed or digitized (or if any facsimile is available) researchers must use the digital or microfilm copy.
- Is it possible to have reproductions made?
Requests for digital images are considered on a case-by-case basis. Permission depends upon the physical condition of the material in question, and should not be assumed in advance. On-site researchers may take digital photos to assist with note-taking.
Please refer to our reproduction policies for more details.
- What permissions are required to quote from or publish a manuscript from the Harvard Law Library’s collection?
Please see our Publishing Historical & Special Collections Material policies.
Permission to quote, publish, perform, reproduce, or otherwise make any use of manuscripts not in the public domain must be obtained from the Curator of Modern Manuscripts. Appropriate forms and advice about citation may be obtained from:
Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts
Researchers are reminded that, except in the cases of the collections for which the Library holds copyright (formerly called literary property rights), permission must also be obtained from the holder(s) of this right.
- How should I cite manuscripts?
Publishers, professional journals, and graduate faculties may prescribe their own style. We ask at a minimum that identification consist of the date and title of the item, name of the collection, location in the collection (if applicable), and the name of the repository.
Citations from the Modern Manuscript Collection:
- Roscoe Pound to Louis Brandeis, December 28, 1936, The Papers of Louis Brandeis, Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections, Box 10, Folder 12.
- Report to the Law School Faculty, May 1954, The Papers of Erwin Griswold, Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections, Box 54, Folder 4.
Please consult our citation-credit information for additional examples of citations to Historical & Special Collections material.
- What is HOLLIS Special Request?
HOLLIS Special Request allows researchers to submit requests online to make appointments to come see, or get reproductions of, materials in Historical & Special Collections (HSC). HOLLIS Special Request replaces paper registration and request forms. Many Harvard special collections and archives use HOLLIS Special Request. Once you have created an account, you can use it to request materials from all participating Harvard libraries, and keep track of your requests in a single location. You can:
- Submit requests automatically via links in our online catalog, HOLLIS
- Submit requests before you visit a Harvard special collection or archive
- Submit orders for reproductions including digital scans of Harvard special collections materials
- Track the status of your requests
- Access detailed information about past requests
Create a HOLLIS Special Request account.
- Who can use HOLLIS Special Request?
Anyone who wants to use or request reproductions of materials in HSC or some of Harvard’s other special collections and archives can use HOLLIS Special Request.
- How do I create my HOLLIS Special Request account?
Visit the HOLLIS Special Request registration page to get started. You can also log in to your existing account from this page.
- How do I request materials in HOLLIS Special Request?
Here is a HOLLIS Special Request tutorial on making a reading room request.
- I’m ready to view the materials I’ve requested. How do I make an appointment in HSC’s reading room?
Reading room appointments are available Tuesday – Friday 10 to 5. Submit a reading room appointment request form two business days before you want to come in. A member of our staff will be in touch to confirm your appointment time and the availability of the materials you requested in HOLLIS Special Request. Here is more information about visiting Historical & Special Collections.
- What should I bring to my reading room appointment?
Please bring one of the following forms of identification: Harvard ID; Harvard Special Borrower Card; State-issued driver’s license or state-issued identification card, including a photo and date of birth; or Passport (U.S. or foreign). If you do not have one of these forms of identification, please contact Historical & Special Collections to make individual arrangements in advance of your research visit.
- How do I submit a photoduplication request in HOLLIS Special Request?
Check out this HOLLIS Special Request tutorial on making photoduplication requests. An HSC staff member will review your request and be in touch with you about fees and a timeline. HSC reserves the right to deny reproduction requests due to copyright concerns, donor restrictions, condition of the materials, or other reasons. Learn more about Historical & Special Collections reproductions policies.
- Other questions?
Ask us! firstname.lastname@example.org