Skip to content

Materials in Historical & Special Collections are open to everyone.

Request a Reading Room Appointment

Temporary Closure: Historical & Special Collections reading room

Due to an unforeseen facilities project, the Historical & Special Collections reading room will be closed to researchers July – August 2024. Thank you for your understanding.

The Historical & Special Collections’ Reading Room, the Root Room, is open by appointment only. Appointments are available Tuesday-Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm.

Materials must be requested at least two business days in advance, including most modern manuscript collections. Researchers may request up to 10 boxes in advance of their visit.

For minimally processed modern manuscript collections, requests must be made at least ten business days in advance. Researchers may request up to 5 boxes. For multi-day visits, we may be able to accommodate access to additional boxes. Please email with questions.

Please check Historical & Special Collections’ homepage for upcoming closures.

HOLLIS Special Request (HSR)

All reading room users must have an account in HOLLIS Special Request (HSR). This system is where you manage reading room requests and reproduction requests for items at many special collections and archives at Harvard. If you are new to HSR, this HSR guide will help you get started.

Once you have submitted your request in HOLLIS Special Request, a member of our staff will be in touch to confirm your appointment time and the availability of the materials you requested.

Please bring one of the following forms of identification with you:

  • Harvard ID
  • Harvard Special Borrowers Card
  • State-issued driver’s license or state-issued identification card
  • Passport (U.S. or foreign)

Library Services for Persons with Disabilities

The Root Room is located on the 4th floor of Langdell Hall. If you require disability-related accommodations, please contact Access Services at or (617) 495-3455 in advance of your visit.

Reading Room Policies & Handling Guidelines

Check out our Reading Room Policies to learn more about what you can bring into the reading room and guidelines for how to handle the materials.

Not sure how to handle special collections materials? These 10 Tips for Reading Room Success can help you preserve Harvard’s special collections and archives.

Directions & Parking


The Harvard Law School has written instructions for travel by car, but we recommend taking public transportation. For more detailed information regarding public transportation, see the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) website.


On-street metered parking in Harvard Square is scarce. Visitors may park on campus by purchasing a permit through the Harvard Campus Services website. Here is more information about visitor parking on campus.

Purchase a daily visitor parking permit.

The closest lots to the Law School Library are located at 10 Everett Street and 52 Oxford Street.

Holding Classes at the Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections

Historical & Special Collections (HSC) at the Harvard Law School Library welcomes classes from Harvard and other institutions to use its collections both physically and virtually. To ensure the best experience for your class, and to allow us time to gather materials, reserve a room, and arrange for staffing, please contact us as soon as you know of your plans. We require a minimum of two weeks’ notice, and request as much notice as you are able to provide. To schedule a class visit, please contact:

Historical & Special Collections

We look forward to working with you!