title image Batman, Stephen, d. 1584. A Booke of the Coppies: of Letters, Libells & Outher Inventions of Men: manuscript, [before 1584]. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Harvard College Library. Library Charging Records, 1762-1897. Harvard University Archives, Harvard University. Manstein, Cristof Hermann, 1711-1757. Memoirs of Russia. Thomas Carlyle’s copy. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Palmerín of England, by Francísco de Moraes. John Keats’s copy. Houghton Library, Harvard  University. Vickroy, T. R. (Thomas Rhys), b. 1833. A Fonetic Furst Redur. Widener Library, Harvard University. Whittier, Helen Augusta, 1846-1925. Album, 1891. Schlesinger Library, Harvard University. Goodrich, Samuel G. (Samuel Griswold), 1793-1860. Peter Parley’s Little Reader. Gutman Library, Harvard University. Keller, Andreas, fl. 1693. Solariorum et Horologiorum Inscriptiones: manuscript, 1680-1693.  Houghton Library, Harvard University. Hancock, John, 1671-1752. Commonplace book: manuscript, 1687. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Beale, Thomas. The Natural History of the Sperm Whale, 1839. Herman Melville's copy. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Hancock, John, 1671-1752. Commonplace book: manuscript, 1687. Houghton Library, Harvard University. Vickroy, T. R. (Thomas Rhys), b. 1833. A Fonetic Furst Redur. Widener Library, Harvard University. Royce, Josiah. The Conception of God, 1897. William James’s copy. Houghton Library, Harvard University Hancock, John, 1671-1752. Commonplace book: manuscript, 1687. Houghton Library, Harvard  University. Open Collection Program quote: Reading has become one of the hottest subjects in the humanities and the social sciences. The nature of readership is especially intriguing now that so much of the act of reading has shifted from the printed page to the computer screen--Robert Darnton,Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library
Robert Darnton
Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor
and Director of the University Library

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History is an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. For Internet users worldwide, Reading provides unparalleled digital access to a significant selection of unique source materials:

  • personally annotated books owned by John Keats, Herman Melville, Hester Lynch Piozzi, and others
  • William Wordsworth's private library catalog
  • commonplace books used by Joseph Conrad, Washington Irving, Victor Hugo, and more
  • records of the Harvard College Library that reveal the reading activities of Emerson, Longfellow, and Thoreau
  • historical textbooks that document the principles, and some of the biases, in reading instruction from the 18th to the early 20th centuries
  • more than 250,000 pages from 1,200 individual items from the Harvard collections, including 800 books and 400 manuscript selections

For researchers, teachers, and students who may not have ready access to extensive historical collections, Reading provides an inspired opportunity to participate more fully in this rapidly expanding research area.

Reading is made possible with generous support from Arcadia.