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Harvard College Library
Charging Records
Manuscript, 1836–37
UAIII 50.15.60, Box 28
Harvard University Archives
"Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to please, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader, his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind."
—From Walden: "Reading"
The Harvard University Archives holds the documentary history of Harvard's libraries, including this charging record for Henry David Thoreau of the Harvard Class of 1837.

Undergraduates and faculty had a range of sources for reading material—the Harvard College Library, libraries of Harvard literary and social clubs, and their own personal libraries—though the extent of the latter depended on the wealth of the student or faculty member.