Featured Articles

A Calligraphic Duel

Fernando Zobel de Ayala

In this highly entertaining essay (HLB 9.1, Winter 1955), Fernando Zobel de Ayala describes an 18th century manuscript held by Houghton Library that testifies to “one of the most grotesque chapters in the history of calligraphy.” On February 3, 1758, a newspaper in Madrid printed a notice by an anonymous figure, who announced he possessed singular skill and talent at calligraphy, and penmanship “so neat and accurate as to cause the copy to be mistaken for the original.” He then challenged anyone in Europe to best him.

... Read more about A Calligraphic Duel

Introducing the Plant Humanities Lab

Gouache painting of a purple and yellow orchid, labeled "Paphinia Grandis."
Caroline Maschek (1857–1938), Paphinia grandis, Columbien, Rchb. Fil., 1885, 24 x 31.5 cm, gouache on tinted Bristol paper, dated “Janner 885.” Photo credit: Joseph Mills.

Humans rely on plants for our most fundamental individual and social needs: from food, medicine, and construction, to aesthetic pleasure and the solace brought by our encounters with them in the natural world. Although we think of plants as rooted in place, their global travels over the millennia offer fascinating pathways into the past and illuminate some of the most burning issues of today, including legacies of colonial violence and displacement.... Read more about Introducing the Plant Humanities Lab

Washington Writing in the Archival Space of Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s The Linwoods (1835)

 

I find myself in the situation nearly of a new beginner; for, although I have not houses to build (except one, which I must erect for the accommodation and security of my military, civil, and private papers, which are voluminous and may be interesting), yet I have scarcely any thing else about me, that does not require considerable repairs.... Read more about Washington Writing in the Archival Space of Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s The Linwoods (1835)

The Best-Laid Plans: A Letter from the Editors

A sheep with its left foreleg raised, below a banner with the inscription "PERSEVERE."
Detail, The bookplate of ABA [?]. From the Houghton Library Bookplate Collection, Harvard College Volume II. https://www.flickr.com/photos/houghtonmodern/8672600056/in/album-7215763...

In fall 2018, the current editing team of Harvard Library Bulletin began the project of converting the journal from a subscription-based print publication to online and open access. During those golden autumn days, we looked towards a hazy but pleasant future when the project was over and we could turn our attention to collaborating with colleagues to further the work of the journal.... Read more about The Best-Laid Plans: A Letter from the Editors

Publisher's Note

Close-up of books on four shelves, in disarray.
William Henry Fox Talbot, “Scene in a Library [detail],” 1840. Salt print. Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography, Houghton Library, Harvard University. http://id.lib.harvard.edu/images/olvwork165073/catalog

Relaunching Harvard Library Bulletin (HLB) as an online journal presents us with a paradox. As a publication, it is at once a vestige of earlier eras of academic librarianship and scholarly communication, while, in its online form, it will use new approaches and sensibilities to promoting collections... Read more about Publisher's Note

The 2002 Philip Hofer Prize for Book and Art Collecting

Katharine Olson

The title page of Chwedlau Gwerin Cymru, Wedi Eu Dethol A’u Haddasu, gan William Rowlands, M.A., Ysgol Ramadeg
An illustration of a mermaid in an old Welsh tale, from Chwedlau Gwerin Cymru, a book of Welsh folk legends. Image by Katharine Olson, reprinted from HLB New Series 14.1 (Spring 2003), p. 12.

The Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art was established by Harvard alumnus Melvin R. Seiden in honor of Philip Hofer, also a Harvard graduate, and founder of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library and secretary of the Fogg Art Museum.... Read more about The 2002 Philip Hofer Prize for Book and Art Collecting

Among Harvard's Libraries: The Coming Revolution in Knowledge

Michael Crichton

Based on a 1991 address given by novelist Michael Crichton (1942–2008) at the Meeting of the Overseers’ Committee to Visit the Harvard Library, this conversational essay (HLB New Series 3.1, Spring 1992) is at once an autobiographical sketch of how technology impacted his experiences and workflows as a writer; a survey of recent and new technologies available to researchers; and a prediction of how libraries would have to cope with the surge of information made possible by computing and electronic storage. During his long career, Crichton wrote a great many...

Read more about Among Harvard's Libraries: The Coming Revolution in Knowledge

Animal Pleasures: Popular Zoology in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England

Harriet Ritvo

A wood-cut engraving of a hyena standing on a hill with the silhouettes of two people in the distant background.
Thomas Beckwith (1753–1828). Engraving of a hyena, A general history of quadrupeds (1820). Ernst Mayr Library Special Collections, Harvard University. https://hollis.harvard.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?context=L&vid=HVD2&...

In this article (published in HLB 33.3, Summer 1985), Harriet Ritvo writes that prior to the seventeenth century, people’s understanding of animals was highly symbolic and constructed largely through their imaginations... Read more about Animal Pleasures: Popular Zoology in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England

  •  
  • 1 of 2
  • »