Harvard Divinity School Library provides scholarly resources and support services for the study of religion at Harvard, seeking to meet and anticipate users’ ever-changing needs. The library staff cultivates a welcoming, user-oriented environment for teaching, learning, and collaboration among students, scholars, and librarians and strives to remain a world-class resource for the study of religion.
A Brief History
Divinity Hall, 1826
Support for the study of religion at Harvard has had a long and important history. Almost three-fourths of the 400 volumes that John Harvard gave to the College in 1638 were theological in nature. Books on religion continued to make up a third to a half of the college’s holdings for the next two centuries. After the Divinity School was established in 1816, duplicates from the College Library were combined with new purchases to form the beginnings of a specialized library for the school. This collection was moved into Divinity Hall upon the latter’s completion in 1826.
Divinity Library, 1887
The collection grew quickly in those early years, due largely to gifts by faculty and alumni (especially Francis Parkman, Convers Francis, Jared Sparks, James Walker, and Thomas Hill) and to the purchase of the library of Prof. G. C. F. Lücke of Göttingen (made possible by a gift from Col. Benjamin Loring). In 1887 the Divinity Library received a home of its own in a new fire-safe building constructed next to Divinity Hall.
In 1910 Harvard Divinity School and Andover Theological Seminary formed a partnership and agreed to combine their collections in a common library. Housed in the new Andover Hall, which was built by Andover Seminary on Francis Avenue in 1911, it became the Andover-Harvard Theological Library. When the Harvard-Andover educational partnership was dissolved in 1926, HDS acquired Andover Hall, and Andover Seminary's deposits remained in the library under the terms of a continuing agreement.