Beyond core collections that support all aspects of the Divinity School’s multi-religious curriculum, the Andover-Harvard Theological Library boasts special strength in three areas that reflect long historical commitments of the Divinity School: Protestant Christianity, Unitarian Universalism, and Biblical Studies. AHTL is the library of record at Harvard in these subject areas, collecting broadly and deeply in English, German, French, and other European languages.
Works from multiple perspectives on all aspects of Protestantism are collected in depth with special emphasis on history, theology, and ethics. The collection is especially strong in post-Reformation Protestant pietism, mysticism, and liberalism in Europe and North America.
AHTL serves as the official archive and library of record for the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Beacon Press, and their predecessor bodies. The collection includes books, hymnals, periodicals, curricula, pamphlets, sermons, personal papers, audio and video recordings, registries and proceedings, church records, photographs, and many other types of material. The library also collects in some depth resources pertaining to related traditions, such as Congregationalism, and to other “nonconforming” traditions, such as the Mennonites, Quakers, Anabaptists, Moravians, and Arminians.
AHTL bears primary responsibility in the University for collecting books, serials, and other materials in biblical studies. This includes biblical texts and commentaries and works on biblical criticism, theology, hermeneutics, archaeology, and the history and cultures of the biblical and intertestamental periods. Translations of the Bible are collected for research and historical purposes only. New translations in multiple languages will be purchased, while new printings or expensive editions or reprints may not.
Other Areas of Special Emphasis
AHTL intensified its collecting in Women’s Studies when the Divinity School initiated its Women's Studies in Religion Program in 1973. Over the past three decades the library has also purchased widely in studies of the relation of religion to ethnicity and to LGBTQ studies. These collections are not intended to be comprehensive but to represent fully the many associated issues. The library also collects in some depth material on the ecumenical movement, on interreligious communication, and on religion and peace-making.