Contact Special Collections

Contact information

Special Collections
Andover-Harvard Theological Library 3rd Floor
45 Francis Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

Special Collections are generally available from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday with the exception of University holidays.

Because most material is stored offsite, we strongly recommend that you make an appointment at least two business days in advance of your visit. Walk-in requests may be accommodated based on staff availability and the location of materials but cannot be guaranteed.

See also the AHTL staff directory.

Reproduction requests

Researchers may take photographs (no flash) and use the onsite scanning equipment as material’s condition permits or at the discretion of the archivist.

Researchers requiring high resolution photographs suitable for publication may place requests using the Harvard Library Special Collections Request account. There is a fee for this service.

Remote researchers may request a small number of low-resolution images to be sent by email, to be completed as department staffing allows.

Special Collections staff will also supply photographs of title pages (and other distinguishing features) of rare books.

Permission to publish

Andover-Harvard Theological Library (AHTL) is unable to supply permission to publish works unless AHTL or Harvard University is the copyright holder. We cannot supply permission to publish in any other circumstances.

If your intended use of AHTL collection items falls within fair-use limitations as specified in U.S. copyright law (17 USC § 107), you do not need our permission. We cannot determine for you whether or not fair use applies to your intended use.

For permission to publish from collection material for which AHTL or Harvard University does hold copyright, the following terms and conditions apply:

  • For quotations that fall outside of fair use (for commercial or non-commercial uses), we will supply permission to publish. No fee is charged. This includes using materials for dissertations submitted for a degree at an academic institution.
  • You must cite to the material properly and include the following language:
    ”© President and Fellows of Harvard College [YEAR], Andover-Harvard Theological Library”
  • The library makes no representation that it is the owner of the copyright or literary property of any unpublished manuscript.

Permission granted by AHTL or Harvard University is non-exclusive and does not remove the author’s or publisher’s responsibility to guard against infringement of rights that may be held by others (examples: the author, transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors of the author).

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Harvard University, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting ownership of the copyright or literary property.

See also the Harvard Library Policy on Access to Digital Reproductions of Works in the Public Domain.

Preferred citation format

Rare books and pamphlets:

[Author/Title/Date/Imprint.] [Collection, call number] Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University.

Archives and manuscripts collections:

[Description of item]. [Collection name]. bMS xxx (x). Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University.

Donating materials

The library collects non-active records related to the Unitarian Universalist tradition, as well as the records of other religious groups, organizations, and people, including HDS faculty papers.

For more information about the library's collecting guidelines and about preparing your materials for donation, review our downloadable PDF guide to donating materials.

We will also consider donations of books, but we are not able to provide appraisals. To learn more about rare books in general, see the website Your Old Books. Please contact Special Collections ( or 617.998.1424) if you are interested in donating materials to this department.