Research the Special Collections


The Andover-Harvard Theological Library website provides online access to more than 1,400 finding aids (collection guides) by keyword. You may also wish to search HOLLIS or search HOLLIS for Archival Discovery (a catalog of archival resources from many Harvard libraries, including AHTL).

To browse Andover-Harvard finding aids by collection type, please visit the Manuscripts and Archives page of this website.

Search HOLLIS (Books and Pamphlets)

Items in the rare book collections may be searched using the HOLLIS catalog, and are designated by the prefix, “Historical Collections.” It is also possible to browse or search within the Andover-Harvard rare book collections exclusively.

To request an item for use in the Reading Room, select “Request Item” and follow the prompts.

"Request item" link in HOLLIS

New users will be prompted to create a HOLLIS Special Request account. Andover-Harvard staff will contact you when your materials are ready to use, and to set the day and time of your visit.

Bookshelf of beautiful rare books

Access to Special Collections

All materials in AHTL’s Special Collections are available for research to students, faculty, visiting scholars, and others with interest in these materials. No letters of introduction are necessary, though researchers must register for a HOLLIS Special Request account and present a photo ID.

To request a group visit to view Special Collections materials please contact library staff at least one week in advance of your planned arrival.

Special Collections staff are available to help identify materials relevant to particular research interests.

Special Collections materials do not circulate and may only be used within the Reading Room.

  Photograph of rare books and archival collections displayed for a class visit

Teaching with Special Collections

Special Collections supports teaching and learning by hosting class visits where students encounter primary source materials relevant to the curriculum.

We encourage instructors to schedule a pre-class meeting with a librarian to discuss goals for the session and finalize the materials to be used. Hands-on instruction in using and handling special collections is also provided.

Students are welcome to use special collections for papers and research projects, and staff is available to collaborate in identifying collections that complement course topics.