Project Background

Houghton Library, Harvard University’s largest rare books and manuscripts repository, is home to hundreds of thousands of materials relating to history across the world. Houghton’s collections related to Black history range from the 18th century through today, but have historically been difficult to discover amongst all the other material. This collection brings together a curated collection of materials ranging from the Early Republic through Reconstruction.

In the summer of 2020, under the leadership of Digital Collections Program Manager Dorothy Berry, Houghton Library put a year-long pause on its digitization projects to focus on curating a digital collection of materials relating to African American history and culture. Houghton’s collections span from the earliest written materials on papyrus to cutting edge 21st century book arts, and while our digitization has run the gamut, we have not historically centered Black history. This project is a first foray into actively sharing our rich collections related to Black experiences from the 18th through early 20th century.

View the digital collection and the original source materials here: Houghton Library Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom (SAEF) Project.

Please review the SAEF Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the collection itself, how its materials were selected, contextual information about specific collection items, and other topics.

Featured Dataverses

In order to use this feature you must have at least one published dataverse.

Publish Dataverse

Are you sure you want to publish your dataverse? Once you do so it must remain published.

Publish Dataverse

This dataverse cannot be published because the dataverse it is in has not been published.

Delete Dataverse

Are you sure you want to delete your dataverse? You cannot undelete this dataverse.

Advanced Search
Add Data

Sign up or log in to create a dataverse or add a dataset.

Share Dataverse

Share this dataverse on your favorite social media networks.

Link Dataverse
Reset Modifications

Are you sure you want to reset the selected metadata fields? If you do this, any customizations (hidden, required, optional) you have done will no longer appear.