2019 Philip Hofer Prize Winners

From left to right: Luke Kelly (Harvard College '19), Khin-Kyemon Aung (HMS/HBS '20), and Angela Wheeler (GSD)

From left to right: Luke Kelly (Harvard College ’19), Khin-Kyemon Aung (HMS/HBS ’20), and Angela Wheeler (GSD).

On April 5, 2019, three Harvard students were named winners of the Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art. The Hofer Prize was established by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. ’52, L.L.B. ’55, to encourage student interest in collecting. It is awarded annually to a student or students whose collections of books or works of art best reflect the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination exemplified by Philip Hofer, A.B.’21, L.H.D. ’67. Hofer was the founder and first curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library and secretary of the Fogg Art Museum.

This year, Angela Wheeler, a second-year student in the Graduate School of Design, and Luke Kelly, Harvard College Class of ’19, were co-awarded first prizes of $3,000 each. Khin-Kyemon Aung, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School ’20, was awarded second prize of $1,500.


The Castañé Collection Series: “Two: Officer’s Photo Album”

portraits of Ernst Banaski, owner of a photo album in the Castañé Collection.

All images: Meine dienstzeit, circa 1941-1942. José María Castañé collection of war-related photograph albums, MS Span 183. Houghton Library, Harvard University.

By Michael Austin, Manuscript Cataloger, Houghton Library

In my first post on Houghton Library’s holdings from the Castañé collection of documents and objects relating to European conflicts of the 20th century, I focused on two particularly poignant items: a ration card issued to a young Polish girl early in the Second World War and an armband worn by a “Kapo” at an unspecified Nazi concentration camp.

In this second post, I’ll be examining another category of material strongly represented in the collection: photograph albums created by military personnel in the field.


All Work but Some Play: Jaret Berman, Houghton Library, and the School-to-Work Program

By Vicki Denby, Manuscript End Processor, Houghton Library

Cambridge Rindge and Latin student, Jaret Berman, helps create a custom folder for a scrapbook.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin student, Jaret Berman, helps create a custom folder for a scrapbook.

For the sixth consecutive year, Houghton Library had the opportunity to hire a paid intern from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School (CRLS) to learn about our work by helping with collections end-processing, which among other activities includes labeling and housing items. Through the School-to-Work program, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers (HUCTW) coordinates with the Cambridge Office of Workforce Development, Harvard schools and departments, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School to provide job training as well as learning opportunities for high school students.


Accessing Archives in the 19th-Century Atlantic World

By Derek Kane O’Leary

I have everywhere found Archivists the least competent of human beings to judge of the character or value of historical papers; and if I had not been favored with the aid of higher powers, both in Paris and London, my enquiries would have been to little purpose. There Archivists look upon themselves as the special guardians of the good name of forgotten statesmen, and their families, and are particularly tender in whatever touches the reputation of foreign governments, friends or foes; in other words they have a high opinion of their own consequence, and have a mortal aversion to every thing that may disturb the repose of their offices to giving trouble either to themselves or their clerks.

–Jared Sparks to Henry Wheaton, Jan. 29, 1844 (Jared Sparks Personal Papers, MS 147h, Houghton Library, Harvard University)

Historian Jared Sparks leans against a pillar.

Historian and Harvard President Jared Sparks (1789-1866) in a photograph by John Adams Whipple, ca. 1860-1864. FAL85448, Special Collections, Harvard Fine Arts Library

When Jared Sparks vented to Henry Wheaton in the winter of 1844, he was midway through four decades spent peering into American and European archives. Like many historians in the antebellum U.S., as a young man he had descended from the Unitarian pulpit in order to pronounce another narrative–also transcendent, and likewise based on the close analysis of primary documents. At the helm of the North American Review, as the editor of George Washington’s and other revolutionary leaders’ papers, and later while a Harvard history professor and president, Sparks pursued his abiding obsession to comprehensively document and narrate the American Revolution. More than any other American in the early U.S., he envisioned an American archive, which would gather materials from throughout the nation–indeed, from different corners of the Atlantic–in order to tell a unifying national story.


Collections Now Available for Research: December, 2018 and January, 2019

Houghton Library is pleased to announce the following collections are now described online and accessible in the reading room.

Carl Chiarenza papers (MS Am 3177) – processed by Adrien Hilton

Nabokov family papers (MS Russ 140) – processed by Magee Lawhorn and Irina Klyagin

Harvard Theatre Collection dance scene photographs (TCS 36) – processed by Farraj Alsaeedi, with the supervision of Betts Coup

Collection of Sumneriana (MS Am 3258) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Collection of diaries detailing one man’s experiences with prostitutes (MS Am 3260) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Collection of broadsides and newsletters printed by Yugoslav Partisan survivors (MS Slavic 25) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Pelagie Green papers (MS Thr 1871) – processed by Melanie Wisner

Harvard Theatre Collection theatrical portrait prints (visual works) (TCS 43) – processed by Betts Coup