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SUB-FONDS Identifier: HUD 3684 Library

Phi Beta Kappa library books, 1740-1854 .


This inventory lists books that once formed a part of the library of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Harvard.


  • 1740-1854


Physical Description

Extent is approximate.

Researcher Access

Due to the fragile condition of many of these volumes, handling restrictions may apply. All volumes are housed off-site.


13 cubic feet (approximately 300 volumes (83 titles))

This collection of books once formed a part of the library of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

History of the Phi Beta Kappa Library Books

The Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Massachusetts Alpha, was established in 1781, making it the third oldest chapter of the organization. During the early 19th century, the chapter maintained a library in Holworthy Hall . As use of the library declined, the chapter eventually lost its "Library Room," and in 1855 the books were given to the Hasty Pudding Club , to the Harvard Natural History Society , and to the Harvard College Library . The University Archives, at the time a department within the College Library, received the PBK books as part of its holdings of historical records of associated organizations. The complete contents of the PBK library and the original selection criteria are unknown, but the Archives' subset offers a suggestion of what academically-inclined Harvard students may have read.

Related Material

  1. Gilmore, Gerald Flanders. "The Phi Beta Kappa Library", Harvard Alumni Bulletin, 4 June 1937, HUK 137.
  2. Phi Beta Kappa Catalogue of Library Donations to 1834, HUD 3684.749
  3. Phi Beta Kappa Library Catalogue, 1834, HUD 3684.750

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 March 31.

Phi Beta Kappa. Massachusetts Alpha (Harvard University). Phi Beta Kappa library books : an inventory
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

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