This collection of elementary and secondary textbooks covers most subject areas from agriculture to zoology, and contains approximately 45,000 volumes. The collection concentrates on materials published between 1800 and 1985, though there are a few pre-1800 items. Most of the textbooks are American imprints, but a representative collection of European imprints is included. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of reading, history, geography, languages, mathematics and science.
The collection is cataloged in HOLLIS. Over 10,000 readers, histories, geographies, social studies, science and mathematics textbooks from the Historical Textbooks Collection have been microfilmed under grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The HOLLIS record for each title filmed contains a filming note and gives the reel and master negative numbers. The reels are available for use in Gutman Library whenever the library is open (see Hours). Outside institutions may borrow these through Interlibrary Loan, and copies of reels may be purchased through the Harvard University Library's Imaging Services (617-495-3995).