Keepers of Memory

HLS 200

Keepers of Memory


The Harvard Law School Library serves not only as a repository of legal material for research, teaching, and learning, but as a keeper of the Law School’s collective memory.

Photographs, student notebooks, and institutional publications help document the history of the school and the values, interests, traditions, and activities of Harvard Law School community members.

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Material created by individual students and student organizations reflects changing demographics and diverse voices present in the historical narrative. Other records in the collection document both long-standing tradition and challenges to institutional power.

The format of this material has changed quickly over the last 20 years. Materials that warrant preservation are no longer just on paper—they include websites, blogs, digital photos and video, and many other rapidly changing formats. Responding to these new formats has required staff to approach preservation in completely new ways. As the material that documents our shared memory is increasingly created in digital formats, our researchers’ ability to learn from these sources using new text analysis, data mining, visualization, and as-yet unknown techniques is nearly boundless.

Harvard Law School Student Organizations, Publications, and Commitment to Social Justice

Student organizations are a vital part of the Harvard Law School community and reflect the diverse backgrounds, values, and interests of the Law School’s students.


Harvard Law School Library History

Beginning with 584 titles in 1820, the Harvard Law School Library of today is the largest academic law library in the world, with over two million volumes, thousands of linear feet of manuscripts, and an ever expanding amount of digital material. Here are a few examples of the Library’s growth over time.

KM Worm's Eye View