While most of the material in Historical & Special Collections is rooted in the world of adults, children do make appearances, sometimes in unexpected ways. Even the businesslike manuscript collections of Harvard Law School Faculty that are primarily comprised of memos and professional correspondence offer fascinating and delightful glimpses of the creator’s youth and family life.
Exploring the lives of children through the collection, however, is not always a light-hearted romp. A darker side of childhood can be seen in the photographs and art work of children in refugee camps, chilling trial broadsides, and sobering reports of the inner workings of a Massachusetts state reform school. While some of these items represent the evolution of child welfare, others are a sad reminder of the struggles children still face today in refugee camps and juvenile detention centers.
The work of the Harvard Law School community to address the concerns of children can be found in the collection as well. HLS students have volunteered their time to support children in local communities and individual faculty members have advocated for children.
The exhibit draws on a variety of media: manuscripts, printed works, photographs, and children’s art work, dating from the late-eighteenth century through the twentieth century.
This exhibit was curated by Jane Kelly and Mary Person and was on view in the Caspersen Room, Harvard Law School Library, April - July 2017.