Protestant Christianity

Works on all aspects of Protestantism are collected in depth at Andover-Harvard Theological Library, while the major collections in medieval and non-Protestant church history are maintained at Widener Library. The collection is especially strong in post-Reformation continental Protestantism, with special emphasis on pietism, mysticism, and free thought. The collection represents all western European languages. The library also purchases some titles on Protestantism published in the Slavic countries. Materials from the Far East that are not selected by the Harvard-Yenching Library are also acquired.

Theology and Ethics

Works in Protestant theology and ethics are collected in depth at Andover-Harvard, while the major research collection in Catholic dogmatics, moral theology, and Catholic social action is at Widener. Considerable duplication is found, however, in the older sections of the two collections and some duplication continues today, as certain items need to be available in both libraries. In fact, Andover-Harvard has acquired more titles on Catholicism in recent years to meet the needs of the substantial numbers of Catholic students at the School. In general Andover-Harvard does not collect material in the medieval period in any depth and, again, Widener holds the major research collection.

Denominations and Sects

The emphasis at Andover-Harvard in this area is on the liberal traditions, e.g., Unitarian, Universalist, and Congregational, and the library collects comprehensively in these areas. The library also collects in depth the predecessors of these modern denominations and the so-called nonconforming bodies: Mennonites, Quakers, Anabaptists, Moravians, and Arminians. The library also collects in some depth works on denominations whose materials are not available elsewhere in New England, i.e., Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Reformed Church publications. Materials for certain other denominations may be found at other Boston Theological Institute libraries.

The library also collects in some depth material on the ecumenical movement.

Homiletics and Practical Theology

This is not an area where Andover-Harvard has ever collected in depth. Although the collection has been greatly improved in recent years, it is not a research-level collection.

Collections on liturgy and ritual are divided between Andover-Harvard and Widener. The significant Treat Collection of Catholic Liturgy makes Widener's holdings of pre-twentieth-century liturgy outstanding, and this is an area in which Widener continues to collect. 

Andover-Harvard has a respectable hymnology collection, thanks to a gift from the American Antiquarian Society of many nineteenth-century hymnbooks and because the Loeb Music Library at Harvard transferred its hymnal collection to Andover-Harvard. Therefore, the historical collection is much better than adequate, and the library continues to collect additional hymnbooks. Church music in general, however, will be found at the Loeb Music Library.

The area of religious education has never been emphasized; the collection represents only what is needed for instruction. Except those from the Unitarian Universalist denomination, curriculum materials are not collected.

Andover-Harvard does not collect in depth primary source material on missions; the emphasis has always been on the theory and the theology of missions. Harvard has depended in this area on the collections of the Yale Divinity School, Union Theological Seminary (New York), and the Princeton Theological Seminary. The one outstanding missions collection at Harvard is the collection of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The Board's manuscripts are held at Houghton, while printed books, pamphlets, and reports may be found at Houghton, Widener, and Andover-Harvard. Andover-Harvard in particular has a large collection of pamphlets printed in vernacular languages by the Board's mission presses located throughout the world. Microform collections in Widener (housed in Lamont Library) also provide extensive primary resources in this area. Widener Library is also very strong in nineteenth- and twentieth-century materials for areas that are now called developing nations, simply because Widener's historical collections are for the most part unrivaled.