An Infinite Diversity of Mind and Character: Uncovering the Transformation of American Education at 19th-Century Harvard


Studied as a group, the 53 collections of personal papers of Harvard faculty document the 19th-century transformation of Harvard���and American universities in general���from a regional seminary into a modern research university, providing a new model for undergraduate education, as well as professional study in law, medicine, and divinity. The scope of faculty research expanded rapidly, with results shared broadly in the US and abroad. The collections document innovations in new or changing disciplines and fields of research, such as anthropology (Frederic W. Putnam), astronomy (Edward Pickering), English literature (Barrett Wendell), fine arts (Arthur Kingsley Porter), American history (Albert Bushnell Hart), geology (Nathaniel Shaler), and zoology (Edward Laurens Mark). The collections also trace the emergence and internationalization of Harvard��s museum and library collections as preeminent resources for research (William Dandridge Peck and Justin Winsor). Of great importance is correspondence (the ���scholarly communications�� of the age) between Harvard faculty and colleagues at peer institutions, such as the Boston Public Library, American Museum of Natural History (NY), Smithsonian Institution, US Geological Survey, and the Field Museum in Chicago. The collections are primarily paper-based, including correspondence, research notes, drafts of papers, and publications, as well as photographs, drawings, field notebooks, botanical specimens, and ephemera.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Harvard University Library


  • Robert Darnton

Collection Size

288 cubic feet

Date Range

1800 - 1923

Geographic Scope

All regions of the United States as well as Europe (UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy), Bermuda, Russia, Turkey, India, and the Far East.