Dedication of the Houghton Library for the housing of Harvard's rare books is scheduled for tonight and tomorrow, climaxing 17 months of building and recurrent delays in opening.
The only addition to the Yard in the last decade, the new library fulfills the University's need for a suitable location for its treasure items. The six-story Georgian building in the east corner of the Yard has been widely acclaimed as the nearest perfect existing structure for its purpose, even surpassing the National Archives in Washington.
Originally scheduled for completion last July, the Library was delayed by defense and war priority rulings and the opening ceremonies planned for January 10 had to be postponed. The building is now finally completed and half the 260,000 volumes which will ultimately be shelved in it have been placed in the stacks.
Tonight's ceremonies will highlight the two-day dedication procedure with addresses to an invited audience of 300 by President Conant and donor Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. '29 in the new reading room. Earlier a small dinner will be held at the President's house and tomorrow from 2:30 to 6 o'clock a reception will be held for members of the Faculty, friends of the Library, and their wives. Roy E. Larsen '21, president of Time, and Sir Ronald Campbell, British Minister to the United States, will attend.
Students and the general public will not be admitted to the Library until Monday morning, and even then certain study rooms will be restricted to exclusive use by students.
Treasures on View
Not only will the structure provide for the protection and preservation of the delicate volumes but the glass cases and lighted, dust-free stacks enable scholars and the curious to see for the first time the Harvard treasures. The fluorescent lighting and comprehensive air-conditioning system allow the books to be virtually out in the open.
Exhibits of printing and the graphic arts have already been arranged in the Exhibition Room and the room given by Philip Hofer '21, Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts. In the Oval Lobby collections of works by Milton, Donne and Mather are on exhibition. The ancient records of the University placed there include the sole remaining volume of the original donation given the embryonic College by John Harvard in 1638. The remainder of that collection was destroyed in the fire of January 24, 1764.
Receive Keats Collection
Most impressive of the additional books and collections in the building at this time is Houghton's own collection of John Keats. Ranked as a foremost bibliophile and holding the position of Curator of Rare Books in the Library of Congress, Houghton possesses one of the most extensive Keats' collections. This will now be on deposit in the Library and, combined with the older Amy Lowell collections, forms a macon far all students of the English poet.
Lavishly decorated and modernistically finished, the structure's parior-like studies and reading rooms contrast sharply with the cold brazenness of the Widener rooms, and the painted, gently-lit stacks, spacious and dirt free, are unlike the older, dingy-looking shelves of the mother structure.
Only three of the building's six floors appear above ground. Two floors are devoted solely to stacks and cabinets of baked enamel while the others include a variety of offices, repair shops, and reading and exhibition rooms