With 1.4 million volumes in more than a dozen languages, the Harvard-Yenching Library has become the third-largest library at Harvard, after Widener and Harvard Law School’s. It is also the largest academic library for East Asian studies in the Western world.
Nearly 140 years after a Chinese scholar gave the small collection of books that established the collection, today the Harvard-Yenching’s holdings include 836,523 works in Chinese; 348,873 in Japanese; 179,169 in Korean; 23,979 in Vietnamese; 53,367 in various Western languages; 4,265 in Tibetan; 3,455 in Manchu; and 494 in Mongolian.
Its most prized pieces are found on the third floor of the red brick building on Divinity Avenue, in the special collections office and rare book reading room. There, students and the curious can find comprehensive coverage of history, language and literature, philosophy and religion, and fine arts, as well as archival materials, manuscripts, prints, photos, scrolls, and rubbings in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Western languages, and minority languages such as Manchu, Mongolian, Tibetan, and Naxi.