The Widener Library, or more correctly, The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, which is Harvard University's "flagship" library, is an incredibly wonderful, three-million-books-on-fifty-miles-of-shelves library, that would not exist if the RMS Titanic had not struck an iceberg around 11:35 p.m. on April 14, 1912. When the RMS Titanic, four days into its maiden voyage, hit an iceberg and sank two hours and forty minutes later, early on April 15, 1912, one of the 1,517 victims of the tragedy was Harry Elkins Widener, of the Harvard Class of 1907. Because of his love of books, Harry had planned to donate his own personal collection of books to the University; but due to his untimely death he never got the chance to do this. His mother, Eleanor Elkins Widener though, made his dream more of a reality than he could ever dreamed of, by giving the gift of the Library that opened in 1915 in his name as her memorial to her lost son.
The Widener Library appears in two of H. P. Lovecraft's Tales, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," and "The Dunwich Horror."
In "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," it is said that, "During October Ward began visiting the libraries again, but no longer for the antiquarian matter of his former days. Witchcraft and magic, occultism and daemonology, were what he sought now; and when Providence sources proved unfruitful he would take the train for Boston and tap the wealth of the great library in Copley Square, the Widener Library at Harvard, or the Zion Research Library in Brookline, where certain rare works on Biblical subjects are available."
And in "The Dunwich Horror," semi-Human Wilbur Whately tries his best to gain access to the book he desperately needs as described in Lovecraft's words, "He had heard, meanwhile, of Whateley's grotesque trip to Cambridge, and of his frantic efforts to borrow or copy from the Necronomicon at the Widener Library. Those efforts had been in vain, since Armitage had issued warnings of the keenest intensity to all librarians having charge of the dreaded volume."
Photo taken by Will Hart on 21-August-1990.