The Harry Elkins Widener Library, commonly known as Widener Library, located at 31 Harvard Yard, is the centerpiece of the 15.6 million-volume Hard University Library system, the largest university library system in the world. Built with a gift from Eleanor Elkins Widener, it is a memorial to her son, Harry, Class of 1907 and victim of the Titanic disaster. The library, designed in the Beaux Arts style by Julian F. Abele, one of first prominent African American architects, of Horace Trumbauer & Associates, first opened on June 24, 1915. By the late 1930's, Widener Library had reached capacity, and the school built several new satellite libraries and from 1999 to 2004, underwent an extensive renovation. Today, the 320,000 square foot brick building houses 57 miles of bookshelves and 3 million volumes, including one of the few remaining perfect copies of the Gutenberg Bible.
Harvard University (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College), a private Ivy League university, was established in 1636 by the colonial Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the first corporation chartered in the United States and oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The university currently comprises ten separate academic units and has the largest financial endowment of any school in the world.
Harvard Yard, a twenty-five acre grassy area, constitutes the oldest part and the center of the campus of Harvard University. Geographically Harvard Yard is bordered to the west by Massachusetts Avenue and Peabody Street, the north by Cambridge Street, the northeast by Broadway, the east by Quincy Street, and the south by Harvard Street and Massachusetts Avenue. It contains thirteen of Harvard College's seventeen freshman dormitories, as well as four libraries, five buildings of classrooms and academic departments, and the central administrative offices of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the university. The western third of Harvard Yard, which opens onto Massachusetts Avenue at Johnston Gate, is known as the Old Yard.
Harvard Yard National Register #73000287 (1973)