Assistant Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts — Harvard Library, Cambridge, MA

Harvard University

Assistant Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts
Harvard College Library

Job Summary

Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by end of day on June 19, 2023.

Houghton Library seeks an Assistant Curator to support managing, building and sharing the Library’s Printing and Graphic Arts (P&GA) collection. Reporting to the Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts, the Assistant Curator performs a range of administrative, outreach, collection-development, and book-arts functions. Part of a highly visible and active department, the Assistant Curator collaborates with all areas of the Library including Public Services, Technical Services, Public and Scholarly Programs, and other curatorial departments.

The successful candidate will possess strong subject knowledge in at least one area of strength in the P&GA collection, and will, ideally, also bring expertise in an area of printing and graphic arts outside of the collection’s current strengths. The successful candidate will also possess the capacity to master over time the broad range of formats, subjects, and time periods represented in the P&GA collection, and the flexibility required to develop facility in the numerous skillsets used in curatorial work.

The Department of Printing and Graphic Arts was founded in 1938 by legendary curator, collector, and connoisseur Philip Hofer. The department holds original artifacts from all periods illustrating the book arts and the materiality and historical development of the book, whether manuscript or printed. Its strengths reside mainly in European and American traditions of manuscript and printed book illustration, printing technologies, typography, calligraphy, book design, and early photography. In addition to facilitating teaching and research based in the collection, the department administers a vibrant set of programs including the Frances and Philip Hofer lecture series, the Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art, workshops on letterpress printing, and other activities core to the department’s mission and spirit.

The Assistant Curator will be an active participant in the department’s wide-ranging work, including P&GA’s core initiatives:

•increasing the collection’s visibility online and in the Harvard community

•expanding the P&GA printing studio operations and programming

•diversifying the collection by acquiring materials in underrepresented areas, including works by creators from underrepresented communities and geographical regions, examples of lesser-known and underground print technologies, and artifacts of printing and graphic arts influenced by digital technologies

Houghton Library has recently joined with the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Fine Arts Library, Harvard Film Archive, and Harvard University Archives to create Archives, Arts, and Special Collections of Harvard Library, a new administrative unit currently planning integrated approaches to public services and technical services for archives and special collections across the portfolio.

Position Description


•Assists in the acquisitions program of P&GA, supporting the curator by reviewing, researching, and evaluating potential purchases and gifts.

•Provides general administrative support for the department, including managing gift paperwork and maintaining collection and administrative files, in conjunction with a student assistant.

•Collaborates with faculty and instructors, and with staff in the Public Services Department, to provide instruction for undergraduate and graduate classes, orientation sessions, and other related educational activities using Houghton collections.

•Answers reference inquiries and serves on the Houghton reading room consultation desk.

•Promotes the P&GA collection by organizing and presenting outreach events for Harvard affiliates and the public; developing content for Library webpages; providing tours and public presentations; and contributing to the department blog and the library’s other social media platforms, in collaboration with Scholarly and Public Programs staff.

•Organizes exhibitions and develops programming in conjunction with Scholarly and Public Programs staff.

•Assists the Curator in operating the Houghton Printing Studio, including teaching and developing hands-on workshops; maintaining equipment and type collections; and tracking and ordering supplies.

•Represents P&GA in selected collaborative projects with the Technical Services unit in areas such as accessioning, cataloging, processing, and digitization.

•Serves on Library and University committees as appropriate; contributes actively to professional organizations and shares research performed in the collection through presentations and publication.

•Actively contributes to the Department of Printing and Graphic Art’s efforts to improve equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism (EDIBA) in all areas of work.



•Responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising a student assistant.


Basic Qualifications

•Advanced degree relevant to working with the Printing and Graphic Arts collection.

•Minimum two years of work experience.

•Experience working hands-on with rare books, prints, photographs, or works on paper in an academic, work, or art-making environment.

•Reading knowledge of at least one foreign language.


Additional Qualifications and Skills


•Preference for work experience in a research library or other cultural heritage setting.

•Preference for reading knowledge of a non-Roman foreign language.

•A demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism and to serving the needs of a diverse population.

•Evidence of a strong service orientation and demonstrated ability to work effectively with faculty, students, library colleagues, and the public.

•Hands-on experience with letterpress, intaglio, and other printing processes.

•Ability to work or interest in working with the department’s collections in non-European languages.

•Experience in classroom instruction, particularly involving special collections materials.

•Strong technology skills and an enthusiasm for adopting new technologies and systems that expand access to collections and facilitate their use in research and teaching.

•Experience with a variety of library systems and applications.

•Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

•Attention to and appreciation for detail.

•Ability to thrive within a complex and changing work environment.

•Knowledge of scholarly communication trends.


Physical Requirements


•This position includes lifting and moving materials weighing up to 40 pounds and pushing heavily loaded book trucks.

•Work is performed in an area with library materials and printing equipment that may contain allergens or irritants such as dust and mold, and requires working with lead type and solvents.

Working Conditions

•This position is based on-site in Cambridge, MA. There may be an opportunity for a flexible or hybrid work model compliant with Harvard University flexwork policies.

•Work location is responsive and subject to change based on business needs.

•Support of departmental and library programs and teaching may require some weekend or evening hours.


We invite you to visit Harvard’s Total Rewards website to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

•Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.

•Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.

•Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.

•Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.

•Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.

•Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.

•Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.

•Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.

•Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.


Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University’s mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support. Today, Harvard Library’s holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University’s faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting our web-site and about the Harvard University community at this web-site.

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

Job Function

USA – MA – Cambridge

Houghton Library

Time Status

00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

Department Office Location
USA – MA – Cambridge

Work Format
Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Apply Here.