Rare Books and MBL Archives

Hours: 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday

Location: Agassiz Room, Lillie Building Room 101

Contact: archives@mbl.edu; Phone: (508) 289-7341


The Marine Biological Laboratory Archives is a part of the MBLWHOI Library. The MBL Archives contain institutional records dating from 1888. Included in the archives are Directors' papers; scientific papers of a number of MBL-affiliated researchers; an extensive photograph collection dating from the MBL's inception that includes class photos and scenes of the MBL campus and surrounding areas; and a complete collection of Rudolf Leuckart's Teaching Wall Charts. 


The Rare Books Room is a climate-controlled environment containing approximately 5300 volumes of works from the 16th - 20th centuries covering such diverse topics as early taxonomy, evolution, genetics, geology, physical oceanography, and natural history.  Housed within the Rare Books Room is an extensive collection of books on oceanic voyages and expeditions encompassing journeys all around the world, including the polar regions. 


Research work using the Rare Books or MBL Archives is restricted on-campus to the Agassiz Room. Researchers are asked to complete a Research Request Form prior to arrival.  Library staff will make arrangments for any reproductions - self service copy or scanning is not available. Access restrictions are present on some archival materials.  For further information, see the detailed policies for the Rare Books and MBL Archives.


MBL Archives Collections and Finding Aids 


HPS Repository/Embryo Project/History of MBL


In collaboration with the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University, the Library has worked to develop a DSpace repository for multiple users to archive materials related to a wide variety of projects in the history and philosophy of science.  Drawing upon these materials, two major websites are supported.  The Embryo Project Encyclopedia records and contextualizes the science of embryos, development and reproduction.  MBL’s great history for over a century of hosting the Embryology course and researchers from all over the world provides the encyclopedia with a wealth of information.  The History of the Marine Biological Laboratory website highlights the rich history of the institution.  A number of tools are being designed to support both the repository and the reuse of data within the repository.