The Mary and David Harrison Institute is dedicated to enhancing knowledge and understanding of American history, literature, and culture from its earliest beginnings to the current day, especially through the use of original sources. By engaging faculty, students, and the public through library programming and outreach, the Institute fosters collaboration and promotes interdisciplinary discourse in its exhibit galleries, study spaces for visiting scholars, seminar rooms, and auditorium. Programming includes exhibit tours, gallery talks, lectures, and symposia, and a visiting scholars program supports primary research associated with the Library’s extensive holdings, especially rare and unique materials held in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.
Themes of special interest to the Harrison Institute include:
- America’s Origins, how interactions between diverse peoples and cultures shaped the emergence of the country and the course of its history;
- America and the World, how American culture has influenced, and been transformed by, other cultures; and
- Collaborations, how creative partnerships – between writers and editors, writers and translators, writers and painters, scholars and librarians, etc. – have affected the development of American letters and art.
New Exhibit Now Open!
Main Floor, Main Exhibit Gallery
Collecting American Histories: The Tracy W. McGregor Library at 75 features rare and significant broadsides, books, prints, and letters that illuminate many aspects of the American experience. Drawn from a collection initially formed by Detroit philanthropist Tracy W. McGregor, and given to the University of Virginia in 1938, the items on display tell stories ranging from the early settlement of Virginia to the Mather family of Puritan ministers; to the clash of European powers over the North American continent; to the diaspora of Native Americans from their ancestral lands; and to the servants and slaves on whose backs the American economy depended.
The exhibition also highlights the philanthropic activities of Tracy and Katherine McGregor, who worked to improve the lives of many Michigan residents, and whose legacy includes ensuring the accessibility of this superlative collection to generations of students and scholars seeking a better understanding of American history.
View the Exhibit Website! - www.library.virginia.edu/mcgregor75