The Wolbach Library staff is dedicated to providing timely information
and research services to the staff at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center
for Astrophysics (CfA), the Harvard University and Smithsonian Institution
communities, and the international astronomical community.
The Library combines the collections of the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) Library and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Library, forming one of the world's preeminent astronomical collections. The joint collection is known as the John G. Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The HCO collection began as the result of the tradition of exchange of scholarly works with the other observatories in the mid-1800s, and expanded further as commercially published materials became available. The SAO Library dates back to about 1959, when items were selected from the collection of astronomical material in Washington, DC and moved to Cambridge, MA.
In 1975, the two libraries, which had been housed in separate parts of the Observatory, were merged into the Wolbach Library in the Perkin Building. In 1992, the administration of the HCO and SAO collections was merged under one director and staff.
View a list of Directors of the SAO, HCO, and CfA.
View the obituary of John Gray Wolbach, 1917-2000.