May 19, 2022

Profile: “The Heart of Harvard’s Houghton Library: Despite Being a Soft-Spoken Lover of Books, John H. Overholt is Not Your Typical Librarian”

From The Harvard Crimson:

Despite being a soft-spoken lover of books, John H. Overholt is not your typical librarian.

Overholt’s official title at Houghton Library is “Curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson and Early Books and Manuscripts.” Responsible for almost all of Houghton’s pre-1800 materials, Overholt manages a great deal of the library’s collection.


Overholt has worked with rare books since he was an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. He started at Houghton in 2004, and in June of this year, his role at the library expanded dramatically, as he became responsible for most of the pre-1800 collection.

When making new acquisitions for Houghton, Overholt concentrates on finding unique copies of books –– such as those with annotations from early readers, or mistakes in a first edition printing –– which produce feelings of connection to the people who made and used them in their time period.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (approx. 820 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.