Oliver Wendell Holmes

The library is named for Oliver Wendell Holmes, Phillips Academy class of 1825. A physician, poet, and literary figure, Holmes was professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard University, 1847-1882, and dean of Harvard Medical School, 1847-1853.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

He was author of “Old Ironsides” (1830), a poem in tribute to the USS Constitution, “The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever” (1843) and “The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table” (1858) among many other works.

Holmes was a member of the Social Fraternity, a literary club at Phillips Academy, and, later, of the famous Saturday Evening Club, a group of Boston intellectuals who met monthly at the Parker House during the mid 19th century.

Saturday Evening Club, 1853

In addition, he is credited with inventing the stereoscope, a device used to render photographs in three dimensions.

Stereoscope invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Special Collections in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library holds some of his memorabilia, correspondence and books. These include the stereoscope he invented in the 1860s, the original manuscript of “The School-Boy,” a poem that he wrote for and delivered at the Phillips Academy centennial in 1878 and some of the medical books that he owned. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. gave this collection to Phillips Academy in 1930. Related collections are at the Library of Congress and Houghton and Countway Libraries at Harvard University.

Researchers are welcome to contact Archives and Special Collections staff (archives@andover.edu) to schedule an appointment to see the collection.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Library || Phillips Academy