From two distinct schools, Radcliffe College for women (est. 1879, chartered 1894) and Harvard evolved in the 1970s into coordinate colleges with shared facilities and professors; all degrees were granted by Harvard. In 1999, Radcliffe officially merged with Harvard College, which became a coeducational undergraduate institution. At the same time the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard was established. The university also has graduate schools of divinity (1816), law (1817), arts and sciences (1872), education (1920), business (1908), and design (1936). Harvard also has schools of medicine (1782), public health (1922), and dental medicine (1941). The school of public administration (1936) was reorganized as the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1966.
Harvard's original library was founded in 1638 with a bequest of 400 books from John Harvard. By the early 21st cent., the university had more than 80 libraries with numerous special divisions. Its main branch is the Harry E. Widener Memorial Library (1915). The largest university collection in the world, the libraries house more than 15 million volumes as well as papers, manuscripts, incunabula, prints, digital resources, and other materials. Among the university's many museums are the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Fogg, Sackler, and Busch-Reisinger museums of art. Harvard is closely associated with numerous research facilities, including the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Arnold Arboretum, Harvard Forest, a center for Byzantine studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., and a center for Italian renaissance studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.