A Collection of Altered States

Fun facts from this morning’s research:

Harvard has on deposit “the world’s largest private collection of material documenting altered states of mind,” The Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

The archive was compiled and donated (well, loaned) by an investment advisor(Julio Mario Santo Domingo), whose interests “centered on sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” In addition to the 50k+ print and audiovisual materials held by Harvard’s libraries, Santo Domingo also “formed a major Rock and Roll Collection (now at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland)” and owned “the world’s largest collection of opium pipes.”

This is his bookplate, as displayed on the collection description website:

this book kills fascists

Appropriately, “[t]he Santo Domingo Collection is not physically together in one location,” but rather distributed across the university and the virtual world because it just can’t be contained, man. (Happily, that also means that Harvard’s diligent librarians have scanned many items and made them publicly accessible – so the collection is a great online resource if you’re looking for 19th-century works on opium, say).

If you’re interested in learning more, see the collection description on the Houghton Library website, search the HOLLIS catalog, or watch the Modern Books and Manuscripts Blog.