The Harvard Classics

Perhaps the best known classic book anthology of the 20th century was the Harvard Classics (a.k.a Harvard Universal Classics or Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf), compiled by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot in 1909. Published by P.F. Collier and Son, the anthology aimed to provide a complete liberal education in 51 volumes.

The list below is an overview of the works included in the 51 volume anthology. Individual poems are not listed due to sheer volume; instead the poets are listed.

Compared to the Great Books of the Western World series, the Harvard Classics skew more toward poems and historical documents rather than philosophy and science. The Harvard Classics also includes more works outside of western culture for a multicultural flavor. Such works include writings from Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism.

The Harvard Classics set has evolved into several forms over its 100+ year history. Below are exterior and interior images highlighting the main features of three popular editions of the Harvard Classics.

Marked simply as “The Harvard Classics”, this set (copyright 1980) is one of the finest available, complete with gilded page edges, raised ridges along the spine, gold foil decorations and text on deep red covers and spine, red book ribbon, and easily legible font sizes.

Deluxe editions of the Harvard Classics set (here copyright 1937) is slightly less decorative than the newer edition above, but still boasts gold foil coat of arms and text on the front cover and spine upon a very dark green background (sometimes appears black).

The “Collector’s Edition” of the Harvard Classics set (here copyright 1980) displays goal foil decorations on the front and back covers and spine, one full page black and white artwork prior to the main text, gilded page edges, a yellow/gold ribbon, and easily readable font.

Looking to purchase the Harvard Classics set? See what’s for sale our there here: The Harvard Classics. Happy hunting!

  1. His Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin
  2. The Journal of John Woolman, John Woolman
  3. Fruits of Solitude, William Penn
  4. The Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Plato
  5. The Golden Sayings, Epictetus
  6. The Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
  7. Essays, Francis Bacon
  8. Civil and Moral, Francis Bacon
  9. New Atlantis, Francis Bacon
  10. Areopagitica, John Milton
  11. Tractate of Education, John Milton
  12. Religio Medici, Sir Thomas Browne
  13. poems of John Milton
  14. Essays and English Traits, Ralph Waldo Emerson
  15. poems and songs, Robert Burns
  16. The Confessions, Augustine of Hippo
  17. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
  18. Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Furies; Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus
  19. Oedipus the King; Antigone, Sophocles
  20. Hippolytus; The Bacchae, Euripides
  21. The Frogs, Aristophanes
  22. On Friendship; On Old Age, and other letters, Cicero
  23. letters of Pliny the Younger
  24. The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
  25. The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin
  26. Lives, Plutarch
  27. Aeneid, Virgil
  28. Don Quixote, Cervantes
  29. The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
  30. The Lives of Donne and Herbert, Izaak Walton
  31. stories from the Thousand and One Nights, translated by Edward William Lane
  32. Fables, Aesop
  33. Children’s and Household Tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  34. Tales, Hans Christian Andersen
  35. All for Love, John Dryden
  36. The School for Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  37. She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith
  38. The Cenci, Percy Bysshe Shelley
  39. A Blot in the Scutcheon, Robert Browning
  40. Manfred, Lord Byron
  41. Faust; Egmont; Hermann and Dorothea, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  42. Dr. Faustus, Christopher Marlowe
  43. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
  44. I Promessi Sposi, Alessandro Manzoni
  45. The Odyssey, Homer
  46. Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
  47. On Taste; On the Sublime and Beautiful; Reflections on the French Revolution; A Letter to a Noble Lord, Edmund Burke
  48. Autobiography; On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
  49. Characteristics; Inaugural Address at Edinburgh; Sir Walter Scott, by Thomas Carlyle
  50. Life is a Dream, Pedro Calderon de la Barca
  51. Polyeucte, Pierre Corneille
  52. Phedre, Jean Racine
  53. Tartuffe, Moliere
  54. Minna von Barnhelm, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  55. William Tell, Friedrich von Schiller
  56. English essays [anthology]: Sidney to Macaulay
  57. Essays [anthology]: English and American
  58. The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin
  59. The Forces of Matter; The Chemical History of a Candle, Michael Faraday
  60. On the Conservation of Force; Ice and Glaciers, Hermann von Helmholtz
  61. The Wave Theory of Light; The Tides, Lord Kelvin
  62. The Extent of the Universe, Simon Newcomb
  63. Geographical Evolution, Sir Archibald Geikie
  64. The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
  65. Essays, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
  66. Montaigne; What is Classic?, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
  67. The Poetry of the Celtic Races, Ernest Renan
  68. The Education of the Human Race, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  69. Letters upon the Aesthetic Education of Man, Friedrich von Schiller
  70. Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic or Morals, Immanuel Kant
  71. Byron and Goethe, Giuseppe Mazzini
  72. The Histories, Herodotus
  73. Germany, Tacitus
  74. Sir Francis Drake Revived, by Philip Nichols
  75. Sir Francis Drake’s Famous Voyage Round the World, by Francis Petty
  76. Drake’s Great Armada, Captain Walter Bigges
  77. Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s Voyage to Newfoundland, Edward Haies
  78. The Discovery of Guiana, by Sir Walter Raleigh
  79. Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes
  80. Letters on the English, Voltaire
  81. On the Inequality among Mankind; Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar, Jean Jacques Rousseau
  82. Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes
  83. Chronicles, Jean Froissart
  84. The Holy Grail, Sir Thomas Malory
  85. A Description of Elizabethan England, William Harrison
  86. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
  87. The Life of Sir Thomas More, William Roper
  88. Utopia, Sir Thomas More
  89. The Ninety-Five Theses; To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation; On the Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther
  90. Some Thoughts Concerning Education, John Locke
  91. Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists, George Berkeley
  92. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume
  93. The Oath of Hippocrates
  94. Journeys in Diverse Places, Ambroise Paré
  95. On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, William Harvey
  96. The Three Original Publications on Vaccination Against Smallpox, Edward Jenner
  97. The Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever, Oliver Wendell Holmes
  98. On the Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery, Joseph Lister
  99. Scientific papers, Louis Pasteur
  100. Scientific papers, Charles Lyell
  101. “Title, Prologue and Epilogues to the Recuyell of the Histories of Troy”, by William Caxton
  102. “Epilogue to Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers”, William Caxton
  103. “Prologue to Golden Legend”, William Caxton
  104. “Prologue to Caton”, William Caxton
  105. “Epilogue to Aesop”, William Caxton
  106. “Proem to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales”, William Caxton
  107. “Prologue to Malory’s King Arthur”
  108. “Prologue to Virgil’s Eneydos”, William Caxton
  109. “Dedication of the Institutes of the Christian Religion”, John Calvin
  110. “Dedication of the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies”, Nicolaus Copernicus
  111. “Preface to the History of the Reformation in Scotland”, John Knox
  112. “Prefatory Letter to Sir Walter Raleigh on The Faerie Queene”, Edmund Spenser
  113. “Preface to the History of the World”, Sir Walter Raleigh
  114. “Prooemium, Epistle Dedicatory, Preface, and Plan of the Instauratio Magna, etc.”, Francis Bacon
  115. “Preface to the Novum Organum”, Francis Bacon
  116. “Preface to the First Folio Edition of Shakespeare’s Plays”, Heminge and Condell
  117. “Preface to the Philosophiae Naturalis Pricipia Mathematica”, Sir Isaac Newton
  118. “Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern”, John Dryden
  119. “Preface to Joseph Andrews”, Henry Fielding
  120. “Preface to the English Dictionary”, Samuel Johnson
  121. “Preface to Shakespeare”, Samuel Johnson
  122. “Introduction to the Propylaen”, J.W. von Goethe
  123. “Prefaces to Various Volumes of Poems”, William Wordsworth
  124. “Appendix to Lyrical Ballads”, William Wordsworth
  125. “Essay Supplementary to Preface”, William Wordsworth
  126. “Preface to Cromwell”, Victor Hugo
  127. “Preface to Leaves of Grass”, Walt Whitman
  128. “Introduction to the History of English Literature”, H.A. Taine
  129. Selected Poetry of
    • Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Sir Thomas Wyatt
    • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
    • George Gascoigne
    • Nicholas Breton
    • Anthony Munday
    • Richard Edwardes
    • Sir Walter Rayleigh
    • Sir Edward Dyer
    • John Lyly
    • Sir Philip Sydney
    • Thomas Lodge
    • George Peele
    • Robert Southwell
    • Samuel Daniel
    • Michael Drayton
    • Henry Constable
    • Edmund Spenser
    • William Habington
    • Christopher Marlowe
    • Richard Rowlands
    • Thomas Nashe
    • William Shakespeare
    • Robert Greene
    • Richard Barnfield
    • Thomas Campion
    • Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex
    • Sir Henry Wotton
    • Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford
    • Ben Jonson
    • John Donne
    • Joshua Sylvester
    • William Alexander, Earl of Stirling
    • Richard Corbet
    • Thomas Heywood
    • Thomas Dekker
    • Francis Beaumont
    • John Fletcher
    • John Webster
    • William Drummond
    • George Wither
    • William Browne
    • Robert Herrick
    • Francis Quarles
    • George Herbert
    • Henry Vaughan
    • Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Alban
    • James Shirley
    • Thomas Carew
    • Sir John Suckling
    • Sir William D’Avenant
    • Richard Lovelace
    • Edmund Waller
    • William Cartwright
    • James Graham, Marquis of Montrose
    • Richard Crashaw
    • Thomas Jordan
    • Abraham Cowley
    • Alexander Brome
    • Andrew Marvell
    • Earl of Rochester
    • Sir Charles Sedley
    • John Dryden
    • Matthew Prior
    • Isaac Watts
    • Lady Grisel Baillie
    • Joseph Addison
    • Allan Ramsay
    • John Gay
    • Henry Carey
    • Alexander Pope
    • Ambrose Philips
    • Colley Cibber
    • James Thomson
    • Thomas Gray
    • George Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe
    • William Collins
    • George Sewell
    • Alison Rutherford Cockburn
    • Jane Elliot
    • Christopher Smart
    • John Logan
    • Henry Fielding
    • Charles Dibdin
    • Samuel Johnson
    • Oliver Goldsmith
    • Robert Graham of Gartmore
    • Adam Austin
    • William Cowper
    • Richard Brinsley Sheridan
    • Anna Laetitia Barbauld
    • Isobel Pagan
    • Lady Anne Lindsay
    • Thomas Chatterton
    • Alexander Ross
    • John Skinner
    • Michael Bruce
    • George Halket
    • William Hamilton of Bangour
    • Hector MacNeil
    • Sir William Jones
    • Susanna Blamire
    • Anne Hunter
    • John Dunlop
    • Samuel Rogers
    • William Blake
    • John Collins
    • Robert Tannahill
    • William Wordsworth
    • William Lisle Bowles
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    • Robert Southey
    • Charles Lamb
    • Sir Walter Scott
    • James Hogg
    • Robert Surtees
    • Thomas Campbell
    • J. Campbell
    • Allan Cunningham
    • George Gordon, Lord Byron
    • Thomas Moore
    • Charles Wolfe
    • Percy Bysshe Shelley
    • James Henry Leigh Hunt
    • John Keats
    • Walter Savage Landor
    • Thomas Hood
    • Sir Aubrey de Vere
    • Hartley Coleridge
    • Joseph Blanco White
    • George Darley
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lord Macaulay
    • Sir William Edmondstoune Aytoune
    • Hugh Miller
    • Helen Selina, Lady Dufferin
    • Charles Tennyson Turner
    • Sir Samuel Ferguson
    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    • Edward Fitzgerald
    • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    • Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton
    • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    • Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton
    • William Makepeace Thackray
    • Charles Kingsley
    • J. Wilson
    • Robert Browning
    • Emily Bronte
    • Robert Stephen Hawker
    • Conventry Patmore
    • William (Johnson) Cory
    • Sydney Dobell
    • William Allingham
    • George Mac Donald
    • Edward, Earl of Lytton
    • Arthur Hugh Clough
    • Matthew Arnold
    • George Meredith
    • Alexander Smith
    • Charles Dickens
    • Thomas Edward Brown
    • James Thomson
    • Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    • Christina Georgina Rossetti
    • William Morris
    • John Boyle O’Reilly
    • Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy
    • Robert Williams Buchanen
    • Algernon Charles Swinburne
    • William Ernest Henley
    • Robert Louis Stevenson
    • William Cullen Bryant
    • Edgar Allan Poe
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    • John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes
    • James Russell Lowell
    • Sidney Lanier
    • Bret Harte
    • Walt Whitman
  130. American Historical Documents
    • “The Voyages to Vinland” (c. 1000)
    • “The Letter of Columbus to Luis de Sant Angel Announcing His Discovery” (1493)
    • “Amerigo Vespucci’s Account of His First Voyage” (1497)
    • “John Cabot’s Discovery of North America” (1497)
    • “First Charter of Virginia” (1606)
    • “The Mayflower Compact” (1620)
    • “The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” (1639)
    • “The Massachusetts Body of Liberties” (1641)
    • “Arbitrary Government Described and the Government of the Massachusetts Vindicated from that Aspersion”, by John Winthrop (1644)
    • “The Instrument of Government” (1653)
    • “A Healing Question”, by Sir Henry Vane” (1656)
    • “John Eliot’s “Brief Narrative” (1670)
    • “Declaration of Rights” (1765)
    • “The Declaration of Independence” (1776)
    • “The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence” (1775)
    • “Articles of Confederation” (1777)
    • “Articles of Capitulation, Yorktown” (1781)
    • “Treaty with Great Britain” (1783)
    • “Constitution of the United States” (1787)
    • “The Federalist”, Nos. 1 and 2 (1787)
    • “Opinion of Chief Justice Marshall, in the Case of McCulloch vs. the State of Maryland” (1819)
    • “Washington’s First Inaugural Address” (1789)
    • “Treaty with the Six Nations” (1794)
    • “Washington’s Farewell Address” (1796)
    • “Treaty with France (Louisiana Purchase)” (1803)
    • “Treaty with Great Britain (End of War of 1812)” (1814)
    • “Arrangement as to the Naval Force to Be Respectively Maintained on the American Lakes” (1817)
    • “Treaty with Spain (Acquisition of Florida)” (1819)
    • “The Monroe Doctrine” (1823)
    • “Webster-Ashburton Treaty with Great Britain” (1842)
    • “Treaty with Mexico (1848)
    • “Fugitive Slave Act” (1850)
    • “Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address” (1861)
    • “Emancipation Proclamation” (1863)
    • “Haskell’s Account of the Battle of Gettysburg”
    • “Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address” (1863)
    • “Proclamation of Amnesty” (1863)
    • “Lincoln’s Letter to Mrs. Bixby” (1864)
    • “Terms of Lee’s Surrender at Appomattox” (1865)
    • “Lee’s Farewell to His Army” (1865)
    • “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address” (1865)
    • “Proclamation Declaring the Insurrection at an End” (1866)
    • “Treaty with Russia (Alaska Purchase)” (1867)
    • “Annexation of the Hawaiian Islands” (1898)
    • “Recognition of the Independence of Cuba” (1898)
    • “Treaty with Spain (Cession of Porto Rico and the Philippines)” (1898)
    • “Convention Between the United States and the Republic of Panama” (1904)
  131. The Sayings of Confucius
  132. The Book of Job (Bible)
  133. The Book of Psalms (Bible)
  134. Ecclesiastes (Bible)
  135. The Gospel According to Luke (Bible)
  136. The Acts of the Apostles
  137. The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians
  138. The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians
  139. Hymns of the Christian Church [anthology]
  140. Buddhist Writings (I. The Buddha, II. The Doctrine, III. The Order)
  141. The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu)
  142. Mecca Suras (the Koran)
  143. Medina Suras (the Koran)
  144. Edward the Second, Christopher Marlow (drama)
  145. Hamlet; King Lear; Macbeth; The Tempest, William Shakespeare (drama)
  146. The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Thomas Dekker (drama)
  147. The Alchemist, Ben Jonson (drama)
  148. Philaster, Beaumont and Fletcher (drama)
  149. The Duchess of Malfi, John Webster (drama)
  150. A New Way to Pay Old Debts, Philip Massinger (drama)
  151. Thoughts, letters, and minor works, Blaise Pascal
  152. Beowulf
  153. The Song of Roland
  154. The Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel
  155. The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs
  156. The Elder Edda
  157. [Specific to the Harvard Classics] Introduction, Reader’s Guide, Indexes
  158. Lectures on various fields (History, Poetry, Natural Science, Philosophy, Biography, Prose Fiction, Criticism and the Essay, Education, Political Science, Drama, Voyages and Travel, Religion) [anthology].