The Biblioteca Berenson is the library of the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti. The Center, a post-doctoral research institute devoted to advanced study in all areas
of the Renaissance in Italy, came into being in 1961 as the result of the donation to the University by Bernard Berenson, the eminent art historian and critic, of the villa along with his important collection of books, photographs, and works of art.
Although Berenson's library gave primary emphasis to Italian art, it was also celebrated for its extraordinary range, which encompassed the whole of Mediterranean civilization, including classical antiquity and the Islamic world, as well as other selected subjects in Middle Eastern and Oriental Studies.
The scope of the library has been expanded since Berenson's death with substantial additions in all areas relevant to late Medieval and Renaissance scholarship, including history, literature, history of science, and musicology.
The library is composed of ca. 180,000 volumes, of which 1,324 are works published before 1800, ca. 2,500 periodicals of which 622 are currently received, ca. 15,000 art auction catalogs, ca. 12,000 works on microforms.
The Morrill Music Library is composed of ca. 10,000 titles, including a rich collection of printed music scores and early music manuscripts on microfilm, and ca. 1,500 sound recordings. The Asian and Islamic Collection, focusing on the fine arts and archaeology, is composed of ca. 3,500 titles.