Harvard has digitized Virginia Woolf’s photo albums — and you can look at them

Harvard Library

A snapshot of Virginia and Leonard Woolf is among the pictures in the novelist’s photo albums.

By Globe Staff 

In the age of Instagram, photo albums seem so old-fashioned, but who doesn’t enjoy leafing through other people’s memories, especially when the other person is Virginia Woolf?

Harvard’s Houghton Library has had a collection of the novelist’s photo albums since the early 1980s, but now they’re available online so academics and ordinary folks like us can see how the author of “To the Lighthouse” lived and who she was hanging out with. (The answer to the second question includes poets E.M. Forster, William Butler Yeats, and T.S. Eliot, author Thomas Hardy, judge Oliver Wendell Holmes, art critic Clive Bell, and economist John Maynard Keynes, among others.)


The digitized snapshots span from 1890 to 1947 and include pictures of Woolf’s friends, pets, and the gardens on Monk’s House, the 18th-century English cottage where the celebrated writer and her husband, Leonard, lived beginning in 1919. (Woolf died in 1941 when she walked into a nearby river wearing a coat whose pockets she’d filled with stones.)

Some of the photos are labeled, presumably by Woolf, and many aren’t, and they’re in no particular order. You can view them here.