California Institute of Technology
Welcome to the Caltech Archives


The Caltech Archives
was formally established in 1968 to serve as the collective memory of the California Institute of Technology. Our mission is to preserve and make accessible the institutional records, personal papers, documents, artifacts and pictorial materials that tell the school's history.

The Archives' unique research collections in the history of science and technology range from the time of Copernicus to today. They are available to the campus community for instructional and research purposes, as well as to qualified non-campus users by appointment.

The Nobel Physicists at Caltech -a Long History
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Images above are from the Caltech Image Archive, an online, searchable database of thousands of images.



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The Archives Reading Room is open by appointment only to Caltech ID holders.
For research assistance please contact archives[at]

The Becoming Caltech exhibition is CLOSED. Information about the planned opening of the exhibition can be found here.


In the News

Arden Albee oral history now online

Albee showing a with Mars Observer model

Read our 2017 interview with Arden Albee, Caltech professor of geology and planetary science, emeritus, and a key figure in lunar and Martian exploration. Prof. Albee served as JPL chief scientist and led multiple NASA missions. (He is shown above with a model of the Mars Observer). Posted 05-10-2021

Now online 6 oral histories collected between 1979 and 1985

These oral histories offer a firsthand view of the lives and careers of students, faculty, and administrators with different backgrounds:

J. Harold Wayland (enginering), Howard G. Smits (engineering), Herbert L. Hahn (trustee), Earl Mendenhall (BS 1918)
Harvey W. House (BS 1920), Wesley L. Hershey (Caltech Y, shown here with a group of students). Posted 04-30-2021

Contribute a COVID-19 experience

The Caltech Archives is collecting the experiences of the Caltech community on campus, at home, and elsewhere during this unprecedented time. Your contributions will document how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our community. Learn more.

image In The News archive



Talk of the Archives

Becoming Caltech, 1910-1930 PRESENTATIONS

The whole series is now available online

A century ago, a small institution called Throop Polytechnic Institute dramatically reinvented itself, transforming from a manual arts academy to an engineering school, then expanding into a research institute. In 1920, it became the California Institute of Technology.

In summer 2020, Caltech archivists gave a series of livestreamed presentations on the science, engineering, architecture, and community life of early Caltech. Here is the link to video of these presentations.


image previous "Talk of the Archives"

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