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 CLOSED until further notice.
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In the News

Now online 4 new oral histories.

Our interviews with physicists Stanley E. Whitcomb and William Ralph Smythe, chemist Joseph B. Koepfli and administrator and English lecturer L. Winchester Jones are now online.

Read the new oral history with Marshall H. Cohen.

Caltech Professor of Astronomy, emeritus, gives a firsthand overview of his life and career here.

Now online 4 new oral histories.

Our interviews with physicists Ronald Drever and David Goodstein, engineer Frederick Lindvall, administrator and English lecturer Charles Newton are now online. Read more about our oral history program here.

The George E. Hale collection is online!

George Ellery Hale (1868–1938) founded not only Caltech, but also the world’s largest telescopes. We’ve digitized his papers for the 150th anniversary of his birth.

image In The News archive



Talk of the Archives

Becoming Caltech: Building a Research Community, 19101930



The exhibit will be closed until April 6; on that date we will review whether to extend closure. This decision was made out of concern for the health of our community as a social distancing measure in light of COVID-19.


A Caltech Archives special exhibition on Caltech in the 1910s and 1920

In the 1910s and 1920s, Pasadena college Throop Polytechnic Institute dramatically reinvented itself, first focusing its curriculum on engineering, then expanding into a research institute. On February 10, 1920, Throop's trustees acknowledged this transformation by changing the institution's name. Throop became the California Institute of Technology.

A hundred years later, this exhibit tells the story of how Caltech's research, architecture, and campus life were transformed by new visions, rapid growth, and World War I.

February 10, 2020 through December 23, 2020.

Additional information here.


image previous "Talk of the Archives"

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