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Over 120 years of history

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Archival research support

Overview

Established in 1902 as one of the first privately funded research organizations in the United States, Carnegie recognizes the importance of its documentary heritage and is committed to making its collections available for public access.

The institution houses three distinct archives at two locations on the East and West Coasts. Read about the three archives below. Review our finding aids and folder databases and explore our digital collections. Contact us for use permission requests or to schedule a research appointment.

For Researchers

Archives collections storage shelves

Administration Archives

5251 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, DC 20015

Carnegie's Administration Archives span 1890 through 2001 and include building history, documentation of Carnegie's numerous research facilities and departments, papers of Carnegie presidents, personnel files, finance and patent records, trustee materials, and publications-related records and photographs.

Historical Carnegie publications, including the Carnegie Monograph Series, annual Year Books, and Carnegie newsletters are also maintained at the Administration Archives.

The Administration Archives are open to researchers Monday through Friday by advance appointment only. Contact us with any questions or to arrange for your visit at mdrain@carnegiescience.edu or jstrom@carnegiescience.edu

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Archival materials

Earth and Planets Laboratory Archives

5241 Broad Branch Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

The Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) Archives are housed in the Abelson Building library on Carnegie’s Broad Branch Road campus in Washington, DC. The Archives embrace the administrative records of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (1904-2020) and Geophysical Laboratory (1905-2020); records of the research vessels Carnegie (1909-1929) and Galilee (1905-1908); and 60,000 photographs documenting field and laboratory studies of the departments. Norman L. Bowen, Oliver H. Gish, Frederick E. Wright, and Vera C. Rubin are among the prominent scientists whose personal papers and photographs are preserved in the Archives. The central administrative records (“General Files”) of DTM and the Geophysical Laboratory, which can be searched through the file databases, span 1904 through the 1980s and include departmental correspondence, project documentation, building plans, instrument schematics, biographical files, and news clippings.  

The EPL Archives are open to researchers by appointment from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please contact us with any questions or to arrange for your visit at library@carnegiescience.edu.

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Plate vault

Carnegie Observatories Archives

813 Santa Barbara Street, Pasadena, CA 91101

The Carnegie Observatories Archives are housed at the Carnegie Observatories office building in Pasadena, California. Included in the Observatories Archives is the world’s second largest glass plate collection, consisting of over 200,000 glass plate negatives. The Plate Archive includes spectra, direct object images, and solar plates taken between 1892 and 1994 using telescopes at the Mount Wilson, Palomar, Las Campanas, and Kenwood Observatories. The Observatories Archives also include historical photographs of Observatories’ staff and facilities, telescope log books, vintage lantern slides used in history and astronomy lectures, Carnegie astronomer memorabilia, positive photographic prints of plate images, engineering drawings of Carnegie telescopes, and blueprints of the Observatories’ historic Santa Barbara Street building.

Supervised access to the Observatories Archives is available to researchers by appointment. Please contact us with any questions or to arrange for your visit at swhitten@carnegiescience.edu.

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