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

The institution houses three distinct archives at three locations on the East and West Coasts. Begin your research by reading about the three locations below and reviewing our finding aids and file databases. Contact us with any questions or to make a research appointment. Because of staff limitations, we are unable to make more than a few pages of copies from our files or to carry out research ourselves.

Due to Covid-19, Carnegie’s archives facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Researchers should feel free to contact archives staff who are working from home and who can be reached through the links below.

Carnegie Science Administrative Archives
5251 Broad Branch Road, NW, Washington, Dc 20015

Carnegie's Administrative Archives span 1890 through 2001 and include building history, documentation of Carnegie's numerous research facilities, projects, departments, and programs, records of Carnegie presidents, personnel files, finance and patent records, and trustees materials. The Archives' files may be searched via the Administration File Database link below. The database provides only folder titles. For access to file contents, contact the Archives.

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

The Administrative Archives are open to researchers by appointment from 9:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. Please contact us with any questions or to arrange for your visit at mdrain@carnegiescience.edu or jstrom@carnegiescience.edu

Finding Aids
Administration Files Database

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 may be searched via the links below.  The General Files span 1904 through the 1980s and include departmental correspondence, project documentation, building plans, instrument schematics, biographical files, and news clippings.  The General Files databases provide only folder titles.  For access to file contents, contact the Archives.

The EPL Archives are open to researchers by appointment from 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday. Please contact us with any questions or to arrange for your visit at library@carnegiescience.edu.

Carnegie Observatories Archives
813 Santa Barbara Street, Pasadena, CA 91101

The Carnegie Observatories Archives are housed at the Carnegie Observatories 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.

Carnegie Observatories History
Plate Archive Search Tool (PAST)                                                         

Many Carnegie Observatories archival images of the astronomy facilities at Mount Wilson and the institution's early staff and science are held in the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science Collection (COPC) at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.