Learn about our collections and locate materials of interest for further research.
Carnegie Institution for Science’s archives are open to researchers by advance appointment only. Contact an archivist to schedule a research appointment. All researchers must complete a Registration Form and agree to abide by Carnegie’s Researcher Rules and Protocols throughout their research visit.
The Huntington Library
In the 1980s, Carnegie deposited a large quantity of rare books, manuscripts, and photographs related to the history of Mt. Wilson Observatory at the Huntington Library. These materials include the papers of Edwin Hubble and other Carnegie Observatories researchers and a collection of over 3,300 photographs taken between 1903, when Mt. Wilson Observatory was founded, and the 1970s. Detailed information about these materials can be found starting on page 34 of the Huntington Collections in the History of Science guide and digitized materials can be accessed through the Huntington’s Digital Library.
National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM)
The Carnegie Embryo Collection and related Carnegie Collection of Embryology are housed at the Human Development Anatomy Center at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
Chesney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes
Records created by the Department of Embryology and its staff held at the Chesney Archives include the Records of the Department of Embryology (1888-1976), the Franklin Mall Collection, and the George L. Streeter Collection.
American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia holds the professional papers of prominent Carnegie biologists including Barbara McClintock, Albert Francis Blakeslee, George Harrison Shull, and George Washington Corner.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives
The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives hold the papers of celebrated Carnegie geneticists Barbara McClintock and Alfred Hershey as well as the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Cold Spring Harbor Administrative Records.
University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
The Desert Botanical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution records are held at the University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections. The Libraries also hold a collection of Forrest Shreve photographs, which document Shreve’s work and the Desert Laboratory.
Arizona Historical Society
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University
Materials documenting Carnegie Institution’s archaeological research in Meso-America can be found at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. These materials include photographs, field notebooks, maps and plans, drawings and paintings, correspondence, reports, and manuscripts documenting the work of S. G. Morley, Karl Ruppert, A. V. Kidder, T. Proskouriakoff, and others at sites such as Chichen Itza and Kaminaljuyu. For more information, see the finding aid for the Records of the Archaeology Division of CIW, 1919-1958.
Library of Congress
The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress holds the correspondence, writings, and research files of numerous Carnegie scientists and administrators, among them Philip Abelson, Vannevar Bush, John C. Merriam, Elihu Root, Vera Rubin, Maxine Singer, Merle Tuve, and Nina Fedoroff.
Good Seeing: A Century of Science at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1902- 2002. James Trefil and Margaret Hindle Hazen. Washington, D.C. : Joseph Henry Press, 2002.
Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. 5 volumes. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004-2005.
v. 1. The Mount Wilson Observatory / Allan Sandage
v. 2. The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism / by Louis Brown
v. 3. The Geophysical Laboratory / by Hatten S. Yoder, Jr.
v. 4. The Department of Plant Biology / by Patricia Craig
v. 5. The Department of Embryology / edited by Jane Maienschein, Marie Glitz and Garland E. A
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.Finding aids and databases
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 2001 and include departmental correspondence, project documentation, building plans, instrument schematics, biographical files, and news clippings. A digital archive of the laboratory's websites back to 2018 is full-text searchable in Archive-It.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Finding aids and databases
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 email@example.com.The Plate Archives
Explore advances in instrumentation in geophysics, atomic physics, and astronomy at DTM and the Geophysical Lab through historical images.
Learn about the notable scientists and research programs from the Geophysical Lab’s first half-century as a leading center for experimental geosciences.
Expanded text: Discover the story of the sailing vessels Carnegie and Galilee and DTM’s magnetic surveys of the world’s oceans in the early twentieth century.