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Research Collections: About Research Collections

About Research Collections

The Archives and Special Collections holdings include a wide range of materials—from manuscripts (e.g. faculty papers, division records, Caltech presidential records) and photographs to audiovisual materials, books, fine art, and artifacts.

While the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was founded by Caltech researchers in 1936, the Archives and Special Collections is not the official repository of JPL's archival material. For information on JPL's collections, see the JPL Archives.

Additional ways to access our collections
Online Archive of California: Collection guides from throughout California
ArchiveGrid: Finding aid index from over 1,400 institutions
Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine: Member institution catalog
JSTOR: Digital collections
Calisphere: Digital collections from throughout California
Digital Public Library of America: Digital collections from across the United States
Internet Archive: Digitized audio and video from archival collections sponsored by California Revealed
YouTubeDigitized film reels from archival collections, including Theodore von Kármán
Aisle of shelving with archival flip top boxes

Collection Guides

Search the archives catalog of collection guides, inventories, and finding aids that describe the faculty papers, institutional records, photographs, artifacts, and audiovisual material available for research.

Document on flatbed scanner

Digital Collections

Browse digitized collections online. Collections include the Caltech Images Collection, an assortment of over 10,000 photographs, negatives, and drawings from various Caltech Archives collections. Also available are the nearly complete manuscript collections of Donald A. Glaser, George Ellery Hale, and Paul MacCready.

Two cassettes on top of oral history interview book

Oral Histories

Access the transcripts of over 200 interviews of members of the Caltech community. A portion of physical copies of oral histories can only be viewed in the Archives reading room and are non-circulating. For additional interviews, see the Caltech Heritage Project.

Big T yearbooks from many years

Campus Publications

Browse titles published by and for the campus community, including course catalogs, student newspapers, and Big T yearbooks. The printed editions of the publications can be viewed in the Archives reading room.

Rare books with Newton Principia Philosophiae


Use LibSearch to discover the collection of rare books and contemporary books related to the history of science and technology at Caltech. Books and all other materials from the Archives and Special Collections are non-circulating.

Screen capture of previous Caltech library webpage with book logo

Web Archive

Access websites created by Caltech, its faculty, and students through the Internet Archive’s Archive-It. The Archives began regularly capturing Caltech’s web presence in 2017.