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
1530 P St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Carnegie's Administrative Archives are housed at the Carnegie Science headquarters building in Washington, DC. The records 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 or

Finding Aids
Administration Files Database

DTM and Geophysical Laboratory Archives
5241 Broad Branch Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

The DTM and Geophysical Laboratory 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 (founded 1904) and Geophysical Laboratory (founded 1905); records of the research vessels Carnegie (1909-1929) and Galilee (1905-1908); and 60,000 photographs documenting field and laboratory studies of both 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 DTM and Geophysical Laboratory 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

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

The Carnegie Observatories Archives are housed at the Carnegie Observatories building in Pasadena, California. Of note is the Astronomical Plate Archive, consisting of over 200,000 photographic glass plate negatives created between 1892 and the early 1990s using telescopes at Mount Wilson, Palomar, Las Campanas and Kenwood Observatories. The archives also include a collection of photographic prints of deep space, historical photographs of the Carnegie Observatories, including Las Campanas Observatory, and engineering drawings and blueprints of Carnegie telescopes.

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

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.