Image Archive

Our online Image Archive of over 10,000 photographs documents Caltech’s history and consists of historic and contemporary images of Institute life. It includes images of faculty, staff, trustees, notable visitors, and other affiliated people, along with campus buildings, laboratories, events, and student activities. Also included in our collection are photographs of scientific apparatus and artifacts and fine art, as well as illustrations and prints reproduced from Caltech’s rare book collection in the history of science.

Digital reproductions of images may be requested for both professional and personal use by permission. Please email us at with requests.

Fine Art

Our collection of fine art images, predominantly focused on the history of science, includes prints of period portraits of scientists from the Earnest C. Watson collection, cartographic prints, and a rare set of Japanese folkloric prints on earthquakes donated by George W. Housner.

Plates from Rare Books

This collection of images is drawn from our library of first editions of Copernicus, Johann Bayer, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Hevelius, Newton, and many others from the Scientific Revolution. Holdings also include early printed accounts of earthquakes beginning in 1531, early works of cartography, and a complete set of R. A. Ackermann’s Microcosm of London (1808).

Scientific Instruments

These photographs document historic laboratory instruments, many of them unique to Caltech. On view here is vintage apparatus of important American and European makers, including Beckman Instruments, Fred C. Henson Company, J. A. Brashear, Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation, Western Electric, Leeds & Northrup, Keuffel & Esser, Cambridge & Paul, Kelvin & James White, Adam Hilger, Otto Wolff, Zeiss, and many others.