Digital Collections at Caltech: The Image Archive

You may explore our collection of over ten thousand images representing Caltech’s history and the people who have made and continue to make it. The Image Archive includes historic and contemporary photographs of people and places, reproductions of historic scientific artifacts and art, and illustrations drawn from Caltech’s exceptional rare book collection in the history of science.

Images may be used in projects by scholars and researchers with permission. Please use the Archives Request System to place an order or to schedule an appointment. When ordering an image, please be sure to state the ID number.

Featured Image Collections

The online Image Archive, formerly known as PhotoNet, consists of more than 10,000 images, and it continues to grow. Original historic and contemporary photographs from Institute life are found here, as are documentary photos of artifacts, fine art, and rare books in our collections. Caltech history photos include most faculty and many staff members, trustees, notable visitors and other affiliated persons, along with buildings, laboratories, events, and student activities.

Browse this collection of more than 250 images drawn from our library of first editions of Copernicus, Johann Bayer, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Hevelius, Newton, and many others from the Scientific Revolution era. 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).

Browse our collection of fine art images in the history of science. These include reproductions 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.

Browse our collection of science and technology images. 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.