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Earth & Planets Laboratory Library: Archives and Special Collections

Special Collections

The library's special collections document the history of geomagnetism, atmospheric electricity,
volcanology, mineralogy, and igneous petrology. Included are several thousand monographs,
observatory bulletins, expedition reports, pamphlets, offprints, and clippings. Most of the publications
are from the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, though some date as far back as the late 1700s. An extensive collection of books on exploration and travel to remote regions evokes the era of DTM’s magnetic survey expeditions.
Of special interest is a collection of European doctoral dissertations (mainly French, German, and
Dutch) in physical chemistry and crystallography from the 1880s through 1930s. Many of these
originated in the private collection of the great German experimental physicist F. W. G. Kohlrausch.


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 30,000 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. Finding aids and online databases are available.

Online Exhibitions