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Fritz Zwicky Papers: Finding Aid
mssZwicky papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Fritz Zwicky Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1940-1967
    Collection Number: mssZwicky papers
    Creator: Zwicky, F. (Fritz), 1898-1974
    Extent: 38 items in 2 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This small collection contains correspondence, some photographs, 5 audio tapes, and 14 film reels of Fritz Zwicky (1898-1974), a Swiss astronomer who worked most of his life at the California Institute of Technology. The collection chiefly deals with Zwicky and his family, although there is a little material related to astronomy. Some of the material is in German.
    Language: English and German


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Fritz Zwicky Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Barbarina Zwicky, June 24, 2011.

    Biographical Note

    Fritz Zwicky (1898-1974) was a Swiss astronomer. He worked most of his life at the California Institute of Technology, where he made many important contributions in theoretical and observational astronomy. Zwicky was born in Bulgaria in 1898. In 1904, at the age of six, Fritz was sent to his grandparents in Glarus, Switzerland for school. His interests were math and physics and he received an advanced education in mathematics and experimental physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, located in Zürich, Switzerland. In 1925, he immigrated to the United States to work with Robert Millikan at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) after receiving the "international fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation."
    In 1932, Zwicky married Dorothy Vernon Gates; they divorced in 1941. In 1947 he married Anna Zurcher; they had three daughters: Margrit, Franziska, and Barbarina. Zwicky died in Pasadena, California in 1974 and was buried in Mollis, Switzerland. The Zwicky Museum at the Landesbibliothek, Glarus, houses many of his papers and scientific works, and the Fritz Zwicky Stiftung (Foundation) in Switzerland carries on his ideas relating to "Morphological analysis."

    Scope and Content

    The collection chiefly deals with Zwicky and his family although there is a little material related to astronomy. Some of the material is in German. The small collection includes:
    One volume that contains letters between Zwicky and his daughters while they were in Switzerland (for school). Entitled “Briefe von und an die kinder.” In his letters, Zwicky sometimes mentions his research and astronomical work.
    There are three telephone books that belonged to Zwicky and 15 photographs. Includes one portrait of Zwicky and 14 views of the star cluster Hyades (includes notes on the front and verso of the photographs).
    Also included in the collection are 5 audio tapes, reel to reel, that are not labeled and undated. There are also 14 16mm film reels that contain scenes of home life in Pasadena; Zwicky family trips; school shows with Zwicky’s daughters; and scenes at Palomar Observatory.
    Note: The cataloger did not review the audio-video material.


    Arranged in 2 boxes:
    • Box 1: Volume, Telephone Books, Photographs
    • Box 2: Audio tapes, 16mm

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Zwicky, F. (Fritz), 1898-1974.
    California Institute of Technology.
    Palomar Observatory.
    Astronomers -- United States -- Archives.
    Astronomy -- Photographs.
    Astronomy -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Stars -- Clusters.
    California, Southern -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
    Fetan (Switzerland)
    Pasadena (Calif.)


    Audiotapes -- 20th century.
    16mm -- 20th century.
    Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century.
    Letters (correspondence)-- Switzerland -- 20th century.
    Photographs -- 20th century.