Becoming Caltech: Building A Research Community, 1910–1930

In 1891, Pasadena minister and politician Amos Throop founded Throop University. Soon renamed Throop Polytechnic Institute, the school offered a wide range of courses, from elementary school to “manual arts” such as carpentry and sewing.

In the 1910s and 1920s, Throop dramatically reinvented itself, first focusing its curriculum on engineering, then expanding into a research institute. The school began building its current campus, recruited renowned faculty, constructed sophisticated laboratories, trained students to become leading researchers, and established new relationships with industry and government.

On February 10, 1920, Throop’s trustees acknowledged this transformation by changing the institution’s name once again. Throop became the California Institute of Technology.

This exhibition opened in the Beckman Room at Caltech a century later on February 10, 2021. This online version of the exhibition is a work-in-progress and will be expanding to mirror the physical exhibition over the coming weeks.