The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is an imaging and spectroscopic survey that will eventually cover approximately one-quarter of the celestial sphere and collect spectra of ~106 galaxies, 100,000 quasars, 30,000 stars, and 30,000 serendipity targets. In 2001 June, the SDSS released to the general astronomical community its early data release, roughly 462 deg2 of imaging data including almost 14 million detected objects and 54,008 follow-up spectra. The imaging data were collected in drift-scan mode in five bandpasses (u, g, r, i, and z); our 95% completeness limits for stars are 22.0, 22.2, 22.2, 21.3, and 20.5, respectively. The photometric calibration is reproducible to 5%, 3%, 3%, 3%, and 5%, respectively. The spectra are flux- and wavelength-calibrated, with 4096 pixels from 3800 to 9200 Å at R~1800. We present the means by which these data are distributed to the astronomical community, descriptions of the hardware used to obtain the data, the software used for processing the data, the measured quantities for each observed object, and an overview of the properties of this data set.