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Guide to U.S. Naval History
Organizations, Programs, and Resources

Chapter 4: Other U.S. Government Organizations with Sources on U.S. Naval History

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
2nd and Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540
Voice: 202-707-5000
Web site:

The Manuscript Division's extraordinarily rich collections include many groups in U.S. naval history, in addition to extensive transcripts obtained from foreign repositories. Checklists and, in some instances indexes, exist for individual collections. Information on the Manuscript Division's overall holdings is contained in Philip M. Hamer, ed., A Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), U.S. Library of Congress, The National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections (1959-), and in annual reports of accessions appearing in the Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress. A specialized guide is Richard B. Bickel, comp., Manuscripts on Microfilm: A Checklist of the Holdings in the Manuscript Division (Washington: Library of Congress, 1975). Supplementing these materials are a number of collections in other divisions of the Library of Congress, including the Prints and Photographs Division, Geography and Map Division, the Rare Book Division, and the Newspaper Reading Room.

The Naval Historical Foundation has deposited its extensive collection of naval officer papers in the Manuscript Division. This collection of private papers represents the largest single group of such materials in the United States. The collection is described in detail in Naval Historical Foundation Manuscript Collection: A Catalog (Washington: Library of Congress, 1974).

National Archives and Records Administration
Web site: 

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the repository for official records of the United States that have permanent historical or administrative value. It is composed of the National Archives and Archives II buildings in the Washington, DC area. Outside the Washington area, NARA operates the Presidential Libraries and a number of regional Federal Archives and Records Centers, including a specialized repository for military and civilian service records in St. Louis, Missouri, known as the National Personnel Records Center. Some naval records have been accessioned by Archives Branches established in most of these Centers. However, a greater volume of naval documentation in the records centers continues to be under the control of the command or office that originally deposited the files. It is not possible to list these voluminous and often transitory holdings. Those that have permanent historical value will be accessioned at a later date by the National Archives and reported in that administration's publications.

The National Archives prepares a number of catalogs that provide detailed information on its holdings. An overall source is Guide to the National Archives of the United States, but published or unpublished finding aids describing the content of individual record groups are also available. Prologue, a quarterly journal of the National Archives, lists new accessions. Scholars will also be interested in the Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications that tabulates the extensive microfilm publications available for purchase.

The National Archives
700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20408

The Civil and Old Military Branch is the primary organization within the National Archives responsible for naval materials before World War II.

Archives II
8601 Adelphi Road
Washington, DC 20740-6001

The Modern Military Branch (301-837-3510) has the Navy's administrative and operational records for the World War II period, the records of joint commands in which the Navy participated, and collections of seized enemy documents from World War II. The deck logs of individual ships are transferred to this branch yearly after thirty years. Technical and scientific records, including some generated by the Navy, are in the Center for Polar and Scientific Archives. Finally, the official Navy photographic collection is held by the Still Pictures Branch (301 837-0561), while the Special Media Archives Services Division (301-837-3200) has custody of cartographic materials, the general plans and drawings for most ships stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and aerial photography covering pre-World War II through 1960.

Naval Postgraduate School

Dudley Knox Library
1 University Circle
Monterey, CA 93943
Voice: (831) 656-2441/2
DSN: (878) 2441/2
Web site:

The Dudley Knox Library provides library materials and research support to the faculty, staff, and students of the Naval Postgraduate School, including those involved in distance courses. Some services are available to the local community, American military personnel worldwide, and scholars doing defense-related research. Library resources include a wide variety of books and periodicals, particularly in the sciences, numerous electronic databases, class orientations to library resources, an electronic "Ask a Librarian" service, and several special collections, such as the Captain Christopher A. Buckley Collection of more than 400 manuscripts, documents, photographs, and other material of historical significance.

Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI 02841
Web site: 


The Naval War College faculty includes prominent historians in the fields of international, diplomatic, military, and naval history. Their names, qualifications, and specialties are published annually in the American Historical Association's Directory of History Departments, Historical Organizations, and Historians. The Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History is the principal advisor on matters of research in maritime and naval history at the Naval War College. The responsibilities of the position are threefold: research, write, and publish academic-quality books and articles in general and contemporary naval and maritime history and U.S. Naval History; represent the Center for Naval Warfare Studies and the Naval War College at national and international professional conferences and advanced-level seminars on naval and maritime history; and provide information and advice on matters of naval and maritime history within the Naval War College and to outsiders on request.

Naval War College Press

The Naval War College Press publishes book-length historical monographs on navalwarfare-related topics based wholly or in part on the College's Naval Historical Collection; the Newport Papers, extended research projects that examine pertinent issues in international, military, and naval affairs; and the Naval War College Review, a quarterly journal on international security, defense, and naval matters. A complete catalogue of Naval War College Press publications and recent Review issues plus an index of articles that have appeared in the Naval War College Review since 1948 are at


The Naval War College Foundation sponsors the Edward S. Miller Research Fellowship in Naval History and awards a $1,000 grant to the researcher who has the greatest need and can make the optimum use of research materials for naval history located in the Naval War College's Archives, Naval Historical Collection, and Henry E. Eccles Library. The recipient is a Research Fellow in the Naval War College's Advanced Research Department, which provides the administrative support. Applicants submit a detailed research proposal, curriculum vitae, one letter of recommendation, and relevant background information by 1 August of each year to the Miller Naval History Fellowship Committee, Naval War College Foundation, 686 Cushing Road, Newport RI 02841-1207, by 1 August. Employees of the U.S. Naval War College or agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense are not eligible; EEO/AA regulations apply.

The Foundation also awards annually the Edward S. Miller Prize for the best article on naval history published in the Naval War College Review.

Naval War College Library
Web site:

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; extended hours for staff, faculty, and students 6:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Voice: 401-841-3052; DSN 948 3052 Fax: (401) 841-1140 or (401) DSN 948-1140

Academic Collection

Located in the Henry E. Eccles Library of Hewitt Hall houses the reference collection, the periodical collection (1,700 titles of which 700 are current subscriptions), the microfilm collection, the restricted (rare book) collection and the general collection. The academic collection contains over 250,000 items, not including over 450,000 microfiche/cards/film. All records are available on the Library Online Public Catalog (OPAC).

Classified Library

Within the main library, the Classified Library contains over 40,000 titles and over 72,000 items, not including over 17,000 microfiche. The Classified Library's stand-alone OPAC system contains all of its post-1985 records, plus several stand-alone PCs with CD-ROM capabilities.

Eccles Library

This graduate library contains works in all fields of knowledge but concentrates on the specialized interests of the naval profession: naval and military science, history and strategy, management, economics, international relations, international law, oceanography, and contemporary world problems. While major emphasis is placed upon today's world, a broad retrospective representation, particularly in history, international law, and political science, provides foundation and background. The library's rare book collection features unique works on naval and military science.

Naval Historical Collection

Voice: (401) 841-2435 (DSN 948-2435) 
Fax: (401) 841-7790

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., closed federal holidays

Prospective researchers should write in advance to: Dr. Evelyn Cherpak, U.S. Naval War College, Code 1E3, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841-1207.

This division of the Naval War College Library is the depository for College archives, manuscripts, special collections, and oral histories relating to the history of naval warfare and the history of the Navy in Narragansett Bay. Established in 1969 and located in Mahan Hall, the collection's primary source materials are of interest to naval historians, scholars, and students of American military and diplomatic history, Naval War College students, faculty and staff, and the general public.

The archives holds over 1,200 feet of records documenting the administrative and curricular history since the institution's founding in 1884. Its 41 record groups include administrative correspondence, curriculum items and publications, conference proceedings, library records, lectures, faculty and staff presentations, theses, World War II Battle Evaluation Group records, war gaming materials, the Naval Command College and Naval Staff College administrative files, and intelligence and technical source materials pertaining to technological developments and to intelligence gathering by naval attaches during World War I.

Papers and Manuscripts

The collection includes 205 manuscript collections containing the personal and official papers of Naval War College presidents, professors, and naval officers who have served on the staff or have been affiliated with the institution, including those of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Stephen B. Luce.

In addition to the larger collections, single manuscript items represent a growing and unique body of documents. There are now more than 364 letters, journals, letterpress volumes, certificates, commissions, and signatures available for research. Representative holdings in this category range from letters of Admirals David G. Farragut, Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., and William D. Leahy to a 1783 paymaster's book from the USS Alliance, which was homeported in Providence at the time.

Oral Histories

Oral histories treating the life and career of flag rank naval officers, WAVES, SPARS, Navy wives, and civilians who made important contributions to the Navy are housed in the Naval Historical Collection. There are over 165 oral history interviews treating a variety of 20th century naval warfare topics conducted by the staff of the Naval Historical Collection, the U.S. Naval Institute Oral History program, and the Columbia University Oral History Office.

Work is underway to post selected manuscript material and photographs from the collection on the Web site but readers can find a complete list of manuscripts in A Guide to the Manuscripts in the Naval Historical Collection.

United States Naval Academy
Web site:

Nimitz Library
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029
Voice: 410-293-6917
Web site:

The Nimitz Library, named for Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, holds 500,000 books and periodicals. The facility supports the mission of the Naval Academy by providing excellent library services on behalf of teaching, research, and other scholarly activity. The library's Special Collections Department contains approximately 20,000 volumes (including rare books and many unique naval items), as well as the library's collections of manuscripts, films, and photographs. Photographs by Edward J. Steichen, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks are included in the Nimitz Library's Picture Collection. The library's manuscript collection includes personal papers, ship logs, journals, order books, letter books, and watch/station/quarter bills dating from 1759 to the present.

William W. Jeffries Archives

Maintained by the Nimitz Library, this archives collects and preserves the non-current records of the Naval Academy. The central core of the holdings constitutes Record Group 405, Records of the United States Naval Academy. By agreement with the National Archives and Records Administration, which is responsible for the records, the Jeffries Archives staff service that record group and other federal records generated at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Naval Academy Museum
118 Maryland Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21402-5034
Web site:

The materials housed here are of historic interest to researchers. The collection includes manuscripts, letters, journals, scrapbooks, account books, and other documents connected with Admirals David Glasgow Farragut, David Dixon Porter, Winfield Scott Schley, and other notable individuals in naval history as well as discrete manuscript groups like the Rosenbach and Christian A. Zabriskie collections.

21 October 2003