Naval History and Heritage Command


*Editor’s Note: The following content was reproduced from Uniforms of the United States Navy 1776–1898 and 1900–1967. This content provides a chronological survey of Navy uniforms. For text of historic uniform regulations and  articles on specific uniform items, please consult the Navy Department Library's page, Uniforms of the U.S. Navy.


Military uniforms have always fascinated most of us. Around them clings something of the character and stirring history of the service they represent. Thus there has long been a need within the Navy as well as in the civilian community for a series of color prints depicting the history of the uniform in the United States Navy. To fill this void, we turned to two men outstanding in this field, Captain James C. Tily, CEC, USN (Ret.) and Mr. H. Charles McBarron.

The text accompanying this set of color lithographs and the one published earlier were written in coordination with this office by Captain Tily, recognized expert on the uniform in the United States Navy. His authoritative book, entitled, The Uniforms of the United States Navy, was published in 1964 by Thomas Yoseloff of New York. Thus, what began as an avocation while on active duty has become for Captain Tily full time work in his retirement.

Mr. McBarron, acknowledged leader in the field of military illustration, working from sketches modified by us developed the paintings to illustrate the texts. His masterful productions again have captured the flavor of the times contemporary with the uniforms depicted in each painting and serve also as excellent reproductions of the uniforms themselves.

The Company of Military Historians kindly permitted us to reproduce seven of its plates in our initial issue.

Prior to publishing the first set in this series, we completed arrangements to have these prints available for sale to the general public. Orders should be sent to:

Superintendent of Documents
United States Government Printing Office
Washington, D. C. 20402

Naval Ships and Stations can obtain copies through the Navy’s Supply System.

May these colorful prints not only interest and instruct but also inspire millions of Americans to serve our nation with the same dedication and courage as Godfearing men have so nobly in every generation.

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.)
Director of Naval History (Op-09B9)
and Curator for the Department of the Navy

“We in the Navy have a blue suit waiting for anyone who can wear it. This suit is cut from the fabric of freedom, and it is tailored to the lean and form-fitting style of dedicated purpose set for us by our founding fathers. I don’t expect it ever to go out of fashion, but it can if not enough men and women are willing to wear it with pride and respect.”

—GEORGE W. ANDERSON [16th Chief of Naval Operations]

“The dedicated men serving in Navy Blue ... safeguard the peace and freedom of the world and the future of the American way of life.”

—LYNDON B. JOHNSON [36th President of the United States]