Welcome to the online collections of the Photo Archive. The Naval History and Heritage Command’s photo collections are related to the US Navy (or other navies when specifically associated with US involvement or historical events) with specific emphasis on ships, aviation, places, wars/events, activities, and significant individuals associated with naval history. Photographs in the collection reflect both official and unofficial naval viewpoints and consist of donations and transfers made by both the Navy and the general public. The general date range of the collection consists of mid-19th century to the 1990s, with particular focus on the World War II era. Our entire holdings consist of approximately one million photographs dating as early as the Civil War. We're always expanding the portion of our collection available online—be sure to check back for new content. Most of the photos found in our collection are in the public domain and may be downloaded and used without permissions or special requirements (those which are not will be noted in the copyright section of the image description).
We invite you to browse our galleries below and use the site search bar at the top of every page to find your favorite naval history photos. The search tool is currently the primary method for researching our collection. Searching will help you find images throughout the site if they are not highlighted in the boxes below. Both individual images as well as donated collections are organized in the subject boxes below. Not all photographs or collections are available through the website, please contact staff if you are unable to locate imagery related to your research topic.
The donations portions of the website are NOT LISTED as individual photographs, but rather by COLLECTION. For each collection, a description is provided which outlines what subject matter can be found within the donation. A SINGLE REPRESENTATIVE photo has been selected for each donation and is listed as the Collection Photo. Some donations consist of one photo while others may have hundreds. To request the images in the collection, please contact the photo archive staff. We are unfortunately not able to scan and put all all images within a collection on the website due to lack of manpower.
Note that while NHHC is unable to provide print reproductions, you may download digital reproductions (image files) by clicking "Download" below the photos you see on our site. Should you require prints, please contact the Naval Historical Foundation.
CITATIONS: When possible and appropriate, please cite photographs with a prefix of "NH" using the following format- NH 1234 courtesy of the Naval History & Heritage Command. Other photo numbers included on our website should be credited to the organization noted on the copyright portion of the image (such as the National Archives).
Interested in researching our photo collections? We provide limited reference assistance for some specific requests, either remotely or in person (by appointment only). To learn about donating photos, click here. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 202.433.2765 (202.288.3224 DSN) with reference questions or appointment requests.