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About the Navy Archives

Photograph of the NHHC Building

History and Mission

The Navy Archives traces its roots back to 1882, when the Naval War Records Office was established in an effort to create a centralized repository for records relating to naval operations in the Civil War.

Over time, the mission of the Navy Archives has evolved to meet the needs of the modern Navy and the general public. Our current mission is to collect, organize, preserve, protect, and make available select permanent official records and other historically significant documents of the Navy.

The Navy Archives promotes accountability and transparency through strict adherence to both professional archival practices and Federal laws and regulations.

The collections maintained by the Navy Archives contain vital historical data.  Archives staff makes this data available through expert reference/research services to Navy decision-makers, so they may effectively plan program resources and support the day-to-day operations of the Fleet.

Scope of Collections

The majority of our holdings date from the post-World War II period to the present. Our collecting focus is on official records that document the operational history of the U.S. Navy, such as unit histories, ships’ deck logs, and deployment records. The Navy Archives also maintains a large number of personal papers, organizational papers, and other manuscript collections which all enrich the documentary history of the U.S. Navy.

Command Operations Reports (CORs)
Deck Logs
Operational Records
Personal Papers and Donated Collections

The Navy Photo Archives operates as a separate section within the Navy Department Library.  They maintain information on their collections in the Photo Collections section of the NHHC website.  Visit their page for more information: Navy Department Library Photo Collections.

How to Conduct Research at the Navy Archives

The Navy Archives has a number of requirements in place for those who wish to conduct research at the Navy Archives.  Please visit our How to Conduct Research at the Navy Archives page for more information.

Navy Archives Policies

The Navy Archives has a number of policies in place regarding reference, donations, and collection access.  Please visit our Policies page for more information.  

Navy Archives Reference FAQs

In order to assist your research efforts, the Navy Archives Reference Staff has provided the answers to some of the frequently asked questions we receive.  Before contacting the Reference Staff, please read through these questions and answers first.


General Reference and Inquiries: Email is the quickest and best way to reach us.  Please send all general reference requests and inquiries to Although we recommend contacting us via email, you can also reach us at (202) 433-3224.

Before contacting us, we highly recommend reading through our Reference FAQs.

NOTE: We regret that we are unable to respond to reference requests from the general public at this time.

If you are looking for more information on HOW TO SUBMIT a command operations reports, please visit our How To Submit A COR page. 

Published: Thu Mar 02 09:00:25 EST 2023