Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) holds an expansive collection of naval biography files. These biographies primarily span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an emphasis on those who held the rank of captain and above. The content of each individual file varies in size and quality of content. Some hold only a basic biographical chronology filled out by the subject or Navy administrative office; others contain images, newspaper clippings, and a narrative biographical sketch prepared by the Navy Office of Information. In an effort to share the life stories of more US Navy personalities, NHHC endeavors to make these biographies available to the public. For visitors’ ease, NHHC historians are selecting subjects related to commemorative Navy events to profile on the following pages. These featured Naval Profiles provide a short summation of the subject’s life that describes their place in US naval history, along with digitized copies of pertinent biographical material from their file. Visitors should keep in mind that digitized content is historic and prepared shortly after the subject’s retirement, or death (often by the Navy Office of Information). The content was often reviewed and approved by the individual; however, factual inaccuracies are sometimes present. In accordance with pertinent Federal law and USN policy, NHHC has redacted personally identifiable information from the digitized biographies to protect the privacy of the subject and their family.
The original biographical documents linked on these pages come primarily from the Navy Department Library’s Modern Biography files (unless otherwise noted). Visitors searching for 18th/19th Century naval figures should visit the Navy Department Library’s ZB files. Generally, the line of demarcation for a biography being a ZB file instead of a Modern Biography file is 1900. The ZB files often contain rough historic chronologies instead of a finished biographical manuscript found in the Modern Biography files. In addition to the Navy Department Library’s biographical collection, the NHHC Archives Branch maintains a large collection of modern officer biographies, astronaut biographies, and female aviator biographies. Those interested in researching biographical material at NHHC should contact both the Navy Department Library and the NHHC Archives.
For biographies of currently serving Navy leaders and recently retired Navy leaders please visit