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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

A Fast Convoy - Oil painting by Burnell Poole, depicting USS Allen (Destroyer # 66) escorting USS Leviathan (ID # 1326) in the War Zone, 1918. The original painting measures 60" x 33".

Navy Department Library

The Navy Library is in the process of a once-in-a-lifetime move of its material to a new location. The Library will be closed from May to the end of August 2023 to move our assets and conduct an inventory. During this time, the Library will be able to order ILLs, but will not send out ILLs to other libraries. The Library will attempt to answer inquiries from the public, but we will have reduced capability during this time. We will not be able to host any researchers during this time. The Navy Library will also be unable to accept any donations during the move. We thank you for your patience and we look forward to being in our new home to better serve you. Please email us at for more information. 


"The Navy Department Library traces its roots to a letter dated 31 March 1800 from President John Adams to Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert directing him to establish a naval library. Today, the Navy Department Library acquires, organizes, preserves, and provides access to naval and maritime history, customs, and traditions through reference services and Internet outreach. One of the few major military historical libraries open to the public, the library serves an international audience.

The Library's collection consists of 114,000 book titles, 374,000 manuscripts, and 189,000 periodicals, with an emphasis on naval, nautical, and military history including foreign navies. Individual highlights of the collection include the US Navy's first signal book; calling cards collected by John Paul Jones in Russia; hundreds of unpublished World War II administrative and cryptological histories; and documents captured on German submarine U-505 in 1944. 


Please visit the Services page for a description of the library's policies and operations. Click here for Navy Reservists information. To contact the library, email or call 202-433-4132


Published: Thu Mar 23 14:48:39 EDT 2023