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

Beginning Monday, 16 March, due to COVID-19 outbreak precautions, The Navy Department Library is temporarily closed to the public. We are monitoring email, but requesters may experience delayed response times. In addition, we may be able to accommodate official government researchers on a case-by-case basis. Please contact if you have an official request.


"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collection include the US Navy's first signal book; calling cards collected by John Paul Jones in Russia; hundreds of unpublished World War II administrative and cryptological histories; and documents captured on German submarine U-505 in 1944.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 volunteers, interns and Navy Reservists information. To contact the library, email or call 202.433.7833 (Reference), 202.433.4132 (Circulation), or 288.4132 (DSN).


Published: Mon Mar 30 17:22:03 EDT 2020