HNSA Crest with photos of visitors at the ships.
Resources for Maritime History at the Naval War College

Professor John B. Hattendorf, President, NASOH

The 120-year Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, has been collecting materials on naval history since its foundation, when Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan made the institution famous as place for historical analysis on naval strategic and operational issues. Today, there are several separate collections in the College that should be better known to researchers: a) a museum collection of art and historical objects, b) the college archives, manuscript collection, and oral histories and c) the Rare book Collection in the Henry E. Eccles Library.

Naval War College Museum is located in Founders Hall, a national historic landmark that was originally built as the Newport County Poor House and housed the Naval War College at its founding in 1884. Within its walls, Mahan first delivered the lectures that later became famous as a book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (1890). Today, the building houses the Naval War College Museum, a museum for the history of naval warfare that collects, preserves, and interprets historical properties that illustrate (a) key concepts in the evolution of maritime strategy and naval operations from antiquity to the present, (b) the history of naval activity in the Narragansett Bay region from the colonial period to the present, and (c) the institutional history of the Naval War College since 1884. The Museum is a division of the Maritime History Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, and serves educational purposes for both students attending the Naval War College and for the general public The Museum's educational objectives are complemented by the historical research, writing, and publication of its research branch.

Information on the Museum and its activities may be found on the Internet at Its collections include historical objects (including uniforms, medals, weapons) photographs, prints, drawings, paintings, and ship models. The Naval War College Museum website includes additional research materials and will soon be expanded to have virtual exhibits. Available for research in the museum as well as on the web is the US Navy 20th Century Ships' History Database and information on Vietnam Riverine Warfare at, including reminiscences, photographs, and links to related websites.

Naval Historical Collection. The collecting themes of the Naval War College's Naval Historical Collection and Archives complement those of the museum: the history of the College, the broad history of naval warfare, and the navy in Narragansett Bay

The manuscript collections include the papers of College presidents, staff, faculty, and corporate papers of naval activities in Narragansett Bay: including the Naval Torpedo Station, the Naval Base, and the Naval Training Station, Newport. These make up the 24139 collections of manuscripts. Papers of World War WII veterans, both men and women, are found here, including such important figures as Admirals Raymond Spruance, Kent Hewitt, Henry Eccles, Charles Stockton, Richard Colbert, and John Hayward. A recent acquisition is a collection of the papers of Papers of Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Hawkins, Whitshed, Bart., GCB, Royal Navy (1762-1849) . The thirty-three published manuscript registers document the largest and most outstanding collections. These are available on line at

One manuscript collection, the papers of Rear Admiral Richard W. Bates, USN (1892-1973) has been digitized and is searchable online at As head of the Naval War College's World War II Battle Evaluation Group from 1946 to 1958, his papers contain valuable research materials and correspondence with World War II naval leaders, including Admirals Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, Raymond A. Spruance, William F. Halsey, Richmond K. Turner, Robert B. Carney, Edward Kalbfus, William S. Pye, and Richard L. Conolly. Also included are copies of letters of other naval officers, including Admirals King, Kinkaid, and Samuel Eliot Morison, 1944-1953, that relate to Bates's research work.

The Naval War College's archives contain 42 record groups documenting the history and curriculum of the institution as well as conferences and the World War II Battle Evaluation Group records that complement the Bates' Papers mentioned above. Record Group 8, Intelligence and Technical archives is especially valuable for researchers, as it documents a whole range of matters that involved or interested the Naval War College during the years between 1896 and 1940. Additional files on College presidents, the Center for Naval Warfare Studies, and the two foreign officer colleges are significant.

Individual manuscripts items that are not associated with a larger collection of papers are placed in a separate section of the Naval Historical Collection and currently consist of 5791 letters, diaries, journals, broadsides, newspapers, and reminiscences on naval history topics.

The oral history collection contains 3323 personal reminiscences of naval officers and enlisted. The Naval Historical Collections purchases flag rank biographies from the Naval Institute and also conducts its own an oral history program, focusing on WW II veterans, WAVES, Navy Nurses, SPARS, Marines, and College faculty.

A Guide to Manuscripts, Archives, and Oral Histories in the Naval Historical Collection is available on line in Word format at

Special collections within the Naval Historical Collection include newspapers, pamphlets, Office of Naval Intelligence Bulletins, ships' cruise books, and association copies of books.

Specialized thematic guides to collections are being prepared. A Guide to Research Sources Materials on Latin America and the Caribbean in the Naval Historical Collection has been published and is available on line at

A Guide to Women's History Sources has been published and will soon be on-line, while work is currently in progress in a long-range project toward a Guide to Materials on East Asian Naval History in the Naval Historical Collection.

Among the on-going projects at the Naval Historical Collection, photographs from manuscript collections are being scanned and will eventually be available online. This is complemented by similar project for photographs in the Naval War College Museum collection.

The Henry E. Eccles Library. The Naval War College Library is a graduate library that has been collecting since the founding of the College. Works in all fields of knowledge are included in the collection, but the principal concentration is a specialized area of interest in the naval profession: naval and military science, history and strategy, management, economics, international relations, international law, oceanography, and contemporary world problems. Major emphasis is placed upon today's world. Nevertheless, to provide foundation and background there is broad retrospective representation, particularly in history, international law, and political science.

The academic collection is located in the main library in Hewitt Hall and houses the reference collection, the periodical collection, (1700 titles of which 700 are current subscriptions), the microfilm collection, the restricted (rare book) collection and the general collection. The academic collection contains over 250,000 items. This does not include over 450,000 microfiche/cards/film. All records are available on the Library Online Public Catalog (OPAC), available on line at

Included in the catalogue are the holdings of the Library's rare book collection, which features a number of unique works on naval and military science. Key items include editions and translations of the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan as well as a small selection of books that once belonged in his personal library, early editions of voyage accounts, including Hakluyt's Principal Navigations(1589 and 1599-1600), Purchas His Pilgrims (1625-26), Levinus Hulsius's collection of voyages (1598-1660), a complete run of the publications of the Hakluyt Society (1846 to the present), The Naval Chronicle, 1799-1818, and a variety of official naval signal books, regulations, and manuals.

The Naval War College Library has been a Federal Depository Library since 1963. The library selects publications in a variety of formats (paper, microform, CD-ROM, on-line) in support of the College's curriculum. The Library supports the government information needs of the citizens of the State of Rhode Island by providing public access to its collection. GPO Access and government documents on the Internet are readily accessible. For assistance in this area, please contact the Government Documents Coordinator (401-841-4345).

The Edward S. Miller Fellowship in Naval History. To encourage research in the Naval War College's collections, the Naval War College Foundation, through the generosity of the well-known historian, Mr. Edward S. Miller, offers each year one grant of $1,000 to the researcher who has the greatest need and can make the optimum use of research materials for naval history located in the Naval War College's Archives, Naval Historical Collection, and Henry E. Eccles Library. The recipient will be a Research Fellow in the Naval War College's Maritime History Department, which will provide administrative support during the research visit. Applicants submit detailed research proposal that includes statement of need and plan for optimal use of Naval War College materials, curriculum vitae, at least one letter of recommendation, and relevant background information to Miller Naval History Fellowship Committee, Naval War College Foundation, 686 Cushing Road, Newport RI 02841-1207, by 1 August 2005. For further information, contact the chair of the selection committee at [email protected] Employees of the U.S. Naval War College or any agency of the U.S. Department of Defense are not eligible for consideration; EEO/AA regulations apply.

The Edward S. Miller Prize for the Best Article on Naval History in the Naval War College Review. The President of the Naval War College awards the annual Edward S. Miller History Prize to the author of the best historical or history-oriented article appearing in the Naval War College Review journal during each calendar year. This prize ($500) is given by the generosity of the historian Edward S. Miller, through the Naval War College Foundation. The winners of the Edward S. Miler prize have been. Tiles highlighted in blue are available on line at the Naval War College Press website

1992: Graham Rhys-Jones, "The Loss of the Bismarck: Who Was to Blame?" (Winter); Michael T. Corgan, "Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Occupation of Iceland" (runner-up; Autumn)

1993: Sadao Asada, "The Revolt against the Washington Treaty: The Imperial Japanese Navy and Naval Limitations, 1921-1927" (Summer); William C. Green, "The Historical Russian Drive for a Warm Water Port: Anatomy of a Geopolitical Myth" (runner-up; Spring)

1994: Thomas Hone, "Naval Reconstruction, Surge, and Mobilization: Once and Future" (Summer); James Pritchard, "French Strategy and the American Revolution: A Reappraisal (runner-up, Autumn)

1995: George B. Eaton, "General Walter Krueger and Joint War Planning, 1922-1938" (Spring); Robert C. Rubel, "Gettysburg and Midway: Historical Parallels in Operational Command" (runner-up; Winter)

1996: Peter J. Wooley, "The Role of Strategy in Great Power Decline" (Winter); Robert J. Schneller, "A Littoral Frustration: The Union Navy and the Siege of Charleston, 1863-1865" (honorable mention; Winter)

1997: Frank Uhlig, Jr., "The Constants of Naval Warfare" (Spring); Benjamin L. Apt, "Mahan's Forebears: The Debate over Maritime Strategy, 1868-1883" (honorable mention; Summer)

1998: David G. Surdam, "The Union Navy's Blockade Reconsidered" (Autumn)

1999: Kathleen Broome Williams, "Scientists in Uniform: The Harvard Computation Laboratory in World War II" (Summer)

2000: Donald Chisholm, "Negotiated Joint Command Relationships: Korean War Amphibious Operations, 1950" (Spring)

2001: Richard Mobley, "Pueblo: A Retrospective" (Spring)

2002: Richard H. Kohn, "The Erosion of Civilian Control of the Military in the United States Today" (Summer)

2003: John B. Hattendorf, "The Uses of Maritime History in and for the Navy" (Spring)

The Naval War College Press publishes several series of interest to naval historians. Its journal, The Naval War College Review has been appearing since 1948. An index to its contents is available on line at

The Naval War College Historical Monograph Series, established in 1975, consists of book-length studies on naval warfare-related historical topics based wholly or in part on sources in the Naval Historical Collection of the College. Titles may be purchased from the Naval War College Foundation Museum Bookstore, by e-mail to [email protected], or by telephone at (401) 848-8306 or (866) 490-3334; they are not available from the editorial office.

Hayes, John D. and Hattendorf, John B., eds.
The Writings of Stephen B. Luce, 1975. 262 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-4-4

Symonds, Craig L., ed.
Charleston Blockade: The Journals of John B. Marchand, U.S. Navy, 1861-1862, 1976. 287 pp. [Currently out of print]

Spector, Ronald.
Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the Naval Profession, 1977. 187 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-2-8

Vlahos, Michael.
The Blue Sword: The Naval War College and the American Mission, 1919-1941, 1980. 222 pp. ISBN 1-884733-01-8

Hattendorf, John B., ed.
On His Majesty's Service: Observations of the British Home Fleet from the Diary, Reports, and Letters of Joseph H. Wellings, Assistant U.S. Naval Attache, London, 1940-1941, 1983. 249 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-6-0

Monsarrat, John.
Angel on the Yardarm: The Beginnings of Fleet Radar Defense and the Kamikaze Threat, 1985. 188 pp. [Currently out of print]

Hattendorf, John B. and Hattendorf, Lynn C., comps.
A Bibliography of the Works of Alfred Thayer Mahan, 1986. 116 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-5-2

Sokolsky, Joel J.
The Fraternity of the Blue Uniform: Admiral Richard G. Colbert, U.S. Navy and Allied Naval Cooperation, 1991. 86 pp. ISBN 1-884733-00-X

Hattendorf, John B., ed.
The Influence of History on Mahan: The Proceedings of a Conference Marking the Centenary of Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783, 1991. 208 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-3-6

Goldrick, James and Hattendorf, John B., eds.
Mahan Is Not Enough: The Proceedings of a Conference on the Works of Sir Julian Corbett and Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond, 1993. 416 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-1-X

Hattendorf, John B., ed.
UBI SUMUS? The State of Naval and Maritime History, 1994, 419 pp. ISBN 1-884733-04-2

Still, William N., Jr., ed.
The Queenstown Patrol, 1917: The Diary of Commander Joseph Knefler Taussig, U.S. Navy, 1996. 212pp. ISBN 1-884733-07-7

Hattendorf, John B., ed.
Doing Naval History: Essays Toward Improvement, 1995. 160 pp. ISBN 1-884733-06-9

Shulman, Mark R., ed.
An Admiral's Yarn: The Reminiscences of Admiral Harris Laning, , 1999. 421 pp. ISBN 1-884733-12-3

Cherpak, Evelyn, ed.
The Memoirs of Admiral H. Kent Hewitt (2004). ISBN 1-884733-20-4

Occasional Books. The Naval War College Press has published (in addition to the hyperlink "" Historical Monograph series) the following books since 1977. With the exception titles to which the notes A, B, or C apply, titles may be purchased from the Naval War College Foundation Museum Bookstore, by e-mail at [email protected] , or by telephone at (401) 848-8306 or (866) 490-3334; they are not available from the editorial office.

Simpson, B. M., III, ed.
The Development of Naval Thought: Essays by Herbert Rosinski, 1977. [Currently out of print]

McGruther, Kenneth R.
The Evolving Soviet Navy, 1978. [Currently out of print]

Eccles, Henry E.
Military Power in a Free Society, 1979. 290 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-8-7

Bathurst, Robert B.
Understanding the Soviet Navy: A Handbook, 1979. 173 pp.

Hattendorf, John B., B. Mitchell Simpson III, and John R. Wadleigh.
Sailors and Scholars: The Centennial History of the U.S. Naval War College, 1984. 354 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-9-5

Herrick, Robert Waring.
Soviet Naval Theory and Policy: Gorshkov's Inheritance, 1988. 318 pp. [Currently out of print]

Smith, Stuart W., ed.
Douglas Southall Freeman on Leadership, 1990. [Republished by, and available from, White Mane Publishing, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.]

Brennan, Joseph Gerard.
Foundations of Moral Obligation: The Stockdale Course, 1992. 269 pp. ISBN 0-9637973-0-1 [Republished by, and available from, Presidio Press, Novato, California.]

Boyer, Pelham G., and Robert S. Wood, eds.
Strategic Transformation and Naval Power in the 21st Century, 1998. 358 pp. ISBN 1-884733-11-5

Taylor, Paul, ed.
Asia & the Pacific: U.S. Strategic Traditions and Regional Realities, 2001. 118 pp. ISBN 1-884-733-15-8 [Available from the Naval War College Asia-Pacific Studies Group, Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, R.I., 02841-1207, telephone (401) 841-4532]

Another series comprises The Newport Papers, which are extended research projects that the editor, the Dean of Naval Warfare Studies, and the President of the Naval War College consider of particular interest to policy makers, scholars, and analysts, and judge worthy of extensive, selective distribution. To obtain copies or subscribe to the series, contact the Press office [email protected]

The full list is available on the website and includes the following studies with an historical dimension:


1. Are We Beasts?" Churchill and the Moral Question of World War II "Area Bombing, by Christopher C. Harmon (December 1991).

4. Global War Game: The First Five Years, by Bud Hay and Bob Gile (June 1993).

6. The Burden of Trafalgar: Decisive Battle and Naval Strategic Expectations on the Eve of the First World War, by Jan S. Breemer (October 1993).

9. A Doctrine Reader: The Navies of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Spain, by James J. Tritten and Vice Admiral Luigi Donolo, Italian Navy (Retired) (December 1995).

16. The Third Battle: Innovation in the U.S. Navy's Silent Cold War Struggle with Soviet Submarines, by Owen R. Cote, Jr. (2003) .

19. The Evolution of the U.S. Navy's Maritime Strategy, 1977-1986, by John B. Hattendorf (2004)

20 Global War Game: Second Series, 1984-1988, by Robert H. Gile (2004).

Additional Resources in the Newport, Rhode Island, Area. As an historic port city, founded in 1639 on the southern shore of New England and at the mouth of Narragansett Bay, Newport and its local area provides many additional resources for the study of all dimensions of maritime history, including naval affairs. Newport has been a naval port since the colonial period, housing, British, French, Rhode Island State Navy, and Continental Navy warships as well as US Navy ships. Among many Naval and Marine Corps officers and seamen, Newport's most famous naval officers came from the Perry family. Newport has public statutes to both Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, and to his younger brother, Matthew Calbraith Perry, who opened Japan in 1853-54. Both men are buried in Newport, along with their father, Christopher Raymond Perry, one of the US Navy's first captains. Houses where they lived still stand and remain in private use today. Trinity Episcopal Church, built in 1726-26, where Christopher Perry's family worshiped contains monuments to them both. In the grave yard outside the church is the burial spot of a French Admiral, Charles-Louis d'Arsac, Chevalier de Ternay, who died in 1780 while commanding at Newport the squadron that brought Rochambeau's army to America.

The Newport Historical Society has many collections of interest. See . There is a large collection of photographs going back to the 1840s that includes local naval activities: Among the manuscripts are a number of log books, including volumes from the armed privateer, Swift (1812); United States Navy gunboats and training vessels, such as the USS Lawrence (1813); USS Bainbridge (2 vols., 1818, 1845-1847), USS Saratoga (2 vols., 1813, 1845-1847), USS Kearsarge (2 vols., 1883-1885); and others. Other items include R.F. Stockton's naval history scrapbook, one volume compiled ca. 1843-1845; the papers of Smuel Brown, naval agent for Boston accounts 1801-1807; the papers of Captain Theodore Kane 1855-1898; John Manley's account book for several Continental Navy vessels in 1776; a dozen letters from Rear Admiral Charles Sigsbee, and papers of William Vernon of the Navy Board.

Also in Newport, one finds The Redwood Library. Founded in 1747, the Redwood is the oldest continuously circulating library in America. Among its treasures are paintings by the famous portrait painter, Gilbert Stuart, who was raised in Newport. One of the items in that collection is a portrait of Charles Goodwin Ridgely, who was born in Maryland (1784-1847), and entered upon a career with the Navy, where he was promoted to rank of Captain. He fought in the Tripolitan War, and Algerine War and later commanded squadrons in the West Indies and Brazil.

Another organization is The Preservation Society of Newport County museum properties. While best know for their summer homes with opulent displays of the decorative arts from the Gilded Age, there are a number of naval connections to be found. Among them, Hunter House, had been the landside headquarters of the French fleet when in Newport in 1780-81; The Elms was the summer residence of a the wealthy industrialist and coal merchant, Julius Edward Berwind, a former U.S. naval officer who had been trained at the US Naval Academy when it was temporarily relocated to Newport during the Civil War, 1861-65.

The Artillery Company of Newport, originally chartered by King George II in 1741, maintains a museum of uniforms, While mainly army in orientation, it includes a uniform worn by Fleet Admiral Nimitz and a number of other naval items.

One of the largest coastal fortifications in the United States, Fort Adams is now located in a Rhode Island State park. The fortification is being restored and is open during the summer months with a loan exhibit from the Naval War College Museum, illustrating the history of naval activities in Narragansett Bay and the interlinks between coastal fortifications and naval operations.

Newport is located half way between Harvard and Yale universities, but is closest to Brown University in the modern capital city of Providence, Rhode Island. There, one may find a number of valuable resources for naval history. At Brown, The John Carter Brown Library is an independently administered and funded center for advanced research in history and the humanities, founded in 1846 and located at Brown University since 1901. Housed within the Library's walls is an internationally renowned, constantly growing collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the Americas, both North and South, before ca. 1825. The collection contains approximately 45,000 rare books (pre-1825 imprints) all relating to the Americas, North and South; plus early maps and prints; manuscripts and 16,000 specialized reference books (post-1825). Among the Library's publications (many available from the Oak Knoll Press ) that relate to its holdings in maritime history are Thomas Adams and D.W. Waters, English Maritime Books Printed before 1801, Relating to Ships, Their Construction, and Their Operation at Sea (1995); Maritime History: A Collection of 25 Facsimiles from the John Carter Brown Library, 1475-1800 an exhibition catalogue, The Boundless Deep: The European Conquest of the Oceans, 1450-1840 (2003); and Maritime History: A Handlist of the Collection in the John Carter Brown Library, 1450 to 1860. (2005). Among the manuscripts in the John Carter Brown Library collection are the John and Nicholas Brown papers that include naval materials ca, 1775-1783; manuscripts relating to John Paul Jones; the Jonathan Lawrence Journal of 1778, and several French naval manuscripts from ca. 1778.

Also on the Brown University campus is the John Hay Library, where other special collections are housed. Among them are the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection , which is note for its collections of images of military uniforms. Among the naval items is one that Mrs. Brown bought in 1953: the entire personal collection of British naval prints and some original drawings formed by the late historian Commander Charles Napier Robinson, R.N. This collection consists of 20 folio volumes containing a unique large-paper printing of Robinson's The British Tar in Fact and Fiction (London, 1909). These volumes are copiously extra-illustrated with the author's extensive and valuable personal collection of 17th-19th century prints of aspects of British naval history, including also a large number of caricatures, song sheets, and broadsides. This assemblage of graphic materials contains many items not found in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, England.

Other collections within the John Hay Library include the papers of Samuel Sullivan Cox, chairman of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, 1883-1885; the papers of Walter Nickerson Hill, chemist at the Naval Torpedo Station in Newport 1869-1881, the papers of naval surgeon Usher Parsons, and Professor Augustus William Smith, US Navy 1820-1860.

Nearby at the Library of the Rhode Island Historical Society, one may find additional papers relating to Usher Parsons and collections of the papers of early naval officers such as Esek Hopkins, Silas Talbot, Abraham Whipple as well as papers relating to the World War II naval facilities at Quonset Point Naval Air Station and the Davisville, Rhode Island, Naval Construction Battalion Base.

Also on the Providence waterfront at Collier Point Park, one may find on display a former Soviet cruise missile submarine, Juliett 484, a 300-foot long, diesel-powered Cold War veteran. The Soviet submarine is operated by the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation, which also proposes to develop USS Saratoga (CVA-60) into a museum

Just across the Rhode Island-Massachusetts border at Fall River is Battleship Cove, home port of the museum ships USS Massachusetts (BB-59), the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850) and the Admiral Arleigh Burke National Destroyermen's Museum, USS Lionfish (SS- 298), a PT Boat Museum, and the only exhibited example of a Soviet-built missile corvette. An East German People's Navy vessel originally named Rudolf Eglehofer, and later Hiddensee, is a Tarantul I class corvette built at the Petrovsky Shipyard, located near the city of St. Petersburg, Russia (formerly Leningrad, USSR).

The Battleship Massachusetts has created a rich collection of oral history interviews of men and women who served in the armed forces during World War II and subsequent conflicts and maintains them in a library on board the battleship called the "Veterans' Voices Oral History Project." Arrangements can be made to use this collection through the Director of Oral History at Battleship Cove [email protected]

Between Newport, Fall River, and Providence, lies Bristol, Rhode Island, on the shores of Narragansett Bay, where the Herreshoff Marine Museum is located This shipyard, famous for building some of the greatest American yachts, also constructed the Navy's first torpedo boat destroyers.

Beyond the waters of Narragansett Bay, the resources for naval history continue to expand and include among many others, ranging from the USS Constitution and Museum some 70 miles to the north of Newport at Boston and to Mystic Seaport 40 some miles to the west of Newport, with its extensive library, museum, manuscript collection, and on-line research resources.

As this broad outline suggests, the U.S. Navy has played a large role in Rhode Island's history and its long presence on the shores of Narragansett Bay is reflected in many different dimensions of its local cultural history.


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