The Naval Historical Collection is the depository for College archives, manuscripts, and oral histories relating to the history of naval warfare and the history of the Navy in Narragansett Bay. Established in 1969 and located in Mahan Hall, the collection's primary source materials are of interest to naval historians, scholars, and students of American military and diplomatic history, Naval War College students, faculty and staff, and the general public.
The Naval War College archives contain more than 1,200 feet of records documenting the administrative and curricular history of the institution since its founding in 1884. The archives house 45 record groups, including administrative correspondence, curriculum items and publications, conference proceedings, library records, lectures, faculty and staff presentations, theses, World War II Battle Evaluation Group records, and a vast array of intelligence and technical source materials pertaining to technological developments and strategic and tactical problems of interest to the Navy.
The collection includes more than 266 manuscript collections containing the personal and official papers of Naval War College presidents, professors, and naval officers who have served on the staff or have been affiliated with the institution during the years, including those of Alfred Thayer Mahan, Stephen B. Luce, Raymond A. Spruance, H. Kent Hewitt and James B. Stockdale.
In addition to the larger collections, single manuscript items represent a growing and unique body of documents available for research. There are now more than 636 letters, journals, letterpress volumes, certificates, commissions, and signatures stored in the Naval Historical Collection. Representative holdings in this category range from letters of Admirals David Farragut, Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., and William Leahy to a 1783 paymaster's book from the USS Alliance, which was homeported in Providence at the time.
Besides a comprehensive guide to research source materials and select subject guides, the Naval Historical Collection routinely publishes finding aids to its manuscript collections. These may be obtained from the collection's curator. In addition, the Naval War College Historical Monograph Series, published by the Naval War College Press, is based on collection sources. To obtain a publication order form, contact:
Head of the Naval Historical Collection
President, Code 1E3
Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI, 02841-1207
Telephone: (401) 841-2435
Oral histories treating the life and career of flag rank naval officers, WAVES, Navy wives and civilians who made important contributions to the Navy are housed in the Naval Historical Collection. There are over 386 oral history interviews treating a variety of twentieth century naval warfare topics conducted by the staff of the Naval Historical Collection, the Naval Institute Oral History program, and the Columbia University Oral History Office.
The Special Collection contains historical newspapers, including the only extant run of the Newport Navalog (the Newport Naval Station's paper), pamphlets treating naval history topics, association books and Office of Naval Intelligence Monthly Information Bulletins.
The collection is open to all researchers between the hours of 0800 and 1630, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays. Prospective visiting researchers interested in using the collections should write in advance to:
Naval Historic Collection
U.S. Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI 02841-1207
Further information may be requested by telephoning (401) 841-2435 (DSN 841-2435), fax (401) 841-7790 or e-mail NHC@usnwc.edu.