John B. Hattendorf, D.Litt

Special Advisor John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research
John B Hattendorf Profile Image


Professor John B. Hattendorf is the Ernest J. King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History, a chair he occupied at the U.S. Naval War College from 1984 to 2016. He served as chairman of the College’s Advanced Research Department from 1986-2003, chairman, Maritime History Department and director of the Naval War College Museum from 2003-16. A former surface warfare officer, he earned his degrees in history from Kenyon College (A.B., 1964), Brown University (A.M., 1971) and the University of Oxford (D.Phil., 1979; D.Litt., 2016). He is the author or editor of more than 50 books, including "Sailors and Scholars" (new edition forthcoming) and the "Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History" (2007).

Areas of Expertise

  • Maritime History
  • Maritime Strategy

Professional Highlights



2016- pres. Naval War College, Special Advisor, John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research and Ernest J. King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History.

Adjunct Positions

1988-94, faculty, Salve Regina University, Graduate Program in International Affairs;
1990-2018, faculty, Frank C. Munson Institute of Maritime Studies, Mystic Seaport; Director, 1996-2001;
1992, 1993, John Carter Brown Library, Director, NEH Summer Institute in Early Modern Maritime History.

Visiting Academic Positions

1981-83, Visiting Professor of Military and Naval History, National University of Singapore;
1986, Senior Associate, St Antony's College, Oxford;
1990-91, Visiting Scholar, German Armed Forces Military Research Office;
2001-02, Visiting Fellow, Pembroke College, Oxford.

Naval War College

1977-78, Associate Prof, Strategy & Policy.
1979-81, Assistant Prof, S & P, CCE.
1983-84, Professor of Naval History, CNWS.
1984 - 2016, E.J. King Professor of Maritime History.
1986-2003, Director, Advanced Research Dept.
2003-16, Chairman, Maritime History Dept.
2003-16, Director, NWC Museum.
2018-23, Senior Mentor, John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research.

Naval Service

1964-65, OCS, Newport, Commissioned 5 Feb 1965;
1965-67, USS O'Brien (DD 725), Main Propulsion Assistant;
1967-69, OPNAV, Naval History Division (OP-09B9);
1969-71, USS Purdy (DD 734), Reserve Crew Chief Engineer;

1971, Naval Destroyer School, Newport
1971-72, USS Fiske (DD 842), Operations Officer;
1972-73, Speechwriter for President NWC / Advanced Research faculty / S& P faculty


D.Litt., University of Oxford, 2016, History

D.Phil., University of Oxford, 1979, History

A.M., Brown University, 1971, History

A.B., Kenyon College, 1964, History

Diploma, Munson Institute of American Maritime History, 1970

C.V. or Resume

Research Contributions and Publications

Awards and Decorations

Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award

Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award
2009 and 2016

Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet Letter of Commendation for Performance of Duty in Combat

Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam War Vietnam War Service
Three Campaigns

Other Honors

Inductee, Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame

Anderson Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Maritime History, Society for Nautical Research (UK)

John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research, established at Naval War College

N.A.M. Rodger, J. Ross Dancy, Benjamin Darnell, and Evan Wilson, eds., Strategy and the Sea: Essays in Honour of John B. Hattendorf (Boydell, 2016)

Commodore Dudley W. Knox Naval History Lifetime Achievement Award, Naval Historical Foundation

The Admiral of the Navy George Dewey Award, Naval Order of the United States

The Hattendorf Prize for Distinguished Original Research in Maritime History named for John Hattendorf by the Naval War

Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement, Navy League of the United States

Samuel Eliot Morison Award, USS Constitution Museum Foundation

Dartmouth Medal of the American Library Association. “Honoring the creation of a reference work of outstanding quality and significance,” awarded to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History, John B. Hattendorf, editor-in-chief

K. Jack Bauer Award for Achievement in Maritime History, North American Society for Oceanic History

Caird Medal, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Hall of Fame, Lyons Township High School, LaGrange, Illinois

Honorary Degree: Litterarum Humaniorum Doctoris [L.H.D. or Doctor of Humane Letters], Kenyon College

External Memberships and Associations

Naval Order of the United States
Historian-General, 2014-2019

Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati
Historian, 2016-present

Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars
Historian, 2016-present

Rhode Island Sons of the Revolution
Historian, 2017-present

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