John B. Hattendorf, D.Litt

Professor Emeritus John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research
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Professor John B. Hattendorf is the Ernest J. King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, a chair he occupied from 1984 to 2016. Additionally, he served as chairman of the College’s Maritime History Department and director of the Naval War College Museum, 2003-16. A former surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, 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 40 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


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;
1971-72, USS Fiske (DD 842), Operations Officer;
1972-73, NWC staff / S& P faculty.

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.

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.

Adjunct Positions

1988-94, faculty, Salve Regina University, Graduate Program in International Affairs;
1990-pres, 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;


2016- pres. Naval War College, Ernest J. King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History, Maritime History Research Center.


D.Litt., University of Oxford, 2016

D.Phil., University of Oxford, 1979

A.M., Brown University, 1971, History

A.B., Kenyon College, 1964, History

Diploma, Munson Institute of American Maritime History, 1970

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
3 campaigns

Other Honors

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 College 

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, 2016- pres

Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati
Historian Rhode

Island Society of Colonial Wars
Historian Rhode

Island Society, Sons of the Revolution

News, Media, & Events

Lectures of Opportunity: "Futures of Surface Naval Combatants"

Sep. 18, 2019
12:00 p.m.
Conolly Hall, U.S. Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841

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