John B. Hattendorf, DPhil, DLitt, LHD, FSNR, FRHistS

John B. Hattendorf, DPhil, DLitt, LHD, FSNR, FRHistS

Ernest J. King Professor Emeritus of Maritime History
Maritime History Department
(401) 841-6020
(401) 841-7074


John B. Hattendorf is the emeritus Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He occupied the E.J. King chair from August 1984 through September 2016. He was additionally Chairman of the Maritime History Department and Director of the Naval War College Museum from January 2003 through September 2016. He is currently doing editorial and historical research work in the Maritime History Department.. 
Hattendorf holds degrees in history from Kenyon College (1964), Brown University (1971), and the University of Oxford, where he completed his D.Phil. in war history at Pembroke College in 1979. In 2016, Oxford awarded him its higher doctorate, the Doctor of Letters degree (DLitt).  In 2016, Oxford awarded him its higher doctorate, the Doctor of Letters degree (DLitt). On his retirement after 39 years as a civilian NWC professor, the Chief of Naval Operations presented him with the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award before the world’s chiefs of navy during International Seapower Symposium XXII. Later, the Director, Naval History and Heritage Command, awarded him the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award for his fourteen years as museum director.

A U.S. naval officer during the Vietnam War era (1965-1973), he served at sea in three destroyers and earned a commendation from the Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, for his combat service. Ashore, he served as an officer at the Naval History Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and at the Naval War College. As a civilian academic, he has been visiting professor at the National University of Singapore, a visiting scholar at the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office, and visiting fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford University. He is author or editor, co-author or co-editor, of more than 40 books and numerous articles in the field of maritime history, including being editor-in-chief of the multivolume Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History (2007), which was awarded the Dartmouth Medal of the American Library Association in 2008. His most recent work is a three-volume series on U.S. Naval Strategy: Selected Documents from the 1970s through the 1990s. His scholarship has been recognized with the award of an honorary doctorate of humane letters, the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and the K. Jack Bauer Award from the North American Society for Oceanic History. In 2009, the Navy League of the United States awarded him its Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement and the USS Constitution Museum Foundation awarded him its Samuel Eliot Morison Award.  The Naval Order of the United States awarded him its Admiral of the Navy George Dewey Award in 2012.  In 2015, he was elected the Naval Order's Historian General.  He also serves as Historian of the Society of Cincinnati in Rhode Island and Historian of the Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars.
Additionally, Hattendorf has served on the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Subcommittee for Naval History from 2003 to 2008. He was its vice-chairman in 2005, then chairman for three years, 2006-2008. For “superb management abilities, innovative thinking, and outstanding leadership during his tenure” as chairman, he was awarded the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award. He is the immediate past-President of the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH), the national organization for historians, museum, archives, and library professionals in the broad field of maritime history. He serves on the Board of Advisors of the Canadian Forces College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in England and has been a member of Council of the Navy Records Society in the UK, corresponding member in the USA for the Society of Nautical Research (UK), which recognized his accomplishments in the field of maritime history by designating him a Fellow (FSNR) in 2016.  He has served as vice president of the Hakluyt Society, founding president of the American Friends of the Hakluyt Society, and an honorary corresponding member of the Royal Swedish Society for Nautical Sciences, the Académie du Var in France, and the Portuguese Navy’s Academia de Marinha.

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