Enriching the Curriculum
Preparing for the future often means exploring where we’ve been; many of our core and foundation courses cover crucial aspects of military history. U.S. Naval War College (NWC) also offers an array of electives, which change from term to term, many of which take a deeper dive into the past. For example, you may find classes that focus on the American Civil War or the life of George Washington.
Inspiring Research: The Edward S. Miller Fellowship Click to Open
Each year, our department awards the Edward S. Miller Research Fellowship. This $1,000 grant is given to an applicant with financial need who demonstrates the best use of our naval history research materials.
Apply for the Edward S. Miller Research Fellowship
To apply, submit a research proposal, statement of need, comprehensive research plan, CV, two letters of recommendation, and other relevant background information by August 1 to:
Miller History Fellowship Committee
Naval War College Foundation
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI 02841
Naval War College and Regional History
Founded in 1884, Naval War College has a rich history. The Maritime History Department is pivotal in archiving and preserving the history of our institution, as well as all naval activity in the Narragansett Bay region.
Naval Historical Collection Archives
The Naval Historical Collection (NHC) is the depository for College archives, manuscripts, oral histories, and special collections 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 NHC's primary source material 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.
Mahan Hall, home to NHC at the Naval War College, is temporarily closed from spring 2021 through 2023 to undergo a comprehensive renovation. To accommodate the extensive work involved, all archival collections have been relocated to an off-site storage facility and will remain off-site for the duration of the project which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. During this time, the NHC Archives is unavailable for research, digitization services are suspended, and there is no access to the building.
Although the physical collections are inaccessible during renovation, we encourage researchers to continue to use our online collections website to discover digital versions of documents and images from the collection.
Naval Historical Collection Archives Strategic Plan
The Naval Historical Collection Archives seeks to preserve the information and personal stories that address the critical issues of past and future naval warfare, joint planning at the strategic, operational, and tactical level, and the role of the U.S. Navy in the local, national, and global community. Explore our Strategic Plan
College Archives Click to Open
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 is organized into record groups (RG) which contain the records of the departments and divisions of the Naval War College. Information in the archives includes 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 material pertaining to technological developments and strategic and tactical problems of interest to the Navy.
Manuscripts Click to Open
The NHC includes more than 350 manuscript collections (MSC) 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 throughout its history. These include Alfred Thayer Mahan, Stephen B. Luce, Raymond A. Spruance, H. Kent Hewitt and James B. Stockdale.
In addition to the larger collections, manuscript items (MSI) represent a growing and unique body of documents available for research. There are now more than 600 letters, journals, letterpress volumes, certificates, and commissions 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.
Published guides and finding aids to the collections are available. View Finding Aids
Oral Histories Click to Open
Oral histories (OH) documenting 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 500 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.
Special Collections Click to Open
The Special Collections consist of 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.
Rare Books Click to Open
The Rare Books Collection includes more than 4,000 volumes dating from the sixteenth century to the present. The collection primarily focuses on maritime issues and the history of naval warfare, but significant works on myriad other topics, ranging from world history and politics to science, art, and literature, are also available for research. The Rare Books Collection can be located using the library's online catalog.