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. 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.
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 the 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 War College Museum
Located in historic Founders Hall, the historic Naval War College Museum serves to educate the Naval War College community, as the corporate memory of the Navy in the region, and as a clearinghouse for naval history information in New England.
Exhibits at NWC Museum Click to Open
“To Win or Lose All: Williams S. Sims and the U.S. Navy in the First World War.” See Exhibit
Beginning December 14th, the Naval War College Museum will host a new exhibit, “To Win or Lose All: Williams S. Sims and the U.S. Navy in the First World War.” The exhibit occupies the museum’s gallery on the second floor.
More on NWC Museum
Visiting Naval War College Museum Click to Open
The NWC Museum is open to the public year round Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the summer from June through September the museum is also open on Saturdays from noon to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on holidays. For more information on visiting the museum, please visit our page. More Information
Naval Historical Collection
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.
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.
Plan a Research Visit
Researchers from outside of the Naval War College are welcome to conduct research in the Naval Historical Collection. Researchers are encouraged to contact NHC staff to discuss their research in advance of their visit.
Visiting the Reading Room Click to Open
The Naval Historical Collection Reading Room is located on the first floor of Mahan Hall. All researchers are required to complete an Application for Research and adhere to the Reading Room Policies. Please review these policies under the 'Reading Room Policies' section prior to your visit to ensure that you are in compliance.
Subject guides and finding aids are available to help researchers identify sources in the Naval Historical Collection (NHC) that may be relevant to their research. Researchers are encouraged to contact NHC staff to discuss their research in advance of their visit.
Note: Due to planned renovations in Mahan Hall, research in NHC Reading Room is now open by appointment only. Please email NHC to request an appointment.
Naval Historical Collection
Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI 02841-1207
Reading Room Policies Click to Open
All visitors to the NHC Reading Room must adhere to the Reading Room Policies. Please review these policies prior to your visit to ensure that you are in compliance.
Download Application for Research
- Patron Belongings: Jackets and coats are not permitted in the reading room. All bags, including purses, handbags, backpacks and laptop cases must be stored prior to using materials. Absolutely no ink pens or highlighters allowed. All personal items brought into the reading room are subject to staff inspection on exit.
- Technology: Personal laptops and mobile devices are permitted for note-taking and image capture, however, any cases must be stored with other belongings. NHC staff may allow photocopies or scans of documents to be made after reviewing material. Cell phones must be kept on silent and any conversation must take place outside of the reading room.
- Food and Drink: Absolutely no food or drink is permitted in the reading room. This includes gum, candy and cough drops. Water bottles and travels mugs are not permitted and must be stored with other personal belongings.
- Materials Handling: Arrive to the Reading Room with clean hands, washed with only soap and water. Lotions and hand sanitizers are to be avoided. To ensure the security and integrity of collections, researchers are limited to a single archival box and/or three published works at the work space. Remove and re-file a single folder at a time from the archival box. Do not remove items from a folder or shift the order of items in a folder. Materials must not be marked on, defaced, leaned on, altered, folded anew, or traced on.
- Children: Children under the age of 10 are not permitted in the reading room. Children age 10 to 15 may enter the reading room if they are accompanied by a responsible adult, but are not permitted to handle collections materials.