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Naval Historical Collection Archives: Our Collections

NHC is the U.S. Naval War College’s institutional archives and repository for manuscripts, oral histories, special collections, and rare books relating to the history of NWC, naval warfare, and the history of navies in Narragansett Bay.


Established in 1969, NHC’s resources are open to all NWC faculty, staff and students as well as the general public. Our primary users are students, faculty and staff at the NWC, naval historians, scholars and students of American military and diplomatic history, leadership, and strategy. 

The Naval Historical Collection encompasses over 6,000 linear feet of unclassified and classified materials from the last 250 years (1779 to the present). The bulk of the collection is comprised of the Naval War College Archives and the NHC Manuscript Collection. Other collections of note include the Oral History Collection and our Rare Books and Special Collections.


Collections about Naval Station Newport and the U.S. Navy

The Naval Historical Collection focuses on the Naval War College, navies in Narragansett Bay, and the history of naval warfare. Therefore, we don't have a lot of general Navy or Newport Navy Base records. These may be found in either the NARA collection, 181.9.2 Records of the Newport NTS (Newport, RI) or within Navy History and Heritage Command's collections. Reference staff at the NHHC can be contacted at 202-433-3224 or For more information about NHHC and their collections, visit their website.

NHC Collection Areas

Manuscript Collections

NHC holds over 350 manuscript collections and an additional 600+ manuscript items. These manuscripts include personal and official papers of NWC presidents, provosts, professors and naval officers including A.T. Mahan, Stephen B. Luce, Raymond A. Spruance, James B. Stockdale, and Frank Hartmann. In addition, the personal papers of hundreds of naval officers, professors and their families provide a strong narrative of life at NWC and in the Navy, both U.S. and international, from 1779 to the present.  


U.S. Naval War College Archives

The Naval War College Archives documents the administrative and curricular history of the College from its founding in 1884 to the present. These records demonstrate the role that NWC has played in naval leadership and warfare through curriculum design, the impacts of technological development, wargaming, and student and faculty research and publications. 

The Naval War College Archives are comprised of record groups that correspond to the many departments and divisions that make up the institution. 


Rare Books and Special Collections 

Rare Books and Special Collections include publications from the 18th through the 21st century on topics as wide-ranging as the Napoleonic wars to the U.S. in the Antarctic in a variety of formats: books, pamphlets, newspapers, film, photographs, and maps. Of particular interest for local history is a nearly full-run of the U.S.Navy's oldest newspaper, the Newport Naval Base newspaper, Navalog.

Rare Books are available only on-site in the NHC Reading Room at the Naval War College. 


Oral History Collection

The NHC Oral History Collection holds over 380 interviews with flag rank naval officers, WAVES, navy wives, and civilians illustrating their contributions to the US Navy completed by NHC staff, the Naval Institute Oral History program, and the Columbia University Oral History Office.  

Scanning Requests

NHC staff is unable to provide on-demand scans, photocopies, or reproductions of material not already digitized. During your research appointment, you may bring a portable device for image or document capture, such as a digital camera, tablet, or phone. Flatbed scanners and flash photography are not allowed. A reproduction fee may be applied for high-resolution scans:

  • Manuscript/Published Material in PDF format (200 dpi), $25.00 minimum charge plus $1.00 per page for orders in excess of 10 pages.
  • Manuscript/Published Material (300 dpi, or higher if requested), $25.00 per image.
  • Photos (300 dpi, or higher if requested), $25.00 per image.

Some images or documents may be copyrighted. It is the researcher's responsibility to identify the copyright owner and ensure compliance with all copyright requirements before making commercial, broadcast, or other use of this material.

Notice Concerning Copyright Restriction

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. 

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37, Part 201 SubChapter A Sec. 201.14

For more information on copyright law and "fair use," visit