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Naval Historical Collection Archives: Research

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.

Steps for Doing Primary Source Research in the Naval Historical Collections

1. Decide on your research interest.

2. Search the finding aids available on Naval Historical Collection Online to materials that may be of interest and relevant to your topic.

3. Email NHC once you have a list of material you'd like to see or are having trouble locating anything relevant. The archivists on staff can help you identify appropriate collections and forward any finding aids that aren't currently available online.

4. Set an appointment to visit the Naval Historical Collection in Mahan M-13.

Please fill out a Researcher Application. If you don't submit an application prior to your visit, you'll be asked to fill one out at the time of your visit.

If you do not have a military id or a CAC card, we will need at least two weeks notice due to Department of Defense and Department of the Navy vetting requirements for base access. Please contact NHC so that we may forward you the paperwork necessary for base access.

5. The staff at NHC will pull the materials you have requested so you can make the most of your time during your visit. Please review all of the NHC Reading Room policies on the Researcher Application to ensure you are compliant during your visit.

Please note that 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 required for publication.

6. Make certain to note what materials you have used in your research: Collection name, box number, folder number and other identifying information for citations and in case you need to duplicate your research at a later date.

Scanning/Reproduction 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 copyright.gov

Citation Information

Citations for NHC material should follow the following format.

NHC Citation template: Author, "Title," Page or Date. Collection name (for manuscript collections), Collection number (i.e. RG 8, MSC 256), Box number, Folder number. Naval Historical Collection, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI. [URL, Access date (if digital)].

To follow best practices, include, wherever possible, the following information: information that identifies the document or item, information that identifies where the document or item was found, and information identifying where research was done (the repository). For digital materials include the URL and date the digital material was accessed. 

Additional resources on citations for primary sources: 

Rare Books and volumes in the Special Collection follow regular bibliographical (book) citation guidelines. Consult the Writing Center and NWC Library for information on citation styles.