Today we are celebrating the Navy Department Library’s 210th Anniversary. Though the library has been relocated several times within Washington D.C., and undergone a few organizational changes we are proud to trace our roots to a letter dated 31 March 1800 from President John Adams to Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert. This letter directed him to establish a library that would contain “the best writing…on the theory and practice of naval architecture, navigation, gunnery….”
From that beginning, the Library’s collections have grown to 156,000 books and tens of thousands of manuscripts, periodicals and government documents, with an emphasis on naval, military, and nautical history including foreign navies. The Library is home to the most comprehensive collection of historical literature on the United States Navy.
One of the few major military historical libraries open to the public, the library serves an international audience. It provides resources vital to the writing and publishing of naval history, as well as information relating to the needs of today’s US Navy.