Last week 230 volumes of nautical accident investigation reports from the National Transportation Safety Board were donated to the Navy Department Library. These reports detail the incidents and investigations into marine accidents for the period 1979-2006. Several of the reports focus on accidents involving US Navy vessels and other vessels. These reports detail such incidents as the sinking of small passenger vessels to groundings of large transport ships, to include the May 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez. The in-depth reports cover crew information, meteorological information, rescue efforts, and the testing and research done to investigate the incidents. These reports are a wealth of information from analysis to the findings of the investigations. These books are currently being processed and will join our collection some time in the next few weeks. We hope this exciting new addition will become a valuable resource for researchers in the very near future.
Archive for the 'Library' Category
This week marks graduation for the Class of 2010 across the nation. High school students may be graduating and heading off to enlist in the Navy, and Naval Academy Midshipmen and NROTC students are soon ready to begin their careers as Navy officers. As part of our incredible collection the Navy Department Library contains some of the books that mark these momentous occasions.
Lucky Bags are an incredible resource from the Naval Academy and our collection dates from 1849 to 2001. We also have NROTC year books from universities and colleges such as Notre Dame, Marquette University, and the University of Washington. There are even books from the Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island from the 1950s and 1960s. Our collections also include large runs of training or recruit books from Naval Training Centers in San Diego, Orlando, Great Lakes, and Bainbridge.
While not every year or company is represented it is still an impressive and treasured collection. For a more complete listing of the training and education yearbooks in our library please visit our website. These books are available to the public in our library spaces or in some cases inter-library loans may be requested if you are unable to visit us in person.
Last week the Naval History and Heritage Command was host to the 2010 National Historical Conference and Naval History Workshop. This conference brought together those working to preserve and share naval history, allowing talk about how historians, museums, and libraries and archives are getting the job done and to learn from each other. One of the sessions focused on libraries and archives, highlighting the amazing naval history collections that are available.
Staff members from the Library of the Marine Corps, Archives and Special Collections; the library at the National Naval Aviation Museum; and the Operational Archives of NHHC shared with attendees some of the interesting items they have in their collections, and why these collections are just as important as the objects held in the museums.
Libraries and archives tell the stories behind the objects. The Marine Corps Archives and the NHHC Operational Archives mainly tell the official stories of the US Navy and Marine Corps. These are the command histories submitted annually, the after action reports, and deck logs. They also tell the more personal stories through collections of personal papers and diaries of both influential and not so well known Sailors and Marines. These collections also tell the social history of the organizations through recruiting posters, photographs, and menus from major events.
Libraries such as the one at the National Naval Aviation Museum help to humanize the objects in the museum and provide the social history aspect of the conflicts and battles. Collections of photos, diaries, flight log books, maps, and film footage help tell the story of naval aviation to future generations long after those original aviators are gone.
The Navy Department Library helps to tell the scholarly and social history of the Navy. With over 150,000 volumes of naval history and an extensive manuscript collection there are many stories waiting to be discovered. We have everything from cruise books to ordnance manuals and most anything in between.
Whether you are looking for the official history or what it felt like to be a part of history, libraries and archives are the place to look. Call and arrange a visit to one of the historical libraries or archives, and let us help you research and tell your story.
There is no doubt that we have some very unusual and unique items in our 150,000 item collection. Some are on display in our Rare Book Room, but others like this little book are tucked away safely on shelves waiting to be found. This particular item was found on a completely unrelated search last week.
We had a question regarding whether or not a particular anchor could have come from a “Mosquito Boat” from the World War II era. After exhausting our anchor resources, including line drawings of anchors we decided to try searching for mosquito boats in our catalog. The record for this particular book showed up, and we were intrigued by the fact that the author was listed as Dr. Suess. Curious as to why we had a book by Dr. Suess in our collection we went up to Special Collections to find the undersized book. Sure enough here was a small book obviously illustrated by Dr. Suess and published by the Government Printing Office in 1944.
This diminutive book chronicles the life and times of Ann, the Anopheles Mosquito and warns against the spread of Malaria. We’ve had the book digitized and it will join our collection in the Online Reading Room in the next couple of weeks. For now here is a preview of a few of the illustrations.
Last Friday, April 16th the Navy Department Library was the recipient of a very generous donation. Mrs. Mary Lou Mawdsley, her son Alan Mawdsley, and her grandson Jimmy presented us with 59 cruise books collected by her late husband, Dr. Dean L. Mawdsley. The collection ranges from World War I to the Cold War, with a majority of them coming from the World War II era.
Cruise books are often compared to yearbooks, in that they tell the informal story of a ship and the people who have served onboard. Our collection contains nearly 3,000 cruise books and continues to grow. The publication of cruise books began in the late 19th century to commemorate special events such as the Great White Fleet’s world voyage, and a few were issued for vessels in World War I. World War II helped establish a more widespread practice. These books were not official US Navy publications, and were largely initiated, funded, and produced by the crew of the ship.
Dr. Mawdsley is the author of Cruise Books of the United States Navy in World War II, a bibliography published in 2004 by the former Naval Historical Center now the Naval History and Heritage Command. Dr. Mawdsley was a retired physician with a passion for collecting books. His passion grew into the bibliography, and he was considered an expert on World War II naval cruise books. The contributions he made to the publication and now to our library are significant to researchers and cruise book enthusiasts, and we are very grateful for this incredible donation.
Representing a major accomplishment for the Navy Department Library we present to you, A Narrative of the March and Operations of the Army of the Indus. This digitized version of the book is now in our Online Reading Room. This very detailed work describes the march into Afghanistan in 1839 by the British Army combined with the Bengal and Bombay Forces. It is a fascinating look at military operations in Afghanistan in the past, and gives a context for much of today’s fighting. Compiled and largely written by the Judge Advocate General of the “Bengal Column and the Army of the Indus,” it describes in detail the conditions of the march into Afghanistan and the military operations in Ghuznee. Everything from the political climate, including a look at the history of the region, to the number of camels lost on the expedition is covered in this very thorough book. While this book does cover a British Army invasion and is not a work of naval history it does give us a sense of the history of the people of Afghanistan and what today’s sailors and other military members are facing in the region.
The US Navy has a deep rooted culture of literary and scholarly pursuits born out of the need for self-sufficiency. While at sea for months at a time with very little communication from home, naval officers had a need for a well rounded education to help make necessary decisions. World War II helped to further this tradition as many academics were pressed into military service. The tradition stretches from shipboard libraries in the early US Navy to those who have served in the Navy and went on to become authors and historians.
Writings range from tales of the sea and biographies of famous naval officers by Herman Melville and James Fennimore Cooper, to books on Naval Strategy by Alfred Mahan. The author James Mitchner was a contributor to the US Naval Administrative Histories of World War II, most likely the section on the Pacific. The Navy has also produced many historians that have made major contributions to naval history. Samuel Eliot Morrison comes to mind as well as William Sims. Our collections include many volumes written by both Navy officers and enlisted men, too many to list, and even a certificate for William Sims’ 1921 Pulitzer Prize in History. We also have a few collections of naval personnel who were book collectors and donated them to our library; of note are the George Henry Preble Collection and the Rodgers Family Collection .
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.