Skip to Main Content

Special Collections & Archives

The rare or unique holdings of Nimitz Library.

Primary sources

There's more to SC&A than primary sources, but they are a major part of the collection. These are some of the most useful items, but there is much more. Contact us with your topic to see whether we have anything that may help.

Naval history

Oral histories - Especially helpful for HH104 leader papers, these are transcribed interviews of Navy and Marine Corps leaders from WWII and subsequent conflicts. Search the library catalog for "Oral history program navy" and the name of the leader you're researching to see if an oral history is available. There are also volumes for trailblazers such as the first African-American officers and first female midshipmen.

WWII naval action reports - MS 415 (World War II Ship Action Reports, 1942-1945) and MS 416 (World War II Battle Action and Operational Reports, 1941-1945) contain descriptions of battles and other U.S. naval activity during WWII. Some are even available digitally.

Submarines - For historical newspaper, magazine, and journal articles about virtually every U.S. sub as well as some foreign nations' subs, the Somers collection is a can't-miss resource.

USNA history

Grades, class rankings, curriculum - Whether you're researching a particular midshipman or a specific time period at the academy, the Annual Register of the United States Naval Academy can be very helpful and is available digitally up through 1970. Its contents change over the years often include a historical sketch of USNA, lists of faculty and staff, admissions requirements, typical exam questions, summer cruise ports of call, and courses of study.

USNA Archives - The archives contain the official records of the academy. They are part of the National Archives that are stored here and a overview of the entire collection is available on it's website. However, the most useful parts of the archives are described in detail in these finding aids.

Midhshipman manuscripts - We have a few collections of journals and letters written by midshipmen during their time at the academy. Some collections cover the midshipmen's entire time at USNA while others only describe short periods or specific events such as summer cruises. The dates following the collection's name indicate the time period covered by the collection, and they are in chronological order.