Skip to main content

Early records of the U.S. Naval War College

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-01

Scope and Contents

This record group is comprised of correspondence, memoranda, lists, contracts, inventories, and plans regarding the establishment, administration and curriculum of the Naval War College, new building construction, and items relating to the establishment of a naval coaling station somewhere in the Narragansett Bay, R.I. Of particular interest may be correspondence with discussions about merging the NWC with the Naval Torpedo Station in 1888 and the possible removal of NWC to Washington, D.C. in 1910-1911. Also included are journals and letterpress copybooks kept by past NWC presidents, Charles Stockton and French E. Chadwick.


  • 1883-1919
  • Majority of material found within 1895-1911

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Historical note

U.S. Naval War College Chronology

7 Aug 1882
Coaster’s Harbor Island is ceded to the U.S. government from Rhode Island
4 Jun 1883
William E. Chandler, Secretary of the Navy, accepts Coaster’s Harbor Island for the U.S. Navy via General Order 33
6 Oct 1884
General Order 325 establishes the Naval War College in Newport
6 Oct 1884-1886
Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce named the first President, Naval War College
8 Sep 1885
First lecture given
Captain A. T. Mahan assumes his first term as NWC President
First lecture on war gaming given by William McCarty Little
11 Jan 1889
Consolidation of NWC with the Naval Torpedo Station ordered by the Navy Department
Captain Caspar F. Goodrich begins the first of two terms as college president
Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 by Mahan is published
No courses held. Bureau of Navigations cites shortage of officers
May 1892
Luce Hall is completed – first building constructed for NWC
Mahan’s second term as President
No course held
Commander Charles H. Stockton assumes his first term as President
4 Oct 1893
First visit by a Secretary of the Navy, Hilary A. Herbert
Captain Henry C. Taylor named President, Naval War College
Goodrich’s second term as President
Stockton’s second term as President
Mar 1898- Nov 1898
All activities suspended due to United States participation in the Spanish-American War
Rear Admiral French E. Chadwick named President
Captain Charles S. Sperry becomes tenth President, Naval War College
Jun 1904
New library (present day Mahan Hall) is completed
Rear Admiral John Porter Merrell serves as President
Rear Admiral Raymond P. Rodgers serves as President
Term of Captain William L. Rodgers, the last non-flag officer to serve as President
Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight serves as President
Rear Admiral William S. Sims begins his first term as President
Academic activities suspended due to World War I


2.09 Linear Feet (5 archival boxes)


Correspondence, memoranda, lists, contracts, inventories, military and naval orders, and plans regarding the early administration and curriculum of the Naval War College, new building construction, and items relating to the establishment of a naval coaling station in Narraganset Bay. Also included are journals and letterpress copybooks kept by past NWC presidents Charles Stockton and French Chadwick.


This collection is arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquisition information is unknown.


No accruals are expected. This record group is closed.

Existence and Location of Copies

Two reels of microfilm with selections of early records from 1884-1910 are available at the Naval Historical Collection.

Processing Information

This collection was first processed by former NHC Archivist, Evelyn Cherpak. During initial processing, correspondence regarding the early history of the Naval War College from 1892-1919 were removed from RG 2, Box 37 to RG 1 and replaced with photocopies.

In 2016, the collection was rehoused according to current archival standards and the finding aid was updated.

Guide to the Early records of the U.S. Naval War College1883-1919 (bulk 1895-1911)
Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Delmage.
Oct 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Naval Historical Collection Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US