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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Naval History Society Collection, 1721-1995

Celia Hartmann, Project Archivist, Naval History Society Collection at the New-York Historical Society has sent along exciting news:

The New-York Historical Society has made available the finding aid for its newly processed Naval History Society Collection. You can find it at
where it is fully searchable.

The Collection consists of 53 individual collections, many named for renowned naval officers or vessels. These include correspondence, letterbooks, journals and diaries, lectures, essays, account books, biographical writings, genealogical information, scrapbooks, orders, notes, articles and clippings, photographs, manuscripts, and ships' logs, as well as the organizational records and correspondence of the Naval History Society itself.

The majority of the collections document American naval engagements and commercial maritime pursuits, personalities, and vessels; a few collections of British and French documents are included. The Collection as a whole provides primary sources on American naval involvement in hostilities from the American Revolution to the Spanish American War, as well as routine commercial and naval shipboard life, naval design, navigation, education and officer training. The Society's records document the founding, management, and activities of a collecting and publishing organization in the first third of the 20th century.

Processing of the Collection was made possible by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

The finding aid is a thing of beauty; easy to navigate, each of the series is linked to the relevant container list. Related material is covered, and under "Access restrictions," it's noted that microfilms of portions of the collection are available via interlibrary loan! The access points are easily browsed, and also hyperlinked, covering names, subjects, and even document types.

The only item that seems missing in the finding aid is a link for further information, so researchers take note: Celia will be there to answer questions until the end of the month. After that, contact the reference staff at the New York Historical Society. (If their website is unavailable, try phoning 212-873-3400.)

ETA: The finding aid now has a link for further information: select List of Finding Aids to see more finding aids, a link to the institution's home, etc. (Feb. 25, 2009)

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