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Rare Book Collection

Numbering more than 4,000 volumes, the Rare Books Collection offers researchers an important resource for studying maritime history and the history of naval warfare.  The collection – which includes published works dating from the sixteenth century to the present – primarily focuses on maritime affairs.  Researchers however can also find significant works on myriad other topics, ranging from world history and politics to science, art, and literature.   Collections of note include volumes from the personal libraries of Naval War College luminaries Stephen B. Luce and Alfred Thayer Mahan, as well as the Dr. Alexander Hamilton Rice Collection on geography and exploration, which includes a first edition of Richard Hakluyt’s The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589).

The Rare Book Collection is available for research on site in the Naval Historical Collection Reading Room.  Researchers can search the collection online using the NWC Library Catalog.  Using the "Power Search" page, researchers should find "location" and select "Rare Book Collection – Mahan" from the menu to limit their search to books in the Rare Books Collection. Once a volume of interest is located, researchers should contact the Naval Historical Collection to arrange a visit.