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The Naval History Society was a historical organization that existed in New York City from 1912 to 1936. The collection of documents, books, manuscripts, and memorabilia related to naval and military history was housed in Aeolian Hall on West 42nd Street 1912 to 1925 when it was relocated to the New-York Historical Society and ceased independent operations in 1936 becoming that societies "Naval History Society Collection".
Naval History Society Collection is now cataloged with those of the Historical Society, and its 53 individual manuscript collections, referred to as the Naval History Society Collection, including the Society's records, are in the Historical Society's manuscript collection.
Its collections include many named for renowned naval officers or vessels, including Commodore William Bainbridge, Admiral John Barry, USS Boston, James Fenimore Cooper, USS Dictator, John Ericsson (designer of USS Monitor), Gustavus Vasa Fox (assistant Secretary of the Navy under Abraham Lincoln), USS General Grant, Isaac Hull, John Paul Jones, Oliver Hazard Perry, documentation of the Point Lookout confederate prisoner of war camp, as well as logbooks of US Navy, British Navy, and commercial vessels.
The Collection reflects most strongly the personal interest of founding president John Sanford Barnes, son of General James Barnes and a collector of books, manuscripts, and memorabilia connected to naval history and personalities. His son, Col. James Barnes, donated Barnes's collections to the Naval History Society in 1915, where they were subsequently added to by donation and purchase
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 provides primary sources on American naval involvement in hostilities from the American Revolution (1775–1783) to the Spanish American War (1898), 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.