Since the birth of the Republic, naval and political leaders such as John Paul Jones, Alexander Hamilton, and Matthew Perry had advocated for a formal institution for the education and training of U.S. Navy officers. With the alleged attempted mutiny aboard the training ship U.S.S. Somers in 1842, it appeared that Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft finally had his justification for the establishment of a Naval School. Three years later, on October 10, 1845, the institution that would eventually become the United States Naval Academy was founded on the small plot of land in Annapolis previously inhabited by Fort Severn.
The Naval Academy History Collection, through primary and secondary sources, tells the stories of the founding and organization of the Academy, its early days of operations, the experiences of some of its first students and faculty, the centennial celebrations of the Academy, and the genesis of the school seal. Included in the collection are early published and unpublished histories, personal recollections, private correspondence, guidebooks, and several of the founding documents of the Academy signed by Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft and Naval School Superintendent Franklin Buchanan.