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Nimitz Library

History Timeline

1845
1845
The United States Naval Academy convenes its first classes in October with its library located in a corner of Superintendent Franklin Buchanan's office. The collection consists of 300 books transferred from ships in the fleet and about 100 newly purchased books.
1845
William Chauvenet serves as the library's first director.
1846-1847
The library moves into the same building as the recitation hall, then into two large rooms on the second floor of the new mess hall. The collection grows to about 9,000 volumes during the antebellum period. Both buildings would eventually be torn down to make room for Bancroft Hall and Tecumseh Court. 
1851
George Jones briefly assumes the role of library director until Chauvenet resumes the post in 1853
1859
John H.C. Coffin will see the library through two relocations as director during the Civil War.
1861-1865
Along with the rest of the academy, the library moves to Newport, Rhode Island, for the duration of the Civil War. Only about 1,000 volumes were available to midshipmen in the Atlantic House, the academy’s headquarters in Newport, with the rest stored away in crates. The library returns to the mess hall following the war and the move back to Annapolis.
1865
John S. Barnes takes over as library director.
1868
William H. Wilcox becomes the library director and hires Frederick Poole, former director of the Boston Athenaeum, as a consultant.
1869
The academy purchases the neighboring Old Governor's Mansion (a.k.a Jennings House) and its grounds. The library moves into the mansion's first floor, expanding into its subsequent additions, while the superintendent moves his offices to the second floor.
1872
Thomas Karney is named library director.
1886
Arthur Newton Brown takes over as library director, which becomes a full-time position for the first time. Previously, the position was a collateral duty for a professor.
1895
Marshal Oliver steps in as library director until Arthur Newton Brown returns to the position in 1899.
1900
The Old Governor’s Mansion is razed to make room for Bancroft and Dahlgren Halls. The library is temporarily housed in the swing space of the old chapel (a.k.a. Institute Building).
1907
Mahan Hall is completed, and the library, with its 47,800 books, moves into what is now the Hart Room.
1922
Upon the retirement of Arthur Newton Brown, Richard Johnson Duval takes over as library director which now consists of six staff members and 60,000 volumes.
1939
Chares W. Mixer serves as library director during World War II and is the first director to hold a graduate degree in library science.
1941-1945
With the library's collection now topping 100,000 volumes, two decks of Maury Hall adjoining the Hart Room are converted to library stacks.
1946
Louis M. Bolander becomes library director following the departure of Charles Mixer to become Director of Libraries at Columbia University.
1948
Two Regimental Libraries open in Bancroft Hall to make recreational reading available to the midshipmen.
1952
As the collection continues to grow, a large portion of it moves to Building 131. This becomes known as the Library Annex and houses periodicals, government documents, and rare books.
1956
Vernon Dale Tate succeeds Bolander as library director, and librarians begin offering instruction sessions.
1961
The extension of Bancroft Hall that will eventually be named Mitscher Hall opens, housing the recreational reading from the two Regimental Libraries along with other material in the new Brigade Library.
1966-1969
The library's growing collection is further dispersed into five buildings due to space restrictions.
  • Mahan Hall: the main library with humanities and social sciences material
  • Mitscher Hall: the Brigade Library with fine arts and recreational reading
  • Isherwood Hall (where Alumni Hall now stands): the Science-Technology Library with books on science, technology, and naval subjects, opened in 1968.
  • Griffin Hall (adjacent to Isherwood Hall): the Periodicals Library with all bound journals and magazines.
  • Maury Hall: the newly created Special Collections Division to house the rare or unique items in the collection. Maury’s basement is also used for storage.
1967
Richard A. Evans starts as library director to oversee the library's biggest move yet.
1969
Contractors begin a $500,000 project to convert all library call numbers from the little-used military library classification system to the Library of Congress classification system, a standard for academic libraries.
1973
All library collections are reunited under one roof as Nimitz Library opens. The building was designed by John Carl Warnecke, F.I.A.A. and George M. Ewing, Engineering Consultants with interior design by Eleanor LeMaire Associates, Inc.
1985-1990
The library introduces its first computerized catalog in 1985, followed three years later by the first CD-ROM databases for journal articles and other material. In 1990, Nimitz Library joined the Library of Congress American Memory pilot program, which made digital copies of Library of Congress materials available using computers and optical discs.
1991
The Educational Resources Center, precursor to the current Multimedia Support Center, is transferred to the library to provide audiovisual services to the academy.
1991
Following Richard Evans’ retirement and being given emeritus honors, Richard H. Werking assumes the position of Library Director and Associate Dean for Information Services and Professor of History.
1993
The William W. Jefferies Memorial Archives brought administratively under the library (it had always been physically located in Nimitz) to create the Special Collections and Archives Division.
2010
Patricia R. Patterson steps in as library director following Richard Werking’s departure and being given emeritus honors.
2011
James Rettig is named library director.
2017
Lawrence E. Clemens becomes library director.
Present
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