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United States Naval Lyceum Records, 1834-1846: Finding Aid

Published in June 2011

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 248
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: United States Naval Lyceum Records
  • Dates: 1834-1846
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 half-manuscript box containing 2 items
  • Creator: United States Naval Lyceum
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The United States Naval Lyceum, founded at the New York Navy Yard in 1833, was a learned society composed of Navy and Marine Corps Officers, which maintained a library, museum, and a bi-monthly publication. The records consist of the Lyceum's library catalog and member register.

History of the United States Naval Lyceum

On November 28, 1833, a group of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officers, including Captain Matthew Perry and Commodore Charles G. Ridgely, founded the United States Naval Lyceum at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Organized to "promote the diffusion of useful knowledge, to foster a spirit of harmony and a community of interest in the service, and to cement the links which unite us [Navy and Marine Corps officers] as professional brethren," the Lyceum consisted of a library, a museum, and for a brief time boasted its own journal, Naval Magazine. Additionally, members of the Naval Lyceum were among the leading voices in favor of the establishment of a formal naval academy.

Fifty-five years after its founding, the United States Naval Lyceum was disbanded. After ceasing operations, the Lyceum's collections were transferred to the United States Naval Academy where they became the core of the Naval Academy Museum's collection.

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Description of Contents

The United States Naval Lyceum Records, comprising 2.5 linear inches of documentation, consists of a catalog of the Lyceum's library and the Lyceum's membership ledger.

The library catalog, a single volume formally entitled "Catalogue of the Books Composing the Library of the U.S. Naval Lyceum," consists of a handwritten inventory of the Lyceum's library holdings. The catalog is organized by subject area, with headings that include ancient history, modern history, antiquities, geography, travels, memoirs, biography, politics, ethics, ecclesiastical history, natural history, chemical sciences, medical sciences, mathematics, astronomy, fine arts, and philosophy. Inscribed on the front cover is a note stating, "This Catalogue was transcribed by a person sent from the U.S. Ship Fulton, who left it a mass of Errors. It is, however, made correct and will answer for the Printer, to print from."

The membership ledger, formally entitled "Ledger No. 1," consists of the Lyceum's membership, arranged chronologically in the order of initiation. The ledger also lists each member's initiation fee and annual subscription fees. Included among the members listed in the ledger are Matthew C. Perry, Oliver Hazard Perry, Franklin Buchanan (first Superintendent of the Naval Academy), Hiram Paulding (eventual Commandant of the New York Navy Yard), Reverend George Jones (first chaplain of the Naval Academy), Charles G. Ridgely (first president of the Lyceum), Samuel F. Du Pont, and Dr. John Lockwood (medical officer and chemistry professor of the Naval Academy), as well as Alexander Slidell Mackenzie and Guert Gansevoort (Commanding and Executive Officers of U.S.S. Somers at the time of Philip Spencer's attempted mutiny).

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Arranged alphabetically by document title.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The United States Naval Lyceum Records are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition


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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional materials pertaining to the United States Naval Lyceum in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library include a Lyceum library catalog dating from 1880 (Catalogue of the Library of the U.S. Naval lyceum, Navy yard, New York, also Lists of Officers and Members), as well as a copy of the Lyceum's 1836 Constitution and By-Laws (currently housed in the Special Collections Vertical Files).

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

United States Naval Lyceum Records, MS 248

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was originally processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1990 and reprocessed by David D'Onofrio in June 2011.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • United States Naval Lyceum

Genre Terms

  • Book catalogs
  • Manuscripts
  • Membership lists
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Catalogue of the Books Composing the Library of the U.S. Naval Lyceum, 1841

Box 1 Folder 2

U.S. Naval Lyceum, Brooklyn, N.Y., Ledger No. 1, 1834-1846

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