In the Beginning
". . . to organize a Society of the Officers of the Navy for the purpose of discussing matters of professional interest." Such was the purpose of a meeting of 15 officers in the lecture room of the U. S. Naval Academy's Department of Physics and Chemistry on 9 October 1873, as stated by the Superintendent, Rear Admiral John L. Worden, who presided. There is no record of whose was the concept, nor do we know who organized this meeting which obviously had the full support of the Superintendent. The best indications, supported by survivors' memories 25 years later, are that the idea came from Commodore Foxhall Parker and that the meeting was organized by Lieutenant Charles Belknap. Who really deserves the credit is immaterial; there had been enough professional discussion of the disgraceful condition of the U. S. Navy and the need for naval officers themselves to do something about it to show clearly that this was an idea whose time had come.
The idea was not new. Early in the 19th century, a popular fascination had been the American Lyceum system of adult education, in which citizens of towns and villages subscribed money to attract famous lecturers on literary or scientific subjects and to provide a forum for them. Master Commandant Matthew Perry, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, thought that naval officers needed cultural education as much as any civilian group. Commodore Charles Ridgely, the Commandant, agreed and, in 1833, they established the United States Naval Lyceum "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 as professional brethren." Rather elaborate facilities—lecture hall, library, reading room, and a small museum outfitted by members and friends—were made available in the Yard and weekly meetings were held for discussions and the reading of papers Part of the Naval Lyceum's early popularity may have resulted from the fact that it offered intellectual recreation that was not available along Sands Street outside the gate.
Three years later the Naval Lyceum began publishing a bimonthly Naval Magazine, featuring a crusading editorial page and articles by officers noted for expertise in their subjects. In its brief existence, the Naval Magazine argued for the abolition of flogging, the establishment of apprentice training in the Navy and for the establishment of a Naval Academy, for a promotion system whereby officers could "aspire to command before reaching old age," for incorporating the grade of admiral into the Navy's rank structure, and for elimination of the "insulting" judicial practice in civil courts of sentencing criminals "to the Penitentiary or the Navy." This forerunner of the Naval Institute Proceedings survived for only two years before its funds ran out, but it had done notable work. The Naval Lyceum itself continued to flourish; branches were opened in other cities, a principal one being in Annapolis, where its establishment shortly followed that of the Naval Academy in 1845.
The Naval Lyceum, however, could not survive the four-year hiatus of the Civil War, when all professional interest and attention were devoted to more practical matters. Although some reading rooms were kept open, no meetings were held after the War and the branches gave up, one by one. Finally, in 1889, the original Naval Lyceum in Brooklyn closed its doors.
As usual after all our wars before and since, the immediate post-Civil War years saw an emasculation of the Navy that had been the key to victory. Where others profited from the Monitor and the Virginia, the United States not only refused to build new, ironclad, steam-propelled ships, but also sold off or laid up most of the fleet that had been the world's most powerful in 1865. At the time of the Virginias affair in November 1873, when the American public screamed for action against Spain, we could muster only a dozen or so wooden-hulled ships carrying muzzle-loading, smooth-bore guns. These relics had a maximum fleet speed of about 4 knots and their crews contained more foreign nationals than American citizens.
The preceding 20 years had seen the development of steam propulsion, the screw propeller, below-waterline engineering spaces, and armor plate above iron hulls. Developed during that period, too, were the rifled gun, the shell, Dahlgren's "soda bottle" gun design, rams, mines, torpedoes, torpedo boats, and submarines. And, of course, naval officers had devised fleet tactics best to employ these important innovations and epochal weapon systems.
Yet, in the mid-1870s, that orgy of creativity seemed suddenly to have ended. Where other navies eagerly pursued the new American developments, the American phobia for disarmament turned the U. S. Navy away from modernization and backward to the doldrums of the 1840s. Personnel policies and promotion, strictly by seniority, seemed to promise a Navy steered by palsied hands on rotted tillers. The one exception had been the establishment in 1869 of the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport and a very limited officer postgraduate course there in 1870.
Interested officers, becalmed in these postwar doldrums, were stifled for lack of any forum in which to argue their ideas for the Navy's development and future. What was left of the Naval Lyceums no longer served that purpose and the new Army and Navy Journal, privately published in Washington, was no better an answer. However, many of our officers were acquainted with the successful Journal of the Royal United Services Institute in Britain, La Revue Maritime et Coloniale in France, and similar publications of the Russian, German, and Italian navies. These published some of the best naval and military writing of the time, serving admirably to keep their officers professionally informed and intellectually challenged. Certainly the time was ripe for the re-establishment of such a forum in the United States and, between October and December of 1873, a small group of far-seeing officers in Annapolis—old and young, line and staff, active and retired—set out to do just that. To their infant organization they gave the name, United States Naval Institute. A happy choice indeed.
The Naval Institute's "Founding Fathers" were not only a distinguished but also a mixed group. In addition to Rear Admiral Worden, Commodore Parker, and Lieutenant Belknap, they included Commanders Edward Terry and S. Dana Greene (who had been Worden's XO and Acting CO in the Monitor), Chief Engineer C. H. Baker, Medical Director Philip Lansdale, Pay Inspector James Murray, Lieutenant Commanders P. E. Harrington, J. E. Craig, Caspar F. Goodrich, P. H. Cooper, and C. J. Train, Lieutenant Willard H. Brownson, and Captain McLane Tilton, U. S. Marine Corps. By the fourth meeting in December, the roster had grown to 36 members, including a good many from Washington.
The first meeting on 9 October followed the Lyceum pattern, including reading of a paper by Commodore Parker on "The Battle of Lepanto," and was favorably reported by the Army and Navy Journal, where the paper was later published in serial installments. More important, the meeting established an operating committee with Commander Terry as acting secretary "to further the objects of the association." Of his first letters to the Bureau Chiefs announcing the new Institute and asking their support in passing the word, two brought immediate response and devoted loyalty: Commodores C. R. P. Rodgers (Yards & Docks) and Daniel Ammen (Navigation) became members Number 2 and Number 3 following Rear Admiral Worden. Another letter of 28 October, to Captain Stephen B. Luce in Boston, invited him to present a paper at the next meeting in Annapolis on 13 November. In spite of the short notice, he did so and soon after became another dedicated member of the Institute.
That November meeting set a pattern that continued for many years; a monthly meeting convened in the early evening from October through June, reading of a "paper of the evening" on some professional subject, followed by a lively discussion of the paper among those present, a few business matters and, later, publication of the paper and the discussion for the full membership. Commodore Rodgers presided and made obvious the wisdom of having a senior officer in the chair to act as moderator, for the discussion was free and many of the members were strong-minded men. The Luce paper, "The Manning of our Navy and Mercantile Marine," thus became the lead article of Volume I, 1874, in the continuous publication of The Papers and Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute. The later shortening of that title was a welcome improvement.
By the end of the year the new organization had held four meetings and was growing rapidly. It had adopted its permanent name and objective, "the advancement of professional and scientific knowledge in the Navy" (the addition of "literary" came in 1884), a constitution, and by-laws. It had secured the full approval and support of the Navy Department, perhaps partly because the constitution provided for a Patron (Secretary of the Navy), a President (Admiral of the Navy), a Vice President (Superintendent U. S. Naval Academy), and a Board of Regents (chiefs of bureaus and commandants of shore stations). The Admiral of the Navy at the time was David Dixon Porter, a former Superintendent who had done much to modernize the Naval Academy after the Civil War. His father, one of the Navy's early heroes, had been an honorary member of the original Naval Lyceum. The Institute's business was carried on by an Executive Committee under Commodores Rodgers and Parker, a Committee on Printing and Publication of Papers, and a permanent Secretary, Professor W. W. Hendrickson of the Academy faculty. Two more papers were ready for publication and a bank account of $180.00 had been established from a $5.00 assessment on each member, but the Institute's greatest assets lay in the number of extremely capable and thoroughly dedicated workers among its original members. Four of them (Worden, Rodgers, Parker, and Goodrich) became Presidents of the Naval Institute and three (Rodgers, Parker, and Willard H. Brownson) became Superintendents of the Naval Academy. Those original members set a continuing style, for it is quite true that a great majority of the officers who have since risen to high command were members of the Institute and contributors to its Proceedings early in their careers.
The Naval Institute's physical assets consisted of a large khaki-colored ledger, a cigar box in the bottom drawer of a roll-top desk, and a bank account. At that time, the U. S. Navy ranked fifth or sixth in the world. Within the hundred years following, both the U. S. Navy and the U. S. Naval Institute reached the position of being first above all contemporaries, and it seems clear from the record that there was a causality between the two.
For example, Commodore Luce's paper of 1873 argued for a system of apprentice training in the Navy and the Merchant Marine. The following year, Congress enacted legislation to support state-sponsored Merchant Marine training, in ships and under officers provided by the Navy, and the first state maritime school opened on board the USS St. Mary’s in New York City on 11 January 1875. Additional legislation was enacted that year to authorize the enlistment of 750 Naval Apprentices, the beginning of a sound naval training program.
Well and truly had the foundation been laid.
Early Growth and Development
The most important characteristic of any association or society is the quality of its membership, which elects the officers, determines the procedures and sets the tone of the meetings. The 30 officers and six professors who founded the Naval Institute were both professionals and gentlemen, bound together by a common interest in their deep concern for the U. S. Navy. They met to improve themselves by exchanging ideas and, through their deliberations, to improve the Navy.
Fully realizing that 36 voices alone would not echo very loudly in the halls of power, they set out to increase their numbers at home and to establish branches abroad. One of the most moving pleas for new members was that by a former Secretary of the Institute, Lieutenant Theodorus B. M. Mason, published in the magazine, The United Services of April 1879, in an article describing the Naval Institute:
"There are few officers who do not read or have not read these Proceedings. Many borrow the copies from members, read them, and liberally criticize them. If what they read pleases them, they should certainly be willing to subscribe twenty-five cents, little more than the price of a good cigar, per month for the increase of this pleasure. If what they read displeases them, for a like small sum they can enter into the discussion, which is perfectly free, and have their own ideas published. Every officer should be a member… [but] some are so lukewarm in their feelings toward the Institute that they may almost be called its enemies."
When that article was written, five years after the Institute's foundation, the original membership of 36 had grown to 245. Twenty years later, at the outbreak of the war with Spain, it stood at 875, of whom 680 were Regular or Life Members. Even though some had been disappointed at the rate of growth, it was enough to maintain a healthy society.
Membership originally was limited to officers of the Navy and Marine Corps and the faculty of the Naval Academy, upon payment of a $5.00 initial assessment and $5.00 annual dues. Honorary members could be proposed and elected by two-thirds of the members present at any regular meeting. After modifications in 1874 and 1876, the constitution was revised in 1880 to provide four categories of membership:
- “Members” were to be officers of the Navy and Marine Corps, the academic staffs at Annapolis and Newport, and up to 50 others “not officially connected with the Navy,” without election, upon payment of $3.00 annual dues. Note that the initial assessment had been abolished and the annual dues reduced in order to make membership more attractive.
- “Honorary Members” could be “chosen from distinguished naval and military officers and from eminent men of learning in civil life,” not to exceed a total of 30, subject to election by the Members.
- “Associates” (not until later did they become “Associate Members”) could be “chosen from persons connected with the military and naval professions and from persons in civil life who may be interested in the objects that is the design of the Institute to advance,” subject to election by a regular meeting and payment of $1.00 annual dues. The dues were less than for Members because Associates had no vote in the Institute’s affairs, though they could attend meetings and did receive the Proceedings.
- “Life Members” were those eligible for regular membership who had paid a $30.00 fee, the winners of the Annual Prize Essay Contest, and those few nominated by the Executive Committee and elected by the Members “for extraordinary services to the Institute or as a mark of honor.”
The first Honorary Member, elected in 1874, was Chief Justice Charles P. Daly of New York, President of the American Geographical Society. The next two were Dr. Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University, and John Ericsson, inventor and designer of the Monitor. Eliot had been a judge in the Institute’s first prize essay contest and Ericsson had given the Institute “a splendidly bound volume containing drawings and descriptions of all his inventions.”
The first Associates, Colonel T. Bailey Myers and N.P. Bailey, Esq., of New York, were elected in 1878 and four more joined in the next year. One of them was Nicholas L. Roosevelt, also of New York, the first of many associate members from that notable family. Other prominent names among the early Associates were Thomas A. Edison, His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Alexander, and Rear Admiral Stephen Makaroff of the Russian Navy. Another was Rufus Zogbaum, famous artist and father of Rear Admiral Rufus Zogbaum, Jr. (U.S.N.A. 1901). Who can say that the father’s interest did not activate the son’s? Here, too, the worth of the Institute and its Proceedings is evident from the many distinguished outsiders who chose to join as associate members and have continued to do so ever since.
Honorary members, of course, lent prestige to the Institute but the adoption of the Associate category opened the door to a great potential for increased membership from outside the regular service, and established the basic policy for membership eligibility that has been followed from then on. Sixty years later, there were more Associate than Regular Members, as there are today. (40,000-20,000 Ed.)
The constitution of 1880 also provided for dropping members after two years for non-payment of dues or immediately upon dismissal from the Service. Security considerations in distribution of the Proceedings arose in 1898 when America went to war with Spain; should foreign national members be dropped as a security risk? The decision was “yes,” but that they would be eligible for reinstatement after the war. The same policy was followed for foreign national members in 1917 and 1941, and it was considered again when the Korean War broke out in 1950. However, in that enlightened period, the Navy Department pointed out that copies of the Proceedings could readily be obtained by anyone so interested, and that there might be some advantage to sending 50-odd copies a month carrying Western thought behind the Iron Curtain—which was done.
The revised constitution of 1884 adopted the permanent terms of “Regular Members” and “Associate Members,” and equalized their dues at $3.00 per year. In later years, the Institute’s dues have varied up and occasionally down, but they have always remained the same for each category. It is interesting to note that the original $5.00 assessment and $5.00 dues of a hundred years ago equals the present dues of $10.00. What else has been so little affected by inflation in a hundred years?
As noted earlier, the original constitution provided for ex-officio officers of a Patron and President, for a Vice President and a Board of Regents. It also provided for a permanent Secretary, a Recorder, a Treasurer, an Executive Committee and a Committee on Printing and Publication of Papers to carry on the work.
This initial organization lasted only three years, until the constitution was revised in 1877. The ex-officio offices of Patron and President were abolished, possibly because there was no guarantee of active interest from their automatic incumbents, as, indeed, had been the case with Admiral Porter. The new slate provided for annual election of all officers: a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Corresponding Secretary, the last three forming the Executive Committee, with an appointive three-man Committee on Publications. The office of Vice President was reserved for branches, each being entitled to elect a Vice President to be its senior officer and to preside at its meetings. The loss of the Secretary of the Navy from the Institute’s rolls, perhaps politically unwise, was corrected in 1882 by making him an “Honorary member Ex-officio.”
In 1884, the constitution was completely revised, resulting in the basic organization and categories of membership that we know today. The principal officers, three only, were designated as the President, Vice President, and Secretary and Treasurer. The Executive Committee and Committee on Publications were abolished and their functions assumed by a new seven-member Board of Control, also elected. One of its members would be the Secretary and Treasurer, but neither the President nor Vice President could be members of the Board. Three years later, the Secretary and Treasurer also was removed from Board membership but, in 1920, all three officers were added to the Board of Control, making the present total of nine members. In 1924, the six untitled members were named as Directors. Those were among very few constitutional changes of major significance since 1884.
Under the original constitution Admiral David D. Porter became the first President of the Naval Institute, with Rear Admiral Worden, the Academy Superintendant, as Vice President (the working boss) at Annapolis. In 1874, Porter, who apparently could not devote any attention to the Institute, was replaced as President by Worden, who was in turn relived as Superintendant and Vice President of the Institute by Rear Admiral C.R.P. Rodgers. The following year, Rodgers relived Worden as President and directed the Naval Institute with great skill and devotion, through its formative years from 1874 to 1878. In 1882, he was again elected President and served until 1883, the only officer ever to serve twice as Superintendant of the Naval Academy and twice as President of the Naval Institute.
It should be noted in passing that C.R.P. Rodgers’ cousin, Rear Admiral John Rodgers, was the Institute’s President from 1879 to 1882, and his nephew, Rear Admiral William L. Rodgers, from 1923 to 1926. They were the son and grandson of Commodore John Rodgers, who was the first commissioned lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in 1798. Those three generations encompassed 128 years of continuous naval service!
From 1877 to 1924, Presidents were elected for one-year terms, but with no limit as to the number of consecutive terms that might be served. Rear Admiral Luce consecutively held office from 1887 to 1898, the last nine years of which he served while on the retired list. Rear Admiral William T. Sampson served from 1898 until his death in 1902. Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske holds the record with 12 terms from 1911 to 1923, but, like Luce, he was on the retired list for the last seven of those years. In 1924, the constitution was changed to limit the tenure of the President to two consecutive terms. In the early 1960s, the constitution was changed again to permit Admiral David L. McDonald to serve as the Institute’s President from 1963 to 1967.
During the early years the work of the Institute was carried on by its officers and committees, supplemented by volunteer officers and faculty members from the Naval Academy. When funds and working space became available, additional people were hired on a when-needed basis. In 1880, the Institute bought its first piece of office equipment—a bicycle. In 1883, the workload had grown to the point of hiring the first permanent staff member, a “messenger and clerk,” at $25.00 a month—presumably to ride the bicycle. This was James W. Conroy, who was to serve the Institute faithfully for 40 years, running it single-handedly for six months during the Spanish War. In 1890, his salary was raised to $40.00 and the Institute bought its first typewriter—which was used continuously until traded in on a new model in 1917. A telephone was installed in 1911, an adding machine was bought in 1913 and a mimeograph in 1916. Let it not be said that this early organization was extravagant.
Headquarters and Branches
The founding members believed that there was a great need for such a society and that most serving officers would want to be members. They also fully recognized the need for both a central headquarters and some means of active participation by members on distant stations.
There was no choice as to the central headquarters; it had to be in Annapolis. Nearly half of the original members were officers and faculty of the Academy, where there was a constant working example of the harmonious blending of naval professionalism and academic theory, where the atmosphere was conducive to studious reflection and a good library was readily available, and where the Superintendent was happy to provide necessary facilities and support. To attract potential members so widely scattered throughout the Navy, the original constitution provided for branches with a Vice President and a Corresponding Secretary for each fleet squadron and major shore station. The idea was that each branch would holdregular meetings to read and discuss papers, then forward the papers and discussions to headquarters for publication so that the entire membership would have access to every paper wherever presented.
Setting up the branches, however, was not so easy. As the Secretary, Lieutenant Mason, wrote in 1879, "an attempt was made to start some people by appointing them Acting Corresponding Secretaries and asking them to organize the branches; but evidently the wrong ones were selected, as nothing was ever done by them." Nevertheless, a large, and ultimately the longest-lived, branch had been established in Washington in January of that year, soon followed by branches in New York, Norfolk, and Boston—all of which had earlier hosted branches of the Naval Lyceum.
By the early 1880s the Naval Institute reached its peak of 12 active branches, at home and abroad, all participating in the reading and discussion of papers and most taking part in the annual elections. One branch was at Annapolis, where the dual status of its officers in local and national organizations caused enough confusion to require constitutional reform. That was done in 1884 by providing that the society's elected officers wouldserve the entire Naval Institute, which included the former headquarters chapter and thereby eliminated its independent status. The same reform also eliminated the Branch Executive Committees established in 1879, going back only to the original offices of Vice President and Corresponding Secretary.
But, from then on, the branches began to wither and die. There are no records of the dates of individual demise, but there were none left in existence by the time of the Spanish-American War and all references to branches were deleted from the constitution in 1905. Some 66 years after he had been Secretary and Treasurer, Admiral Richard H. Jackson commented that the primary reason for termination of the branches was that there were too many other distractions for officers when their ships were in port. Over the same period, a similar fate had come to the American Chatauqua and Lyceum movements; but, unlike the Lyceum, when the Institute's branches died, the trunk survived and continued to grow.
Although they did not last long, the influence of the branches should not be underestimated. One of the most important papers ever presented to the Naval Institute was read at the opening of the Newport Branch on 4 April 1883, when Commodore Stephen B. Luce presented a paper on the higher education of naval officers entitled, "War Schools." In it, he decried the lack of meaningful postgraduate education and training of officers in the Army and Navy, concluding with a strong plea for the establishment of a Naval War College—suggesting as its site the very building on Coasters Harbor Island in which he spoke.
This paper was published in the Proceedings and attracted widespread attention, not to mention controversy. But, as a direct result, Secretary of the Navy William E. Chandler issued a General Order in October of 1884 establishing the Naval War College at the place suggested by Luce—and with Luce as its President. The first class of officers reported in 1885 and one of the first lecturers, specifically requested by Luce, was Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, an early Institute member and a contributor to the Proceedings. If the Naval Institute had accomplished nothing else, it would have been assured of a place in history for its role in providing the forum from which the voice of seapower would be heard around the world.
Meetings and Facilities
Because the primary purpose of the Naval Institute was the presentation and discussion of professional papers, the first constitution provided for regular meetings and specified that they shouldbe held on the evening of the second Thursday in each month, with the January meeting reserved for the annual election of officers. Because the founders realized the impracticability of dictating localadministrative detail from a distant headquarters, a wisdom unusual in these days, the constitutional provision for regular meetings of the branches did not specify dates. The constitution of 1884 changed the regular meeting date to the second Friday and the annual meeting from January to October, and authorized skipping a regular meeting when there was no paper to present. Years later, in 1925, the annual meeting date was changed to February and, in 1928, to an afternoon rather than evening affair. The institution of a reception following the afternoon meeting followed shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
The first Institute meetings in Annapolis were rather formal, with ladies invited, and were held in whatever space the Academy could make available. Its records were kept in any handy container in the home or office of the Secretary. Of regular offices and facilities it had none, except for the "Board House" between November 1878 and May 1880. That building had been erected in 1869 on the site of the present Dahlgren Hall to house the Board of Visitors for two months each year, and otherwise was available for miscellaneous purposes.
In December 1884, Superintendent (Captain) Francis M. Ramsay offered the Naval Institute permanent use, including refurbishing to request, of the "Old Gunnery Room," which hosted its first meeting in October 1885. This building dated from 1854, but its Greek temple architecture led to its conversion in 1859 as the Academy Chapel. During the Civil War, when the Army occupied the grounds in the Academy's absence, it was used as a barracks. Afterward, it was restored as the Chapel but, when a larger one was built in 1868, it was turned over to the local branch of the Naval Lyceum. Known as Lyceum Hall, it became the repository for models, apparatus of various kinds, and captured flags from America's early wars. In 1885, the Lyceum still existed, but in name only and with no need for such space; hence Ramsay's offer of the Hall to the growing Naval Institute, of which he was Vice President. The extensive list of refurbishing requirements must have shocked him, but the job was done between February and June of 1887, during the tenure of his successor as both Superintendent and Institute Vice President, Commander W. T. Sampson. The old building then became known as Naval Institute Hall, providing another example of the recognition of the Institute's value by the senior officers of the Navy.
When, in 1889, the Naval Lyceum in Brooklyn finally closed shop, it sent all its extensive museum collection to the Naval Academy, many items of which were selected for display in Naval Institute Hall by the Secretary, Lieutenant H. G. Drexel. When construction of the new Academy began in 1901, the Academy Library had to move into Naval Institute Hall and the exhibits had to be removed to storage. The shift probably established some sort of record for efficiency; the entire move by pushcart of 40,000 volumes and numerous periodicals, installation of shelving and removal of exhibits to storage, was accomplished in 38 days without the loss of a single day's operation by either organization. For the next six years, until the new Library in Mahan Hall was ready, the Institute and the Library shared quarters but the space squeeze required finding other meeting facilities. These were provided in the Academic Board Room until 1905, when they were shifted to the newly-completed Officers' Club.
At the end of the building period, when new quarters were nearly ready, came the only threat to the location of the Institute's headquarters in Annapolis. Commander W. S. Benson, a member of the Board of Control, and later the first Chief of Naval Operations, recommended a move to Washington, arguing that the number of active and retired officers living in that area would result in greater participation at meetings. Perhaps because many felt that what might really increase would be the influence of the Navy Department, the proposal was voted down at the annual meeting of 1907.
When the new academic trio of Sampson, Mahan, and Maury Halls was completed, it included an extensive three-room suite designed for the Naval Institute in the clock tower above Mahan Hall. The consideration was greatly appreciated, but the spaces had defects. They were seven floors above ground level and without elevators, which posed a problem to some of the portly Board members and visitors, and there were no workable facilities for handling books in the Institute's expanding publishing business. A relocation was regretfully arranged and the Institute moved into less palatial but more efficient quarters on the ground floor of Maury Hall, continuing to use the Officers Club for annual meetings.
"Annual meetings," only. In the early years, regular meetings were quite well attended, although then, as now, the numbers varied with the speaker and his subject. The first two papers presented at Annapolis, in October and November 1873, were Foxhall Parker's "The Battle of Lepanto," and Stephen Luce's "The Manning of Our Navy and Mercantile Marine." They were typical; one was the historian's look at what the past could teach the present, the other was what the present needed to make of the future. A year later, Parker presented another paper, "Fleet Maneuvers in the Bay of Florida," where he had been Chief of Staff, in which he bitterly described the antiquated condition of the U. S. Fleet. Both Luce and Parker commanded attention and their papers were instrumental in bringing about changes for the better, but too many other papers did neither. How many members and their ladies were aroused by such papers from the same period as "The Spirit of '76 on the Deep," "Early History of the Dutch Navy," "Naval Exploits of the Norsemen," "Hygienic Notes on Ships' Bilges" or "Naval Sanitary Places?" Perhaps the last two may have had something to do with the fact that attendance at regular meetings began to decline toward 1880, and continued to drop rapidly from then on.
One major factor in the decline, certainly, was the success of the Naval Institute Proceedings. It was easier to read the papers and discussions of several meetings in one volume and then to compose considered comments on them than to attend all the meetings and make one's comments off the cuff. From 1890 on, annual meetings were the only ones held, and only five of them between 1890 and 1900. One effort was made to revive the old ways with a regular meeting at Annapolis on 13 May 1905, at which Lieutenant Richard H. Jackson presented an important paper on "Promotion, Present and Prospective," advocating a selection system, in the same room where the first 1873 meeting was convened. But that was the end. A constitutional amendment at the annual meeting that fall deleted the entire section relating to regular meetings, and only annual ones have been held since.
The Naval Institute Proceedings
In founding the Naval Institute, the original concept was to develop new ideas and to disseminate them throughout the naval service. Consequently, its first constitution stated that "whenever papers read before the Society, and the discussions growing out of them, shall accumulate in quantities to make one hundred octavo pages printed matter, they shall be prepared for issue in pamphlet form and one copy of the same be sent by the Treasurer to each member and one to each ex-officio member." In February 1874, Lieutenant Frederick Collins was appointed "a committee to prepare abstracts of papers read before the Institute and attend to their publication in the Naval Institute Proceedings."
Volume I of the Proceedings, dated 1874, but actually published in 1875, led off with the Luce article advocating apprentice training in the Navy. The other papers were by Chief Engineer C. H. Baker, one of the 15 founders, on "Compound Engines," by Naval Constructor T. D. Wilson on "Experimental Determination of the Center of Gravity," and by Captain W. N. Jeffers, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, on "The Armament of Our Ships" in which he complained of the haphazard results of each commanding officer wanting to select his own weapons—which had been accepted practice in earlier years.
Volume II appeared in early 1877 with eight papers, and Volume III later that year with six, one of which set a precedent in being published without having first been read at a meeting. The following year saw two more volumes and, in 1879, the Proceedings was scheduled for quarterly publication. In that year, the first of the Branch meeting papers and discussions was published and a new section of "Professional Notes," compiled by the Secretary, made its first appearance. In 1882, book reviews and a naval bibliography became features of the magazine, written by Naval Academy officers and faculty. In 1914, the publication schedule was upped to bimonthly and, in 1917, it was changed to the present monthly basis.
The new Naval Institute was quickly recognized as a learned society by older, established societies at home and abroad and was welcomed into the fraternity with the status of "Corresponding Society." This meant an exchange of publications and freedom for each to quote from the other, but it also provided international recognition and a great extension of the range of ideas presented by the Institute to its members. The first offer of exchange came from the Royal United Services Institute and was accepted in April 1875.
As the Institute grew, so did the interest of people with new ideas to present, such as the 1876 paper by Lieutenant T. B. M. Mason on the lessons of two fictional naval battles of 1905, and one in 1878 by Lieutenant John C. Soley proposing a new type of cruiser. Two other papers pressed the need for an Isthmian Canal, one for Nicaragua and the other for Darien. To encourage this trend, the Institute's Headquarters began sending the Branches recommended topics for simultaneous discussion throughout the membership. The first, in March 1880, was "The Man-of-War of the Present: (1) Type, Construction and Rig; (2) Machinery and Boilers; (3) Armament; (4) Sanitary Arrangements, Ventilation, Berthing, etc., and (5) Rig and Equipment of Boats and Launches." It was not stated whether this compound subject was to be covered at a single meeting, but the Proceedings was soon publishing papers on related subjects—"Deflecting Armor," "Proposed Armament of the Navy," "High Powered Guns," and "Naval Use of the Dynamo Machine and Electric Light."
In 1885, Lieutenant Bradley Fiske, one of the Navy's most prolific inventors, wrote on "Electricity in Warfare" and, in 1887, Edward Bates Dorsey, C. E., presented a paper on "Steel for Heavy Guns" that attracted wide interest in both the Navy and the steel industry. In these early years, the Proceedings also carried articles by Captain A. T. Mahan, extracted from what became the great histories he published during the War College closure of 1889-92. Published also were other articles and discussions both for and against the Naval War College. However, in spite of publishing opposing views in the interest of objectivity, the Institute and the Proceedings never varied from a policy of full support for the War College's re-establishment and continuance.
One of the primary subjects of Proceedings articles in the 1880sand 1890s, carried on from Luce in 1873, was the internal organization and training of the ship. Between prize essays, honorable mentions, and other papers, the Institute continued to call for better administration and shipboard organization, largely by junior officers who later went on to hold flag ranks. By 1899, the pressure had become so intense that the Bureau of Navigation came out with a proposed Standard Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill, and published it in the Proceedings for Fleet comment before adoption. There were, of course, the usual reactionaries, but the majority was for adoption and the standard system was therefore implemented.
The greatest clashes between theorists and pragmatists at the rum of the century were in the field of ordnance and gunnery over the all-big-gun ship and the training of seaman gunners. In 1896, Ensign Philip Andrews proposed "A System for Aiming Drill," and Ensign Richard H. Jackson followed in 1898 with "Target Practice and the Training of Gun Captains." In 1900, Lieutenant J. B. Blish wrote on "A Method for Scoring Target Practice in the Navy," and Professor Alger (of whom, more later) discussed "Errors of Gunfire at Sea," both largely influenced by our dismal shooting at Manila and Santiago in 1898. In 1903, Alger produced the Prize Essay, "Gunnery in Our Navy, The Causes for Its Inferiority and Their Remedies," and another paper on "The Accuracy and Probability of Gunfire." Another important 1903 article was by Lieutenant Homer C. Poundstone advocating a truly ocean-going, big-gun battleship—before Admiral Sir John Fisher built HMS Dreadnought. Consequently, when Lieutenant Commander William S. Sims wrote his explosive article in 1904 on "Training Ranges and Long Range Firing," a demand to develop accuracy of gunfire by realistic practice at long ranges, there had been eight years of spadework in the Proceedings to prepare his ground. When the naval establishment decried his proposed changes, Sims wrote directly to President Theodore Roosevelt and quoted his Proceedings article. Roosevelt was convinced, Sims's career was saved, and American naval gunnery started on its way to superiority. This long campaign may well have been the Institute's greatest achievement, for the best of ships are to little purpose if their weapons cannot score.
Another major subject of the 1880sand 1890s was the need for a Naval Reserve. The Prize Essay and both Honorable Mentions in 1882 were devoted to it; so were principal articles in 1888, 1889, 1897, and 1898, as well as a considerable amount of "Comment and Discussion" content. This pressure was a strong factor in the enactment of legislation in 1891 for the establishment of federally recognized State Naval Militias, which served admirably during the Spanish War and led to passage of the Naval Reserve Acts of 1915-16.
Here was new thinking that produced lively controversy and, in giving it Service-wide dissemination through the Proceedings, the Naval Institute was making a strong, effective contribution to the building of a modern Navy. Although a prefabricated, iron-hulled, side-wheel steamer had been put on the Great Lakes in 1843, it was not until 1883 that the Navy laid down its first steel ships, the cruisers Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago, and the dispatch vessel Dolphin. That first construction of the "New Navy" climaxed a long, uphill struggle with the Congress for funds and with industry to develop the new types of steel required. It would be too much to say that the Naval Institute was responsible for this ultimate success, but it certainly gave powerful support to the campaign and most of the new design features in those ships had first been hammered out in the intellectual forge of the Proceedings.
By the turn of the century the men who had instigated the great changes of the 1870s and 1880s had become the Navy's senior officers, filled with pride in their products and now resistant to further change. At the same time, young officers going to sea were shocked by the inadequacies of their ships and the archaic organization of their service. Proceedings pages of the 1890s clearly show the sharp conflict between seniors ashore, whose problems were largely theoretical, and juniors afloat, whose problems were extremely practical. One example is the 1902 discussion by Ensign Thomas C. Hart of an article by Lieutenant Dudley Knox (his first of many) on "The Training of Seamen." Hart wrote that it was entirely natural for seniors to be satisfied with the Service they had built, but that it was equally natural for the juniors, who had not faced the earlier problems, to agitate for faster improvement. To him the most serious aspect of the problem was that juniors felt unable to express their dissenting opinions with any effect, often preferring to wait until they became sufficiently senior to act upon them. He advocated the Proceedings as the one forum in which the frustrated junior could be heard, and many of them took advantage of it to the benefit of the Navy.
The Prize Essays
Almost from the earliest days of the Institute, its essay contests have been one of its most important functions. The idea of such a competition was first proposed by Lieutenant Commander Allan D. Brown at the 9 May 1878 meeting in Annapolis when he moved "that a committee of three be appointed to devise a scheme to prepare a prize to be offered to such member of the Institute, or other person, who shall present…a paper which shall be deemed the best of those selected…said prize to amount to about one hundred dollars in value, either in plate or in cash." The motion was adopted and the chairman, Commander Alfred T. Mahan, appointed Commander William T. Sampson to head the committee.
Again, the idea was not new. The Royal United Services Institute had established such a contest three years before. The French Navy at that time required every officer on shore duty for six months to submit a paper on a professional subject, to be reviewed by a board for possible publication in official journals but, in any case, to be counted for or against his chances for promotion. For the young Naval Institute and for its members, the contest offered challenge and opportunity but it was a bold venture with considerable risk for the young officer who challenged the establishment.
The early rules were remarkably simple and have suffered little change since: (1) an annual prize of $100 (that hasbeen changed to the present $1,500), a gold medal, and a Life Membership; (2) the contest to be open to all people eligible to be members of the Institute, whether or not they are members; (3) authors' names to be unknown to the judges, "three gentlemen of distinguished professional attainments" (later changed to the Board of Control); and (4) publication of the winning article in the Proceedings with the option of also publishing those deemed worthy of "Honorable Mention." The first rules set a maximum length of 48 printed pages, about 22,000 words, which was increased to 72 printed pages in 1889—a year in which no award was made. The 1903 winner was 69 pages long but, fortunately, from then on the maximum length gradually decreased to its present limit of 5,000 words. Silver and Gold Medal awards were added in 1953 and 1954, but still retained was the additional Honorable Mention category in recognition of the increasing number of truly excellent entries being submitted.
For the first ten years, the contest subject was specified by the Naval Institute, usually after consultation with officials of the Department. The first, in 1879, was "Naval Education; (I) Officers, (II) Men." The three judges were President Eliot of Harvard, Rear Admiral Ammen of the Bureau of Navigation and the Navy's Engineer in Chief, William H. Shock. In selecting a winner and two other papers for Honorable Mention, the judges were careful to state that they did not necessarily accept and approve the opinions and proposals contained in these essays, but that they had selected those "most thoughtful and suggestive in substance, and the clearest, simplest and most accurate in style." One wishes that more writers, especially those in official capacities, would conform to those criteria. Who was the winner? Lieutenant Commander Allan D. Brown, who had suggested the contest in the first place. The two Honorable Mention papers were those of Lieutenant Commander Caspar F. Goodrich and Commander Alfred T. Mahan, a good omen for the future.
After 1873, the major areas of change and controversy in the Navy were the building of a modern Navy and the industry to support it; the type, size, and armament of its ships; the training of its enlisted men and postgraduate education of its officers; the relationship of the Navy to our foreign commitments, especially in Latin America; and the paradoxical decline of our Merchant Marine when our foreign trade was increasing. It is not surprising that the prescribed subjects for the first ten Prize Essay Contests lay in one or another of those areas; three on education and training, three on ship types and armament, two on the needs of a modern Navy, and one each on international relations and the Merchant Marine. It is interesting, and surprising, that six first prizes were won by lieutenants and one by an ensign against only two by commanders and one by a lieutenant commander. These subject areas continued to dominate both the prize and honorable mention papers after the choice had been made free, and on into the early years of the new century. Remarkably enough, so did the junior officers.
Among the notable juniors winning the top prize or honorable mention, very often repeating through the years, were Lieutenants Charles Belknap (who had called the first founding meeting), Seaton Schroeder, Richard Wainwright, Roy C. Smith, W.F. Fullam, Ensigns W.I. Chambers, A.P. Niblack, W.L. Rodgers, Richard H. Jackson, and Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond P. Hobson. Another noted winner was the British naval historian, Sir William Clowes, who wrote “Torpedo Boats” in 1892, and contributed other articles in later years. In the first decade of the new century, the roster added such names as Commander Bradley A. Fiske, Lieutenant Commander Yates Sterling, and Lieutenants Edward L. Beach, W.S. Pye, and Ernest J. King.
What did these “young Turks” write about? Three Prize Essays were devoted to national or naval policies, four to strategy and tactics, four to the development and employment of torpedo boats (it was not until 1920 that another Prize Essay was devoted to a ship type, and then to battleships), three to the well-being of enlisted men, two to postgraduate education in the Navy, two to the concept of promotion by selection (one for and one against), two to gunnery effectiveness, and one each to leadership and shipboard organization. Following publication of these essays, a government savings bank was established for enlisted men in 1889, pensioned retirement for enlisted men after 30 years’ service was enacted in 1899, a standard shipboard organization based on divisions was directed in 1912, and fleet operating schedules covering a full year were instituted in 1916. The career effectiveness, education, and happiness of the men behind the guns was foremost in the minds of authors later to become prominent in the Service, and their papers were instrumental in initiating necessary action by the Navy Department and the Congress.
Other essays were remarkably accurate in predicting the shape of things to come. For instance, Commander Fiske, writing on “Naval Readiness” in 1905, said that existing ships, in action to leeward of an enemy in high wind and sea conditions, would be blinded by spray and their own smoke while the enemy enjoyed fine shooting conditions. That was exactly what killed HMS Monmouth and HMS Good Hope off Coronel, Chile, in 1914.
Obviously, the Prize Essay contest was accomplishing its objective of encouraging new thought, particularly from brilliant young officers on the way up, and getting it into the forum of Service discussion for the good of the Navy.
In the early years, the Institute concentrated its efforts on the Proceedings and the Prize Essay Contest, with the Proceedings generally adhering to historical, scientific, expository or essay-type articles on a variety of subjects rather than devoting an entire issue to a single paper. There were, however, some exceptions such as “The Autobiography of Commodore Charles Morris, USN,” in 1880, “Our New Cruisers” in 1883, “Marine International Law” in 1885, “Instructions for Infantry and Artillery, U.S. Navy’ in 1891, and “First Aid to the Injured and Transportation of the Wounded” in 1892. These and others were obviously intended for use as professional books or instructional manuals, published in the Proceedings because the Navy had no such facilities of its own and commercial firms were not interested in books of such limited sales except at exorbitant costs. The Board of Control came to see that there was a need and, in 1898, authorized the publishing of books on naval and allied subjects, more or less as a sideline, by contract with established publishing houses.
The Institute’s first book was The Log of the Gloucester, “Commanded by Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright. The Official Report of the Principal Events of her Cruiser during the Late War with Spain, including the destruction of the Spanish Destroyers, the Rescue of Admiral Cervera, and her famous capture of Guanica. Published by authority of the Navy Department. Handsome, large 8vo, deckle-edge paper, 188 pages, illustrated. Bound in full cloth. Price $1.50.”
The next three, also released in 1899, were Handbook of Infantry and Artillery for the U.S. Navy by Lieutenant W.F. Fullam (a revision of his 1891 Proceedings paper and predecessor of The Landing Force Manual), An Aid for Executive and Division Officers by Lieutenant C. A. Gove (which contained Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill forms on "paper especially tough to withstand erasures" and was a forerunner of The Watch Officer's Guide), and a Text-Book of Ordnance and Gunnery by Commander R. R. Ingersoll (the first of many textbooks produced for the Naval Academy). Their prices were $1.15, 1.50, and 3.50, respectively, the last being of 320 pages with 142 full page plates. The first issue of Knight's Modern Seamanship came out in 1901 and The Bluejacket's Manual, by Lieutenant Ridley McLean, appeared in 1902.
The need for an independent source of Academy textbooks is clearly shown by a 1907 letter from Commander John K. Barton of the faculty, who wrote:
"I would state regarding the books written by me that this was a duty I found imperative…in order to conduct a modern course in U. S. Naval Engineering. From necessity, this Department has been experimenting for years in textbooks of foreign authorship and which were exceedingly inappropriate in teaching midshipmen the description, operation and management of American machinery. The books written by university professors were also objectionable in that they were bulky, well-padded, costly, and necessitating the omission of large quantities of text owing to the difference in the method of training at the Academy."
Although he was writing to argue for a healthier cut from the proceeds of his books, his description of the need for them was accurate.
Without quite realizing it, the Naval Institute drifted into the role of being the university press for the Naval Academy. More and more the Institute took over the publication of Academy textbooks, especially in professional fields where civilian texts were lacking or unsuitable, and of histories, biographies, and other books of general interest to the naval community. The Navy Department soon realized that the Institute could provide prompt, economical, and preferential treatment in publishing manuals and drill books and turned this work over to it. There was also another great advantage to all concerned; the Institute could copyright its publications where those of the Government Printing Office were unprotected, an advantage much appreciated by the authors.
From the beginning, and for many years, the Institute consistently showed a profit from its books, offsetting consistent losses of the Proceedings. Nevertheless, it saved vast amounts for the Naval Academy and the Navy Department by keeping unit profits and buyer costs low. In many cases, profits were plowed back into publishing naval books of literary, professional, or scholarly value, including foreign translations, even though prospective sales indicated that their publication would be at a loss. However, the demand for training manuals during both World Wars, especially the Bluejacket's Manual, even at rates of pennies per copy, generated such profits that the Institute made large donations to Navy Relief, the Red Cross, the Naval Academy Museum, and other worthy "Special Projects" of value to the Navy. Although those profits have since declined, that philanthropic practice has been continued, whenever feasible, since 1968.
In 1922, the Board of Control authorized a special prize contest for the best outline plan of a proposed textbook for midshipmen on "Handling Personnel," there being no such text at the time. The contest was open to anyone, whether or not a member of the Institute, for prizes from $200 down to $25 for honorable mention. Twenty entries were received, with Lieutenant Commander P. V. H. Weems winning the first prize. Other winners were Lieutenant Commanders Fitzhugh Green, E. G. Small, and M. S. Tisdale, Lieutenant A. C. Shepard, Captain Wat T. Cluverius, Jr., Commander C. B. Mayo, and Marine Colonel W. C. Thorpe. Using material from these papers Lieutenant Commander L. H. Thebaud compiled the book, Naval Leadership, With Some Hints to Junior Officers and Others, which the Institute first published in 1924. It was widely used throughout the U. S. and foreign navies as well as at the Academy for 25 years, and went through four editions. This first book on leadership was the forerunner of others, including the highly popular Division Officer's Guide and Naval Officer's Guide. The Watch Officer's Guide was based on the Watch Officer’s Manual of 1911.
At first, authors received 20% of the net profit of books published by the Institute. It was not long before they realized—as did Commander Barton—that they received nothing until the book had paid for itself and that it would be some time before any royalties were received. More equable arrangements were made, eventually on a basic 50-50 split of net profits, but this problem continued to bother the Institute for years. It had to make a profit to stay in business, the author wanted a proper return for his labor, and the user, particularly the Superintendent and the Navy Department, wanted the lowest possible cost for books. Accordingly, the Institute entered into an agreement in 1971 with a major commercial publisher to promote and distribute Institute books, with consequent expansion of sales volume and a standardized contract covering authors' royalties. This agreement, however, does not include publications for the Navy Department, such as The Bluejacket's Manual, with its periodic revisions, for which there is no need of promotion. These savings and high volume enable the Institute to keep user costs of training manuals at that "lowest possible level."
The Alger Years
In the Naval Institute's first 40 years, three officers towered above all others in their influence upon its character and development. These were Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, its intellectual father and steady contributor from 1873 to 1911; Rear Admiral C. R. P. Rodgers, whose early administration established it on a firm foundation; and Professor of Mathematics Philip R. Alger, its Secretary and Treasurer from 1903 until his untimely death in 1912. His work as administrator, editor, and contributor in moving the Naval Institute and its Proceedings from the 19th well into the 20th century warrant ranking him first among the three. To quote from the 50th Anniversary article in the Proceedings of October 1923, "Here, as everywhere this astonishing man labored, he left behind a tradition of unsurpassable service." For nine years he was the Naval Institute.
Philip Alger, Boston-born and a Mayflower descendant, graduated first in the Academy Class of 1880. After two years on the China Station he was ordered to the Bureau of Ordnance and then to the USS Pensacola on the European Station, from where he began his extensive contributions to the Proceedings' "Professional Notes." Returning to BuOrd in 1888, he transferred to the Corps of Professors of Mathematics in 1890, but remained in the Bureau until assigned as Head of the Department of Mechanics at the Naval Academy in 1899. During those BuOrd years, he was intimately associated with every step of the remarkable advances in naval ordnance that propelled the Navy from the cast-iron, muzzle-loading smoothbores of post-Civil War days to the rifled, built-up, tempered steel guns of the Spanish War. In 1903, he was elected to become Secretary and Treasurer of the Naval Institute and a year later he was appointed a member of the advisory Special Board on Naval Ordnance, all in addition to his departmental duties.
In 1907, the Department of Mechanics was absorbed into the Department of Mathematics, leaving Alger free to devote his time to the Institute and the Special Board. During these Annapolis years he wrote Exterior Ballistics and The Elastic Strength of Guns, both expanded from Proceedings articles and both recognized the world over as standard works for ordnance engineers, and a Naval Academy textbook on Hydromechanics that was widely adopted by other institutions as foremost in its field. Unfortunately, he died before he could finish what was to have been his masterpiece, Interior Ballistics. As Rear Admiral Austin Knight wrote in the Proceedings of March 1912, "More than of any other one man, it is true of him, that the history of naval ordnance in the United States during the last quarter of a century is the history of his work."
As Editor of the Proceedings, Professor Alger set out to improve the magazine by using better paper and a more legible type in a more professional format, with better illustrations throughout. He offset the additional cost by encouraging appropriate advertising, which soon became, and still is, a major factor in the economy of the Proceedings. The first paid ads, from Hotchkiss Ordnance Company and Edson Pressure-Recording Gauges, appeared in 1889, but little attention had been paid to this potential revenue source before 1903. Between advertising and a steadily expanding paid circulation, the Institute not only covered the increased publication costs but also was able to reduce its dues.
More important, Alger made greater improvements in content by seeking, encouraging, and publishing new thought. The modernization of naval ordnance, gunnery, and fire control was fought out in a long series of Proceedings articles, notably those of Sims, Fiske, and Alger himself. Beginning in 1906, Pay Inspector J. A. Mudd contributed a number of articles on naval purchases, supply and storekeeping which, together with the 1911 Prize Essay on "Navy Yard Economy," were instrumental in the establishment of the Navy's Supply Corps. The first aviation articles appeared in 1911, by Captain W. I. Chambers on his observations of foreign meets and the significance of Ely's first shipboard take-off and landings. The first discussion of the submarine as an effective weapon system appeared in 1912, by Lieutenant Chester Nimitz. The 1909 Prize Essay, written by Lieutenant Ernest J. King, discussed the need for a modern shipboard organization. Translations of the best foreign naval writings appeared frequently—those from the French were done by Alger—and the sections on "Professional Notes," bibliography, and book reviews were expanded. But all was not technology. History came back with the Proceedings' first article on John Paul Jones when the hero's remains came to Annapolis in 1906, and more articles began co appear on people-oriented subjects such as pay and promotion, training and education.
Professor Alger also expanded the book publishing business and saw that previous editions of standard texts or manuals were periodically revised to keep them current. Articles published serially in the Proceedings, by both U. S. and foreign authors, were republished in book form and close liaison was maintained with the Navy Department, the Naval Academy, and the Naval War College to fill their publishing needs. To ease the increasing workload, he increased the staff and recruited officers and civilians from the Academy faculty to help with proofreading, copy editing, translation, review and criticism—on their own time, but with pay as an inducement. This not only was a great help to Alger, but also brought much additional talent into the daily operations of the Naval Institute.
As the Proceedings circulation and book sales expanded, the increasing postage costs became a matter of concern to the Board of Control. Over Alger's objection, the 1903 annual meeting directed the Secretary to ascertain whether the Institute's publications could be classified as official documents and therefore be entitled to free postage. He cheerfully informed the 1904 meeting that such a request had been flatly refused, and fortunately so, for that privilege would have given the lie to the Institute's stated position of being in no way a part of the Navy Department or dependent upon appropriate funds. That issue was never raised again!
Professor Alger's death in 1912, at age 53, was a sad blow to the Naval Institute. However, in his nine years as Secretary and Treasurer, he cast the mold for the Naval Institute we know today.
Freedom of Speech
The Naval Institute has always been very careful not to publish anything that might be classified or otherwise harmful but, at the same time, has encouraged the presentation of opposite or controversial opinions so that its members could benefit from hearing both sides of important issues. This policy has required a very delicate balance in self-censorship, exercised by the Editor and the Board of Control, and cooperation with the Navy Department in matters of security. But, because the Institute's President and Vice President are senior officers of the Navy, the question often arises as to how much control the Navy Department exercises over the Institute and to what extent its publications are censored.
In its hundred years of existence, the Naval Institute has steadily adhered to its mission, "the advancement of scientific, literary, and professional knowledge in the Navy." "Advancement," of course, does not mean preserving the status quo. It means progress through the Service-wide—indeed, national and even international—dissemination of new ideas. But, inevitably, advancement means conflict with those supporting the status quo. Rarely, though, has that conflict brought about direct censorship; it has usually been fought out in open discussion in the Proceedings. Differing rules and interpretations of security have more often been the cause when censorship did occur. The Naval Institute's independence of Navy Department control is now well recognized and Proceedings articles express the opinions of their authors, not of the Department or even of the Board of Control. But it was not ever thus.
The Proceedings title page states that the Institute "is a self-supporting, non-profit organization and is not a part of the Navy Department." There were times, however, when the Board of Control seems to have thought differently. One was the attempt in 1903 to classify the Institute's publications as official documents. Another was the meek acquiescence to a Navy Secretary's demand that the copyright of a training manual be transferred from the Institute to the Government Printing Office. The result was a single printing of one edition, with no updating revisions despite a continuing demand for the book, until the copyright was restored to the Institute in a later administration. On self-censorship the Board did a good job, but it occasionally weakened to the point of submitting articles not involving security to the Department for prepublication approval by Navy or State, and accepting denials even when the objection was for criticism of policy rather than on security grounds.
One ominous cloud developed in 1899 when Admiral Dewey objected to a Proceedings article about Manila Bay. Instead of writing the Institute directly, he wrote via the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation and said that "as the article has appeared in a publication which is understood to have the official sanction of the Department…I consider it necessary to ask that the Department will request the Naval Institute to publish in its next issue (emphasis supplied) my official report of the Battle of Manila Bay, which is absolutely correct in all essentials." Both Dewey’s letter and his report were published but the Institute's independent stand was considerably weakened by the Admiral of the Navy's opinion of the approach to it.
Certainly, there were many officials in Washington, at that time, both service and civilian, who believed that the Proceedings should not be allowed to criticize and that the Department should enforce such a policy. One glaring example was the Bureau Chief who dressed down his Captain deputy for permitting, as a member of the Board of Control, "publication of an article that caused me great embarrassment before a Naval Committee"—when he "had put the Captain on the Board just to prevent such eventualities." The Captain’s reply was that he had been elected to the Board by the Institute's members, not by the Admiral; that the Admiral had no authority over his Institute duties; and that, if the Admiral had been greatly embarrassed, he must have been greatly wrong, for the article was sound, well-written, and factual.
The first instance of direct censorship occurred in 1903, when Professor Alger’s 69-page essay, “Gunnery in Our Navy; The Causes of Its Inferiority and Their Remedies,” was the unanimous, first-ballot choice for the Prize Essay of that year. The paper was not at all inflammatory; it was a scholarly, constructive, and comprehensive dissertation by an acknowledged expert in the field. It not only showed why our Fleet gunnery was inferior, but what had to be done to cure it. Because the paper was so comprehensive, the Board decided to refer it to the Bureau of Navigation for clearance, though there was then no requirement to do so.
Permission to publish the essay in the Proceedings was flatly denied, but 825 copies were authorized to be printed in pamphlet form. At the Bureau's direction, 25 copies were given "confidential distribution" to selected Officers and the remaining 800 were "to be kept boxed up under seal in the Institute's office…not to be released until permission has been received from the Bureau of Navigation. The total of 800 was enough to provide for each Regular and Life Member of the Institute but not for the Associate Members, a clear indication of intended U. S. Navy distribution only. Later, the Bureau did authorize sending copies "to various Commanding Officers under the same safeguards as observed with the Monthly (Intelligence) Bulletin; they are to be returned to the Commanding Officers as soon as they have been read, and will then Be destroyed, but officers may make such notes as they desire and their comments are invited" (emphasis supplied). The rest of the copies were eventually destroyed, but there is no record of when this was done.
One thing we do know; when Professor Alger became the Institute's Secretary and Treasurer later that year, he became the custodian of 800 copies of his own prize-winning essay.
This was an extreme case of the Department not only ruling on what could be published but also how it was to be published. But there were other continuing pressures for a less obvious control of the Proceedings' content. Rear Admiral Caspar Goodrich, President of the Institute 1904-1909, took on the defense later and wrote:
"We should all clamor for the desirability of an officer’s speaking out at will. For myself, both as President of the Institute and at other times, I have verbally and in writing urged various Secretaries of the Navy to remove all restriction of the Institute's publications, averring that no officer would abuse the privilege by printing anything confidential innature…If any individual be guilty of personal attacks or of improper language or motive, punish him for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. But, eliminate all censorship and don't shut up the open discussion of service and naval policy topics…occasionally the Department will get a suggestion of importance that would never reach it through channels."
The problem of security clearance was settled, for good or bad, by General Order No. 139 of 16 December 1911, which required that all articles by “any person belonging to the Navy or employed by the Navy Department…shall be submitted before publication to the Navy Department, Division of Operations of the Fleet, Office of Naval Intelligence, for scrutiny.” The Institute questioned, not the principle, but the application of this order to its publications. Secretary George von L. Meyer replied that articles—except those of a purely historical or scientific nature, and translations of foreign publications—would be subject to the rule but that discussion of published articles could be at the discretion of the writer and the Board of Control. The rule was that it "not contain any confidential information, or other matter regarding naval policy, the publication of which might embarrass the Department.” Here again, the Board of Control was faced with the old problem of whether constructive criticism “might embarrass the Department" and its members sometimes had to wonder how their votes for or against publication might affect their future careers.
Under General Order 139, the Second and Third Honorable Mention Essays in 1915, the First in 1916, and the Prize Essay of 1917 were all denied publication by the Department on grounds that they were "confidential in nature" or "contained data which should be held confidential." Yet, much of the data and ideas expressed were freely reported in SecNav Annual Reports, other officially published documents and the contemporary press. In later years, the Department's reviewers became more reasonable and censorship has long since ceased to be a problem, although the 1941 Prize Essay, "The Diplomacy of a Two-Ocean Navy," was not published in the Proceedings, presumably for lack of clearance from the State Department, and the 1965 Prize Essay on "Sea-Based Air Striking Power" was denied clearance on security grounds. Today, fortunately, both the Department and the Board of Control, when reviewing manuscripts, seem to agree with Homer's lines:
"To speak his thoughts is every freeman's right
In peace and war, in counsel and in fight."
But, there may come future times when the Institute will have to fight again for the principles of free speech and then, like Admiral Sir John Fisher, Royal Navy, "…we can't be silent and we must not lie."
The Twentieth Century
Organization and Administration
In 1904, Professor Alger had promoted messenger James Conroy to be a clerk assistant and hired Emmanuel Jackson as messenger and clerk. After Alger's death, "Manny" resigned in 1915 and was replaced by Meyer Cox, who stayed on for 32 years. In 1916, Conroy was made chief clerk and a trustee, in order that all Naval Institute copyrights could be registered in his name. Since 1892, they had been in the name of the current Secretary-Treasurer and not of the Institute, which caused problems when the Institute later brought a suit for infringement on the Bluejacket's Manual copyright. When Conroy died in 1923, Cox took over those duties. By the end of World War I, the staff had grown to seven members; it went back to four in 1920, and grew back to seven again by 1938. Interestingly, the total monthly salary for the seven in 1918 was $635, but it was $1,111 twenty years later. Since World War II, the vast expansion of the Institute's publishing, marketing, data processing, and other administrative operations have required a corresponding increase in its staff, both in numbers and in fields of expertise, to the present level of about 50.
In the post-Alger years, the election of officers followed the earlier pattern of the President being one of the most senior officers of the Navy and the Vice President only slightly junior, often including the CNO, which office was established in 1915, and the Academy Superintendent. Since World War II, a custom has developed whereby the President is always the CNO, with the one exception of Admiral Jerauld Wright in 1959-1960, and the Vice President is the Superintendent. There are members who now argue that the Institute would benefit in greater freedom of expression by a less arbitrary system of nomination, a question that is still under debate.
Similarly, the Secretary-Treasurer continued to be an active duty Naval Academy officer who voluntarily accepted the additional commitment, except during World War II when Rear Admiral A. T. Church, U. S. Navy (Retired), a former Secretary, took over. Prominent on the roster of Secretaries prior to World War II are the names of Lieutenant Commander Ralph Earle, Lieutenant Commander E. J. King, Lieutenant Commander Isaac Kidd, Commander Kent Hewitt, and Lieutenant Commander C H. McMorris. But, despite expansion of the Alger system of recruiting faculty assistance, the steadily increasing workload forced the Institute into taking on an assistant editor in 1923—alsocollateral duty for an officer serving at the Academy. The first was Lieutenant Commander Roy C Smith, Jr., whose grandfather (Sampson) had been Secretary, Vice President, and President, whose father had won the Prize Essay Contest in 1897, whose uncle (R. H. Jackson) had also been Secretary, and who was Alger's son-in-law. One of his first chores was to write the 50th anniversary article for the October 1923 Proceedings (and how amused he would be to know that his son did the 100th).
This system continued through World War II, but the constant rotation of the Secretary-Treasurer and his divided loyalties between two duty assignments became more and more of a handicap to effective administration and publications management. In 1946, the Board of Control authorized a permanent, full –time billet of Managing Editor to provide professional experience and continuity to the publishing operations. The first was Commander Roy deS. Horn, U. S. Navy (Retired), who had a background of commercial publishing and had been assistant editor for the previous three years. In 1964, the Board applied the same philosophy to the office of Secretary-Treasurer, which had been appointive since 1950 but was still held by an Academy-stationed officer, making it a permanent billet and appointing to it Commander R. T. E. Bowler, the incumbent active duty officer who had just retired. In 1971, David Sparks became the Institute's first Controller, an office of vital importance. And, of course, other administrative and editorial billets were added as the Institute expanded into departmentalized operations.
A New Home
For 30-odd years the Naval Institute maintained its rent-free offices in Maury Hall, and the Naval Academy Athletic and Alumni Associations were also guests of the Academy. In the mid-1930s, Rear Admiral David Sellers, Superintendent and Institute Vice President, pointed out that the Academy's growth required more building space, that the three tenants were only guests without legal right to quarters in the Yard and that, while he would not evict them, he could not speak for his successors. The Naval Institute therefore voted $50,000 and the Athletic Association $150,000 to erect a new building just inside the Main Gate as a donation to the Academy, the ground floor to be a proper home for the then scattered Naval Academy Museum collections and the second floor for Institute and Association offices with a small space for the Alumni Association. Enacting legislation itself unique in authorizing private institutions to be housed on a federal reservation, was passed and the work begun in 1938. The building was occupied in May 1939 and inspected the following month by President Franklin Roosevelt, an Associate Member of the Institute and a prime mover in establishment of the Naval Academy Museum when Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He was well pleased.
The Alumni Association moved out to Ogle Hall in 1945, but the Institute was straining at the seams and, by 1952, there was no more room for the increased staff necessitated by the great expansion of its business. Temporary relief was afforded by the Museum relinquishing some basement space but the situation soon became worse than before. So, in July of 1960, the membership voted by special ballot to appropriate $500,000 to enlarge the building, nearly doubling its former size. Again the ground floor went to the Museum, which had been even more cramped for lack of display space, and the rest to the Naval Institute. The work was completed in July 1962 and, remarkably, at a cost of $449,503—10% below the original estimate. Named Preble Hall, it is known for the Naval Academy Museum it houses, but it was funded primarily by the Naval Institute with special Congressional approval.
Preble Hall provides adequate space for the Institute's headquarters and operations, but not for large meetings. Consequently, the annual meetings since 1962 have been divided, the business sessions held in the new Mitscher Hall auditorium and the following reception continuing in the Officers and Faculty Club. Considering the large numbers of members of all categories who attend, this is a happy arrangement.
Prize Essays and the Proceedings
The Alger years developed a very high quality of professional writing for the Proceedings and in the Prize Essays, a quality that was recognized outside the Institute's own circle. For example, in 1916, Walter F. Lippincott of Philadelphia, offered the Institute an author's prize of $1,000 for the best essay on "Large vs. a Greater Number of Smaller Battleships." There were 54 entries-it was big money in those tax-free days. Lieutenant Commander T. L. Johnson won. His essay, advocating a smaller number of larger ships, was published in the April 1916 Proceedings. The contrary view of Commander Ralph Earle was published in the September-October issue of that year.
Since then, there has been a gradual transition from a strong preponderance of technical articles on contemporary naval problems towards the broader maritime policy subjects we see today. Partly, this resulted from increasing security requirements that limited the open discussion of more sophisticated ships and weapons systems, but it was primarily caused by the tremendous increases in our national responsibilities as a growing world power and the rapidly expanding capabilities of the new trident of U. S. seapower—air, surface and sub-surface.
More and more articles appeared on national and naval policy and strategy by a continuing roster of distinguished officers, many of whom were thus early in their careers showing talent for logical thought and expression; but changing technology was not overlooked. Articles were published regularly on the development of aviation and submarines; the improvement of existing ships and development of new types of surface ships, both combatant and support; the shift of propulsion from coal to oil to nuclear power; the development of better guns, torpedoes, and fire control systems; as well as guided and ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons and their effects on anti-submarine warfare and ship defense; the evolution of amphibious operations from ships' boats of the 1920s to the combined assault capabilities of today; and the Navy's role in space. Others wrote on the need to establish and then to improve a Naval Reserve; on shipboard, fleet and departmental organization; on postgraduate education in the Navy and the training and education of enlisted men; and on modernization of the Naval Academy. In 1947, the Superintendent wrote the lead article for the November Proceedings describing the newly implemented Holloway Plan for the NROTC, very close to the system advocated by Commodore Luce in the first issue of the Proceedings 73 years before.
Policy and changing technology were in the majority but the Proceedings still maintained an active interest in history, both in current events and in the relations of the past to present and future. For example, the Proceedings gave thorough coverage in both featured articles and subsequent discussions to the affair of 1927 and the Panay incident of 1937, our first combat encounters with Chinese Communists and with the Japanese. This coverage not only provided food for thought but also was useful in later analysis for the formulation of corrective policy by the Navy Department.
While many articles were successful in achieving desired results, such as one by Vice Admiral L. S. Sabin condemning abuse of the deep selection concept, others, unfortunately, were ignored. One such was by Lieutenant Commander Logan Ramsey, in 1937, describing the completely successful air attacks made on Pearl Harbor by Lieutenant Commander J. J. Clark's air squadron during Fleet exercises in 1931 and 1932, in which he predicted that the Japanese would do the same thing one day if our defenses were not built up. Four years later, he watched that prediction come true.
In addition to maintaining the high standards of articles published in the Proceedings, Alger's successors as editor expanded the open forum section of "Comment and Discussion," and the "Professional Notes," which added an aviation section in 1915 to keep up with the rapidity of developments in that field. "Book Reviews" and "Professional Reading," a fine bibliography of current naval writing at home and abroad, were also expanded. Later additions were the "Notebook," a section which quotes articles of interest from the domestic and translations from the foreign press, and a monthly portion of historical reminiscence, "The Old Navy." And Alger's successors—most notably the extremely able, energetic Roy Horn, and the astute Roger Taylor who engineered the Institute's dynamic expansion in the early 1960s—continued to improve the format, printing, and content of the magazine.
Strangely, the wide variety of principal articles in the Proceedings has not been matched in the Prize Essay contests. In 1921, the Board of Control, thinking to extend the field, published a suggested list of 52 topics for the consideration, but not restriction, of entrants. From first ("Rebuilding the Navy's Enlisted Personnel, and Re-establishing Its Morale and High Spirit After the Serious Slump Caused by Too Rapid Demobilization and High Wages in Civil Life") to last ("The Question of the Future Use of Submarines"), they covered a wide range of problems then affecting the Navy and the nation, even "The Value of Pep." Surprisingly, of the three winners, only the First Honorable Mention, "A Description of the Battle of Jutland (and Its Lessons)" by Commander Holloway H. Frost, came from that list. Captain J. V. Chase won with "Accuracy of Fire at Long Ranges" and the Second Honorable Mention went to Commander G. C. Westervelt (cc) and H. B. Sanford for "Possibilities of a Trans-Pacific Flight," which Commander John Rodgers attempted four years later.
In 1913, the prize was won by Lieutenant Commander Harry Yarnell and in 1914 and 1915 by Lieutenant Commander Dudley Knox with papers on naval organization. In 1916, Lieutenant H. H. Frost won with an essay on the moral power of the whole nation in wartime. The 1917 (Lieutenant Commander L. A. Cotten) and 1918 (Frost, again) winners wrote on tactics as influenced by World War I, and no paper was selected as Prize Essay in 1919. From then on, the dominant subjects have been naval and national policy, diplomacy, and their inter-relationships.
Between 1920 and 1938, four prize essays dealt with battleships, that of 1926 by the British writer, Hector Bywater. In earlier years there had been four winning essays on torpedo boats but, except for submarines in 1966 and the inclusion of carriers in various papers on aviation, no other ship type has been the principal subject of a prize essay. There were four winners on aviation between 1925 and 1943, two by Lieutenant F. G. Percival, who also had a previous winner on battleships. Tactics reappeared in 1932 by Lieutenant Ernest M. Eller and fleet organization by Rear Admiral Joseph K. Taussig, advocating the task force concept, in 1939: In 1942, leadership was the subject of Lieutenant Eller's second of three prizes. Nuclear weapons first appeared in 1947 and were a repeat subject by Commander Malcolm W. Cagle in 1957 and Captain Carl H. Amme (his first of four prize essays) in 1960. Rear Admiral John D. Hayes won in 1965, writing on the parlous state of our merchant marine, and Captain Robert J. Hanks in 1970 with his "Against All Enemies" treatise on loyalty. But, still, the great majority of the Prize Essays have dealt with policy—naval, national, and international.
Rear Admiral William V. Pratt began the series on geopolitics in 1923, followed by William H. Hessler in 1944 and 1947 and by John J. Clark in 1969. The effect of the naval disarmament treaties on policy was discussed by Lieutenant Commander T. L. Gatch in 1927 and by Rear Admiral Pratt in 1933, his second win. In 1934, 1935, and 1936, W. J. Holmes, Lieutenant Commander Melvin Talbot and Lieutenant Commander Frank Harris urged that we reduce our commitments in the Far East to match the size of our fleet. Doesn't that sound familiar? Harris wrote that our policy had become "increasingly diplomatic and less naval, more memoranda and fewer guns. Japan’s unhalted consolidation of her positions on the Asiatic mainland indicates only too clearly that our diplomatic front has outdistanced its naval support beyond all reason." And, in 1937, Lieutenant Smith-Hutton accurately predicted that Japan’s "have-not status would inevitably lead her to forcible expansion into the source areas of her raw materials."
In the post-World War II years, the Prize Essays have had three basic themes: limited war and containment, including the American psychology of unpreparedness; the superiority of mobile, sea-based power over continental fixed-base systems; and the value of precision-delivered, Navy-initiated strategic and tactical weapons. One notable essay was that of 1952 by Lieutenant Commander Samuel S. Stratton, U. S. Naval Reserve, now a prominent member of Congress, who wrote a critical analysis of the containment policy that led us into Korea. Another was the highly controversial essay of 1971 by Captain Robert H. Smith on "A United States Navy for the Future," in which he severely criticized the Navy's building program. In the March 1973 issue of the Proceedings, Captain Smith discussed the many reactions to that essay and commented, "There was a category of letters—too few of these—in which the authors were stimulated to develop their own ideas. I say' too few' because this category seemed to include the most imaginative and the best. Certainly they came the closest to meeting my own hope for unfettered debate on the crucial issues." This fine statement proves that the purpose of its founders still serves the Naval Institute today.
As in the earlier years, both Proceedings articles and Prize Essays have continued to come to grips with the current and future problems of the Navy and the Nation. Often they have predicted quite accurately but, too often, their warnings have not been heeded. Nevertheless, many changes for the better have resulted from the Institute's publication and discussion of ideas. And, as before, we continue to see the names of young officers destined for high command winning early recognition of ability.
Enlisted Prize Essay Contest
As a member of the Board of Control in 1947, Rear Admiral Felix Johnson recommended a prize essay contest for enlisted men, with the proviso that those who desired could still enter the annual Prize Essay Contest. The Board approved and established an Enlisted Prize Essay Contest in 1948, open to any enlisted man or woman on active duty in the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, with the same basic rules as for the then renamed "General Prize Essay Contest." The first winner was Chief Machinist's Mate Richard M. McKenna, who was awarded $500, a gold medal and life membership in the Institute. He is probably better remembered as author of the 1963 best-seller, The Sand Pebbles.
In subsequent years, the Board of Control awarded a number of Honorable Mention prizes but it was not until 1954 that another paper was given the Prize Award. That was by Chief Quartermaster William J. Miller, who had two earlier honorable mentions. Prize Awards were made in 1955 and 1956 to Chief Fire Controlman Joseph D. Harrington and Chief Quartermaster William J. Stanley, both of whom had also won earlier honorable mentions, but in 1957 none of the ten entries was deemed worthy of any award. When the same result occurred in 1958 with 24 entries, the Board of Control pointed out that only a very few enlisted men, and they mostly chief petty officers, had regularly submitted articles and asked the membership to vote on continuation or disestablishment of the Enlisted Prize Essay Contest. The vote was to call it off.
In 1971, several recommendations were made to revive the contest on grounds that we had a new generation of enlisted men who were better educated and more articulate than their predecessors, that their thoughts on the problems of enlisted men were of value to the senior officers, that the contest would stimulate writing by those who might otherwise think that their views were not wanted, and that it would increase membership. Further, the Institute now had a Promotion Department, which did not exist in the 1950s, to advertise the contest. The recommendation was adopted and the Enlisted Prize Essay Contest was reinstated in 1972.
In 1972, the winner was Master Chief Sonar Technician James C. Bussert with a paper on "The Navy Gap of the Seventies," for which he was awarded $700, a gold medal and life membership in the Institute. In 1973, he won again with a paper criticizing over-administration at all levels within the Navy. But, because there were only 12 entries in 1972, and 13 in 1973, with only one award in each year, this contest has again been discontinued.
Allan F. Westcott Prize Essay Contest for Midshipmen
Considering that all first class midshipmen were required to submit a term paper under the Department of English, History and Government, Professor Herman O. Werner suggested that the Naval Institute establish an annual prize award for the best of these papers and that it be named for the late Professor Westcott, a well loved member of the faculty and a long-time contributing staff member of the Proceedings. The award was so established in 1954, with a $250 savings bond as prize, and has been continued ever since.
Most of these papers have been useful studies of lesser known aspects of major operations, covering a wide range of times and nations, but there have been others devoted to analyses of naval policy which were also far-reaching in time and nationality. Many of the winning papers have been published in the Proceedings, some few of which have resulted in considerable "Comment and Discussion." It is well that the young voice should be heard, and the availability of a cash prize has contributed to an overall improvement in the quality of these term papers.
The Distinguished Visitor Program
In 1955, the Naval Institute sponsored a successful lecture tour of the United States by the British military historian, Major Reginald Hargreaves. When it appeared that there was no follow-on program, Professor Robert M. Langdon of the Academy's Department of English, History and Government, urged that such lecture tours be continued. The Board of Control agreed and established a program of "Distinguished Visitors," sponsoring their availability for lectures, conferences, and informal discussions at the Naval Academy, other Service schools, colleges and universities.
The first Distinguished Visitor was Vice Admiral Friedrich Ruge, Federal German Navy, in 1964, followed in 1965 by Captain Stephen Roskill, Royal Navy (Retired). In 1966, there were four U. S. Navy Admirals: Arleigh Burke, Arthur Radford, Felix Stump, and Jerauld Wright (Retired). In 1967, Admiral Thomas Moorer was the visitor and he was followed in 1968 by Admirals Harry Felt and George Anderson. The 1969 visitors, both retired, were Lieutenant General Victor Krulak, U. S. Marine Corps, and General Minoru Genda of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, a member of the Diet who, as an Imperial Navy Commander, had drawn up the plans for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In general, the American Distinguished Visitors made only brief appearances at the Naval Academy and perhaps one or two others, while the foreigners were given rather extensive tours covering both naval and civilian educational institutions. Discontinued as an economy measure in 1970, one hopes that it will be resumed.
The Naval Review
The concept of an annual publication to cover the principal naval events of the year, and also to provide a vehicle for the advancement of naval thought in greater detail than was possible in the Proceedings, first occurred to a young history graduate of Harvard, Ellery Clark, in 1939. After World War II, as Lieutenant Commander Clark, U. S. Naval Reserve, and a teacher of history at the Naval Academy, he argued again for that concept and eventually, in 1961, it was adopted by the Board of Control. The model was Brassey’s Annual, which has been published continually in Great Britain since 1886.
The first issue, Naval Review 1962-63, was published in 1962. As its Editor, Frank Uhlig, Jr., said in the preface to that issue,
"The Naval Review was conceived with the thought that some phases of the current policies and operations of the U. S. Navy in particular, and the defense effort at large, could perhaps benefit from these processes of scrutiny, analysis and discussion…Through determining the course being steered and the speed being made good over the ground, such a publication might hopefully help the Navy to recognize tomorrow's requirements today and permit the Service to adjust course without reducing speed."
That view has held good through the years.
Until 1970, the Naval Review was published as a separate volume, but its cost limited the number of takers among the members. In that year, the Naval Review was incorporated into the Proceedings, to be the May issue each year, thus becoming available to the entire membership. Aside from its size and the length of its articles, the Naval Review issue differs from the regular Proceedings in one major concept. Most Proceedings articles are on random subjects and are unsolicited, but Naval Review articles are on carefully selected subjects and commissioned to authors well qualified to analyze them. The result is a professionalism that matches Brassey's or any other similar publication, to the benefit of all.
The Oral History Program
Professor Allan Nevins, the late great American historian, began a project at Columbia University in 1960 to interview and record the important naval commanders of World War II and before. John T. Mason, Jr., was enlisted to conduct the interviews and the Director of Naval History, then Rear Admiral E. M. Eller, U. S. Navy (Retired), acted as mentor and guide. In March of 1969, this project was transferred intact to the Naval Institute, where it has prospered. At the beginning of this year, 24 full-length naval biographies were completed, transcribed, indexed and bound, with 40 more in various stages of completion. Most of these biographies are unclassified and open to researchers at the Naval Institute, the Division of Naval History in the Navy Department and in the Special Collections of the Naval Academy Library. Altogether, they constitute a rich and variegated repository of almost every phase of naval life—the raw material for much future writing on naval history.
The Oral History unit has also handled other special projects. About 60 men and women have been interviewed on their association with Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, all of which has been transcribed and a typescript made available to the Nimitz biographer, Professor E. B. Potter. A current project is being developed on the Polaris weapon system, centering on Vice Admiral William B. Raborn and his team. Another is on naval aviation, with special emphasis on the early years of its development. A project covering the WAVES in World War II already has one bound volume of interviews incorporating the recollections of their wartime leaders, and another deals with the leaders of the Coast Guard.
These are, indeed, invaluable records and the Institute deserves great credit for making it possible to collect and preserve them for future use.
At the suggestion of a Professor of Naval Science, as enlarged by the Chief of Naval Personnel, the Naval Institute made available, in the spring of 1952, two one-year memberships, regular or associate, to each of the NROTC Units. These memberships, including subscriptions to the Proceedings, are used as awards by Professors of Naval Science in whatever fashion they think best to increase the efficiency of their individual units. This program bas proven so successful over the years that it has been expanded into all other officer training programs in the Navy.
In 1927, the Naval Institute announced its first photographic contest. The first prize of $25 and second of $15 were won by Captain Wat T. Cluverius, Jr., and Ensign Stephen R. Bedford. For some curious reason, nothing further was done along this line until 1962, when the "Best Maritime Photograph Contest" was announced with prizes of $50 for each of the ten best pictures. This was a sudden hit and has continued regularly ever since. In 1966, the name was changed to "Naval and Maritime Photography Contest" and the prizes were increased to $100 for each of the top ten selections. The winning photographs at first were published in the annual Naval Review, but in recent years they have appeared in the Proceedings. They continue to be outstanding in themselves and an encouragement to all photographers.
Fifty years ago, my father wrote of the effectiveness of the Naval Institute in a Navy of rapidly changing technology. Since then we have seen far more and far greater changes, from carrier aviation on to atomic bombs, nuclear power, ballistic missiles, and men on the moon. Nevertheless, with mental substitutions for the last 50 years of technological advancements, I can do no better in reviewing the Institute's value over its first hundred years than to repeat what my father wrote then:
"[In the Proceedings]we can follow the development of the battleship from the post-Civil War type of glorified Monitor to the present Colorado. We can follow the arguments for and against the all big-gun battleship, and how strangely they fall on our ears now. We can follow the introduction of oil as fuel, or turbines, and, finally, of electric drive. We can follow improvements in fire control, in spotting and gun laying from the first stirrings of dissatisfaction with the then existing procedures up to the present director methods of gun laying with aerial observation of the fall of shot…with the possible exception of the Naval War College at Newport, no other source has so greatly furthered the material development and professional advancement of the Navy as has the Naval Institute. Nor should we entirely lay stress on material advancement. Articles of historic and scientific note are scattered all through the files. The mental and professional needs of the personnel have been served fully as well as has the material development of the Navy…Surely the Founders must hold that the Institute has more than justified itself."