Commodore Dudley W. Knox, U. S. Navy (Retired) (1877 – 1960) was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Naval War College. He had a distinguished career as a naval officer with service in the Spanish American War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Great White Fleet, and World War I. But it was his abilities as a historian, librarian, and archivist that earned him respect and admiration amongst his peers and later generations.
Transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 20 October 1921, Knox served as Officer in Charge, Office of Naval Records and Library, and as Curator for the Navy Department. The publication of his clarion call Our Vanishing History and Traditions in the Naval Institute Proceedings in January 1926 led to the establishment of the Naval Historical Foundation. He would serve as secretary of the organization for decades and was its president at the time of his passing in 1960.
For a quarter of a century, his leadership inspired diligence, efficiency, and initiative while he guided, improved, and expanded the Navy’s archival and historical operations. His publications include The Eclipse of American Sea Power (1922), A History of the United States Navy (1936), and multi-volume collections of documents on naval operations in The Quasi-War with France in 1798–1800, the first Barbary war and the second Barbary War.