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United States Military Academy Library


Military Research Resources: Home

USMA Library Archives and Special Collections Research Support

The USMA Library Archives and Special Collections retains the United States Military Academy's official records and associated items related to USMA graduates and the history of West Point. Our primary mission is to support cadet, faculty, and staff research. 

As such, we are often not the best source for information on non-USMA related questions. Here are some other resources that will support your research.

Military Service Records

The USMA Library Archives and Special Collections retains cadet records, but not graduate records from their time in the Army or the records of service members who are not associated with West Point. Here are some other resources that will support your research:

  • National Archives and Records Administration
    • NARA holds the military personnel records and is the best place to request copies of DD214s and other service records. Learn more about their holdings and how to request them here
    • NARA also has a variety of military records, from photos to documents to searchable databases available. There are online collections related to Vietnam, Korean War, WWII, WWI, Spanish-American War, Civil War, and the Revolutionary War available online

 

  • Ancestry.com: Most public libraries subscribe to Ancestry.com. Contact your local public library to learn if they subscribe and what you need to access this resource. If you are eligible to access Military OneSource MWR Digital Library, it includes access to the Ancestry Library online. The DoD MWR Library provides access to this resource, not the USMA Library. 
    • Go to the MWR Digital Library. You may be asked to log in to Military OneSource. If you have never used Military OneSource before, you will need to register before gaining access to the site.
    • Ancestry U.S. Military Collection: Includes millions of U.S. military records, covering almost 400 years of American wars and conflicts. With more than 100 million names and 700 titles and databases of military records from all 50 U.S. states, there are countless opportunities to learn the stories of courage and sacrifice in your family tree. Search through enlightening historical documents from every major U.S. war from the American Revolution through Vietnam, including draft registration cards, veterans’ gravesites, soldier pension indexes, enlistment records, muster rolls, and much more.

USMA Graduates

USMA Association of Graduates

  • USMA AOG provides the Find A Grad website where you can learn if someone graduated and what year. Limited information is available to non-graduates, such as name and year of graduation. 
    • If you wish to contact a graduate, AOG has an Email a Grad service that allows you to blindly email the person through the email that AOG has on file. 
  • Register of Graduates: AOG traces the West Point Register of Graduates & Former Cadets legacy to the post-Civil War era, when the Register was compiled by George W. Cullum, Class of 1833. Search for individual entries recording the names, classes, and careers of every West Point graduate from 1802 to the present. AOG limits access to this online resource to graduates, widows/widowers, or ex-cadets. 

Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy

Official Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy

  • Although content changes substantially during the 148 years of its publication, a list of the academic and military staff and the order-of-merit lists for each class are included in all editions. The staff list includes information on the individual's rank, unit, or branch, and period of service at USMA. The order-of-merit list includes such data on each cadet as his date of admission, age, source of appointment, rank in respective studies, and demerits accumulated and contains remarks on cadets not examined, discharged, or turned back to a lower class. 
  • Registers from 1818-1966 are digitized as part of the digital collection of the USMA Library.

Army Resources

Army Resources

  • U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH): The Center Of Military History (CMH), which reports to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army. 
    • Force Structure and Unit History Branch: Includes the Force Structure Support for both historical and current TOE units as well as historical information on Army Structure; and the Organizational History that include lineage and honor for active TOE Army units, as well as awards and campaign streamers.
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  • U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center: The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is the nation's best resource for the study of strategic leadership, the global application of landpower, and the heritage of the U.S. Army, in honor of Soldiers, past and present.
  • U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry: Provide information on United States heraldic entitlements, how they are displayed, and how and why they are worn.
  • U.S. Army Records Management and Declassification Agency: HQDA level responsibility for the entire spectrum of the Army's interrelated records management programs including Army Records Management, Army Freedom of Information, Army Privacy, Civil Liberties, Army Office for Unit Records Response, and Declassification of Army Records.
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AHEC list of useful museums and resources: https://usawc.libguides.com/c.php?g=657420&p=4615556

Army Military Research and Education Support

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Libraries: Specialized libraries support branch training locations

U.S. Army Museums

  • The U.S. Army has a variety of museums honoring branches, training locations, and units. To find the wide variety of museums located all over the country, visit the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Find an Army Museum site. 

Specialized Military Museums & Resources

Army Resources

  • U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH): The Center Of Military History (CMH), which reports to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army. 
  • U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC): The Combined Arms Center delivers professional military education and functional training through 20 branch and seven non-branch schools, Center for Army Lessons Learned, and Army University Press.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Library: USACE Publications from districts, most publications by USACE, but some collections also contain materials by other governmental agencies written about USACE. 
  • U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center: The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is the nation's best resource for the study of strategic leadership, the global application of landpower, and the heritage of the U.S. Army, in honor of Soldiers, past and present.
  • U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry: Provide information on United States heraldic entitlements, how they are displayed, and how and why they are worn.
  • U.S. Army Records Management and Declassification Agency: HQDA level responsibility for the entire spectrum of the Army's interrelated records management programs including Army Records Management, Army Freedom of Information, Army Privacy, Civil Liberties, Army Office for Unit Records Response, and Declassification of Army Records.
  • NCO Leadership Center of Excellence digital library: Includes 

AHEC list of useful museums and resources: https://usawc.libguides.com/c.php?g=657420&p=4615556

Governmental Resources

American Battle Monuments Commission: The American Battle Monuments Commission, established by Congress in 1923, is an agency of the executive branch of the federal government. ABMC — the guardian of America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials — honors the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. Armed Forces.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database: The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is a database containing information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Other information on the site includes histories of Union and Confederate regiments, links to descriptions of significant battles, and selected lists of prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records, which will be amended over time. The CWSS is a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and several public and private partners whose goal is to increase Americans' understanding of this decisive era in American history by making information about it widely accessible.

National Personnel Records Center: The repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. NPRC (MPR) also stores medical treatment records of retirees from all services, as well as records for dependent and other persons treated at naval medical facilities.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections: The mission of the NUCMC program is to provide and promote bibliographic access to the nation's documentary heritage. This mission is realized by NUCMC production of cataloging describing archival and manuscript collections held by eligible repositories located throughout the United States and its territories. The program's mission is further realized by the provision of free searching, via NUCMC gateways, of archival and manuscript cataloging in OCLC WorldCat.

Other Resources

National Security Archive, at The George Washington UniversityFounded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents ("the world's largest nongovernmental collection" according to the Los Angeles Times), leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, a global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets.

Department of Defense Resources

Naval History & Heritage Command: The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) manages the official history program of the United States Navy, fulfilling its mission to strengthen the Navy’s effectiveness by preserving, analyzing, and interpreting the service’s hard-earned experience. 

U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency: The Air Force Historical Research Agency is the repository for Air Force historical documents. The Agency's collection, begun in Washington, DC, during World War II, moved in 1949 to Maxwell Air Force Base, the site of Air University, to provide research facilities for professional military education students, the faculty, visiting scholars, and the general public. It consists today of over 70,000,000 pages devoted to the history of the service, and represents the world's largest and most valuable organized collection of documents on US military aviation.

 

Other Military History Museums

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all military history-related museums but is meant as a starting point of other available resources.

The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana: Offering a compelling blend of sweeping narrative and poignant personal detail, The National WWII Museum features immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences, and an expansive collection of artifacts and first-person oral histories, taking visitors inside the story of the war that changed the world. Beyond the galleries, the Museum's online collections, virtual field trips, webinars, educational travel programs, and renowned International Conference on World War II offer patrons new ways to connect to history and honor the generation that sacrificed so much to secure our freedom.

The National WWI Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri: The National WWI Museum and Memorial's online collections database allows you to search digital records of our global collection that began in 1920. With such a long history, the material available is only a fraction of their diverse holdings and is in an ongoing process with new digital records added monthly. To date, the focus of the project has been on the Museum and Memorial’s photograph collection and will continue with other image-related materials.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library, Chicago, Illinois: Home to thousands of artifacts, posters, photographs, maps, and manuscripts available online and in person. Their collection represents the Citizen Soldier experience in America.

Military Women's Memorial, Arlington, Virginia: Educational programming, events, and activities that pay tribute to and tell the stories of the 3 million women patriots, past and present, who have served our nation, beginning with the American Revolution.

Library of Congress Resources

Library of Congress Veteran's History Project: Collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

 

George S. Patton Diaries and PapersThe diaries of U.S. army officer George S. Patton (1885-1945) are part of a larger collection of Patton papers available for research use onsite in the Manuscript Reading Room of the Library of Congress. The entire collection spans the years 1807-1979, with the bulk of the papers concentrated from 1904 to 1945. The diaries, 1910-1945, digitized for this online presentation, illustrate Patton's activities during the Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War I, and World War II. The volumes, particularly from 1942 to 1945, document Patton's daily activities and observations and reveal his candor about himself, personally and professionally. They include information about American ground combat operations in the campaign for North Africa, the invasion of Sicily, the liberation of France, and the final assault on Germany. Annotated volumes covering World War II often contain additional detail expanding on the original volume entries. The original diaries are dated through 24 March 1945, while annotated transcripts continue to 3 December 1945. 

 

John J. Pershing Papers: The diaries, notebooks, and address books of John Joseph Pershing (1860-1948), U.S. army officer and commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, are part of a larger collection of Pershing papers available for research use onsite in the Manuscript Reading Room of the Library of Congress. The typed diaries, organized into two sets, describe Pershing's command of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I and his postwar service as army chief of staff until 1925. The notebooks mainly document Pershing's army career prior to 1917, with a few that overlap the World War I diaries. The first notebook, from 1882, Pershing's plebe year at the United States Military Academy, is identified as his "cadet check book," or account book. There are notebooks covering much of the rest of his time at West Point, 1883-1884, and 1886, the year he graduated.

 

George Brinton McClellan (1826-1885): The papers of U.S. Army officer and governor of New Jersey George Brinton McClellan (1826-1885) consist of 33,000 items (59,477 images), most of which were digitized from 82 reels of previously produced microfilm. Spanning the years 1783-1898, with the bulk dating from 1850 to 1885, the collection contains correspondence, telegrams, memoranda, diaries, writings, notes, military papers, McClellan family papers, scrapbooks, printed copies of speeches, articles and books, and other papers relating primarily to General George B. McClellan's Civil War service, particularly in the 1862 Peninsular Campaign in Virginia and battle of Antietam in Maryland. McClellan's first letters in the collection were written during his years as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, 1842-1846. Later letters are from Mexico, where he was on duty during the Mexican War. Additional information on the war is contained in a diary, 1846-1853. Correspondence and another diary for the period during which he served as an instructor at West Point, 1848-1851, are also in the collection.

 

Ulysses S. Grant Papers: The papers of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), army officer and eighteenth president of the United States, contain approximately 50,000 items dating from 1819-1974, with the bulk falling in the period 1843-1885. They include general and family correspondence, speeches, writings, reports, messages, military records, financial and legal records, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and other papers.  The collection relates to Grant's service in the Mexican War and Civil War, his pre-Civil War career, and his postwar service as U.S. secretary of war ad interim under President Andrew Johnson, his 1868 presidential campaign and two-term presidency, his unsuccessful 1880 presidential bid, and his extensive travels and financial difficulties. The collection also includes the manuscript draft of his Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, correspondence and memoirs of his wife Julia Dent Grant (1826-1902), and a galley proof of the biography Ulysses S. Grant: Warrior and Statesman (1969) by his grandson Ulysses S. Grant III.

Research Support

The United States Military Academy Library exists to provide library and information services to support cadets, faculty, and staff. While the USMA Library does not provide general library services to the public, it may provide limited and defined reference and research support to individuals and organizations external to the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Army. That support is detailed in Library Policy Operating Memorandum No. 2-2: External Reference and Research Support.

Joseph Warren Stilwell

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