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United States Military Academy Library


Welcome: Archives & Special Collections

USMA and West Point related resources

Many resources related to the history of USMA and West Point are digitized and available online for you to use as you begin your research. Learn about everything that is available, including information about graduates, Howitzers, obituaries, Academy records, AOG publications, cadet publications, cadet appointments, and the cemetery. 

Highlights from the USMA Archives & Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections Appointments Available

Schedule a visit to the historic West Point Room to view primary sources and consultations with the Archive and Special Collections team. Contact arch-spec@usmalibrary.org to schedule an appointment. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 public health emergency, access to USMA resources and facilities may be suspended at any time and without advance notice. USMA Library reserves the right to cancel or postpone any research appointments at any time. All researchers should provide accurate contact information to facilitate any notifications regarding their planned visit. 

West Point Room in 1964

The West Point Room was built in 1964 for the Cadet Library. It is now the reading room for Archives and Special Collections. The Archives and Special Collections department is located in Bartlett Hall on the fourth floor. 

Archives and Special Collection in Class

The Archives and Special Collections team can accommodate virtual class visits and library instruction for your class. Past class visits include American History, Military History, History of the Book, English Composition, English Literature, and more. To request library instruction, please fill out this form: Information Literacy Instruction Request

Archives and Special Collection Online

Can't make an appointment to join us in the West Point Room? No Worries! Access digitized Archives and Special Collections material through the USMA Digital Collections

Using the Archives and Special Collections

Archives

The Archives collection is comprised of the historical administrative records of the U.S. Military Academy, dating from its founding in 1802 through the present. Manuscripts, typescripts, publications, photographs, sound recordings, and maps are included in the collection. To qualify for the Archives, the material must have been generated by the Academy in the course of official business and must be of permanent historical value. Although maintained at West Point, these materials constitute record group 404 of the National Archives of the United States. As part of the National Archives, they are available to researchers within the confines of applicable rules, regulations, and statutes.

The Archives include many series of Academy publications, such as the cadet yearbook, Howitzer; the post newspaper, Pointer View; Annual Reports of the Superintendent; and many others.

In addition to the original records comprising record group 404, the USMA Archives maintains National Archives Microfilm Publications of related records from other record groups.

Search USMA Library Digital Collections

 

Special Collections

The Special Collections are comprised of a variety of materials from private and commercial sources. They are often made available to researchers from outside the Academy by request.

The Special Collections include approximately 1,500 linear feet of manuscript materials. Most of the collection consists of personal manuscripts of Academy alumni; however, some non-graduate papers are also included.

The collections also contain published sources such as books, maps, photographs, and ephemera. The book collection includes early European and American imprints, and the Sylvanus Thayer Collection acquired in the early years of the Academy and association volumes, books by and about Academy alumni, and books on the history of West Point, the Academy, and the Hudson Valley.

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Reading Room

The Archives and Special Collections reading room is open to researchers Monday through Friday, 0800-1600; exceptions will be posted. Researchers (excluding USMA Cadets, staff, and faculty) are accommodated by appointment only. To request a research appointment, please create an account in Aeon with details about your request. Once you submit a request, you can log in to receive updates on your request's status. Please allow time for us to respond; appointments are not set until a confirmation is received.

Research Registration System and Appointment Requests

 

USMA Faculty: Schedule a visit to the historic West Point Room to view original materials related to your course. Past visits include American History, Military History, History of the Book, English Composition, English Literature, and more. To request library instruction, please fill out this form: Information Literacy Instruction Request.

USMA Archives and Special Collections staff is available by chat or by email (arch-spec@usmalibrary.org) to assist you.

To make a research request:

  • Search the USMA library holdings via SCOUT and select "Special Collection" as the item's location.
  • Click on the Special Handling Required link. You will be redirected to your Aeon account.
  • Log into your account, and your request will be pre-populated in a New Request form.
  • Fill in any additional relevant information.
  • Email arch-spec@usmalibrary.org to schedule your appointment. Please state your research topic, desired material and appointment time.
  • If you can't find the materials you need in the online catalog, you can make a manual request.

To make a manual request:

  • Log into Aeon account, Select New Request.
  • Fill in all the relevant information about the material you would like to request.
  • Email arch-spec@usmalibrary.org to schedule your appointment. Please state your research topic, desired material and appointment time.

USMA Archives and Special Collections will be be closed to external visitors from November 24th, 2021 to January 4th, 2022. 

USMA Archives and Special Collections staff is available by chat or by email (arch-spec@usmalibrary.org) to assist researchers with USMA related questions. However, our first priority are current USMA cadets, faculty and staff.  

To make a research request:

  • Search the USMA library holdings via SCOUT and select "Special Collection" as the item's location.
  • Click on the Special Handling Required link. You will be redirected to your Aeon account.
  • Log into your account, and your request will be pre-populated in a New Request form.
  • Fill in any additional relevant information.
  • Email arch-spec@usmalibrary.org to schedule your appointment. Please state your research topic, desired material and appointment time. Appointments are required to be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
  • If you can't find the materials you need in the online catalog, you can make a manual request.

To make a manual request:

  • Log into Aeon account, Select New Request.
  • Fill in all the relevant information about the material you would like to request.
  • Email arch-spec@usmalibrary.org to schedule your appointment. Please state your research topic, desired material and appointment time. Appointments are required to be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
  • Archives and Special Collections material and reading room access is by appointment only.
  • A research account is required to access materials. Please pre-register with an Aeon account.
  • Researchers must wear masks while in the reading room.
  • Researchers will be asked to show id upon arrival.
  • Coats, umbrellas, and all other personal belongings must be put in the coatroom. Only approved electronic devices (no cases), pencils, and writing paper (subject to inspection) may be brought to the research table.
  • Only pencils are permitted in the Reading Room. All notes must be taken in pencil or on an approved electronic device.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted in the reading room.
  • The use of original material is subject to staff discretion. Copies may be substituted for originals.
  • Materials must be handled with great care. Researchers must not write or lean upon, trace, mark, erase, fold anew, cut, tear or otherwise alter or mishandle materials. Staff may request that researchers use book supports and/or gloves and will provide bookmarks or weights as appropriate.
  • Copying material (whether with library or personal equipment) is at the discretion of the staff. Requests for copies will be recorded on a Request to Reproduce Materials form.
  • All research materials must remain on the tabletop and in their original order. Unbound documents must remain in their folders, in the order in which they presented. Materials that appear to be in disorder are to be referred to a staff member.
  • Materials must be consulted in the reading room; they may not be removed under any circumstances.
  • Before leaving the reading room for any purpose, researchers are required to notify a member of the staff and submit their research materials to be searched.
  • Any violation of these rules may be cause to end your research session.

USMA Faculty: Schedule a visit to the historic West Point Room to view original materials related to your course. Past visits include American History, Military History, History of the Book, English Composition, English Literature, and more. To request library instruction, please fill out this form: Information Literacy Instruction Request

Archives & Special Collections Hours

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