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Alfred T. Mahan letter to William W. Bailey

 Collection — Box: 1, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSC-386

Scope and Contents

Letter from Alfred T. Mahan to Professor William W. Bailey at Brown University. In the letter Mahan apologizes for not visiting Providence because the College is in session and he is too busy as President and lecturer at the Naval War College with a "very insufficient staff."


  • Creation: 1887 Jan 23


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical Note

Alfred Thayer Mahan was born at West Point, New York, the son of Professor Denis Hart Mahan, who taught at the United States Military Academy. The atmosphere of his family home undoubtedly played a role in his future work, and helped to mold his later interests. Although his father hoped that Alfred would pursue a civilian career, the boy joined the Navy after only a year at Columbia University.

As a line officer in the U.S. Navy, Mahan had a rather uneventful career, but saw active service in the Civil War and went on to command three ships. In 1885, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce selected him as an instructor in naval history and tactics at the Naval War College. Having served nearly 25 years in the Navy at this point, Mahan found a new direction and new purpose in his life at the age of 45. Building on the vision that Luce had laid out for him, Mahan went on to a remarkable career as a naval historian and propagandist, writing more than 20 books, 160 journal articles and 100 newspaper articles. His work was translated into a variety of languages, including Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish and Dutch. Throughout the world his work had immense influence in the development of navies and in laying the ground work for the development of naval theory and strategy. His works continue to be read and republished today. His first sea power book, The Influence of Sea Power on History, 1660-1783, has appeared in at least 50 editions and has been translated into 6 languages.


0.04 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collections consists of one letter written from Alfred T. Mahan, esteemed naval officer and historian, to Professor William W. Bailey of Brown University.


The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William M. Fowler, 2022 Nov.

Related Materials

Please search the U.S. Naval War College Archives online catalog for additional collections and materials relating to Alfred T. Mahan.

Processing Information

This collection was processed according to current archival standards by Elizabeth Delmage in 2022.

Alfred T. Mahan letter to William W. Bailey, 1887
Dacs Finding Aid
Elizabeth Delmage
2022 Nov 18
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Naval War College Archives Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US