Archival Resources and
Finding Aids

Updated 31 January 2013

Editorial Note: This is intended to collate together into one place a list of possible research leads for historians to get started on; and a “wish list” for what I would like to do if I ever become independently wealthy.

For example, it costs $85 per roll of microfilm from the National Archives (NARA); rising to $125 if you want them to scan it and mail it to you in digitized format. Thus; Microfilm set M1109, a set of correspondence on the development of the Atomic Bomb, would cost $625. Other rolls on the Bomb would be $1,700+.

This is actually pretty cheap. I've looked at several options for buying my own microfilm scanner; and the one with the ideal features I want (compact, automatic scan of a roll); costs well in the region of $9,000ish.

Other places are much pricier concerning their microfilms.

Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington D.C. Navy Yard – Miscellaneous

Guide to the Naval History and Heritage Command
U.S. Navy Department Library - Interesting Items

Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington D.C. Navy Yard – Aviation Branch

Aircraft Collection (Orange Label) Finding Aid
Missile, Drone, and Rocket Collection (Pink/Green Label) Finding Aid
World War I Collection (Orange/Blue Label) Finding Aid
World War II Collection (Long Yellow/Yellow) Finding Aid
Subject File Collection (Pink/Orange Label) Finding Aid
NAVAIR Collection Finding Aid
NACA Collection Finding Aid
NC-4 Collection (Purple/Purple Label) Finding Aid
Carrier Collection (Green/Purple) Finding Aid
Standard Aircraft Characteristics Finding Aid
Studies Collection (Orange/Purple) Finding Aid
Boards, Committees and Hearings Collection (Green/Orange) Finding Aid
Insignia Collection (Blue/Blue) Finding Aid
Insignia Plaque Collection (Blue/Blue/Orange) Finding Aid

Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington D.C. Navy Yard – Photographic Branch

Photo Index (USN Series)
Photo Index (NH Series)
Photo Index (K Series)
Photo Index (KN Series)
Photo Index (80-G Series) (Also found at National Archives II)
Photo Index (DN-SC)
S-Series Index

National Archives II (College Park, MD)

NARA Microfilm Aid
Textural Research
The Spangenberger Archive - “Proposal” Files for Airplanes, Helicopters and Missiles 1934-1961 – found in RG 72.
RG19: Miscellaneous Items
RG 19: Item S-11, Entry P16: Records Relating to a Proposed Multilateral Force (MLF) Surface Missile Warship, 1960-1964
RG 19: Item S-11, Entry P20: Records Relating to Motor Torpedo Boat Design Competition, 1938-1940
RG 19: Item S-11, Entry P21: Records Relating to the Design of a Nuclear Powered Seaplane Tender, 1945-1959
RG 19: Item S-24, Entry P3: Records Relating to Foreign Ships and Ordnance and U.S. Countermeasures, 1927-1948
RG 19: Item S-24, Entry P4: Records Relating to Underwater Explosions and Structural Integrity Testing, ca. 1920-1960
RG 19: Item S-70, Entry P22: Ship Characteristics Cards, ca. 1944-1956
RG 72: Design Studies and Proposals, compiled 1931 – ca. 1959
RG 255: NACA/NASA Alpha-Numeric Correspondence: 1942-1960 (2~ MB PDF Scan of Original)
RG 255: NACA/NASA Decimal Correspondence: 1929-1952 (2~ MB PDF Scan of Original)
RG-344: Item S-11, Entry P1: Ship Preliminary Design History and Data Files, ca. 1908-66 (AGSSN C3I)
RG-344: Item S-11, Entry P39: Ship Preliminary Design History and Data Files, ca. 1908-66 (Various Warships and Hydrofoils)
Still Photography
RG 80-G Box Index - Records of the Dept. of the Navy; General Photographic File (1900 -1958) (470 kb HTM)
RG 111-SC Box Index - Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Signal Corps
RG 342-B Index of Aircraft Photographs (Black and White)
RG 342-B Index of Missile Photographs (Color)
RG-342-B Index of Missile Photographs (Black and White)
RG-342-B Index of Astronautics Photographs (Color)
RG-342-B Index of Astronautics Photographs (Black and White)
RG 428-GX Index to General Photographic Files of the Department of the Navy 1958-1981