Military Records

U.S. Navy Ships - Index

How to Order 

Early Ships

Modern Ships

No original artworks are included in this collection. This Select List describes photographs and photographs of artworks or models of ships that depict types of ships used by the Navy from the Revolutionary War period to December 7, 1941, before America's entry into the Second World War.

Ships commissioned before the use of steel for ship construction was begun in 1883 are listed under Early Ships subdivided by method of propulsion, and listed thereunder chronologically by date of commissioning. Each entry gives:

  • ship's name
  • a previous or later name, if applicable
  • date of commissioning
  • description of the ship
  • view perspective
  • information about the original sketch, model, or painting when known
  • picture identification number

Ships commissioned after 1883 are listed under Modern Ships and are subdivided by general class, such as auxiliary or destroyer, and thereunder chronologically. Each entry gives:

  • ship's name and designator (or designator when there is no name)
  • ship type, where applicable
  • photographic perspective and other information, where applicable
  • date of the original photograph
  • picture identification number

Please note: This information is based on leaflet Pictures of United States Navy ships, 1775-1941. Published by the National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1974. 14 pages. This web version differs in content from the printed version. The printed version also contains fewer illustrations.

For photographs of Navy ships not listed in this publication: To find more ships, or more information about those listed here, search the National Archives Catalog. To inquire about photographs of other ships, please see Ordering Information. [Order by Select List number. Example: Navy Ships 25.]

How to Order Individual Photographs

For information on ordering individual images from this select list or other individual prints, negatives, or slides from our holdings, see Ordering Still Picture Reproductions or contact the Still Picture Reference Team, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-Stills), Room 5360, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. Telephone 301-837-0561. Facsimile: 301-837-3621. E-mail: