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U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY,
JUNE 30, 1860.
ROBERT F. BONSALL, PRINTER.
SOON after the removal of the Naval School from Philadelphia to Annapolis, in 1845, it was deemed expedient to lay the foundation of a library which should, at some future time, be capable of supplying the literary and professional wants of the institution. With this view, Mr. Bancroft, then Secretary of the Navy, transferred to it a few hundred volumes of miscellaneous works, which had belonged to the libraries of our ships-of-war and navy-yards. Small additions were made to this collection between 1845 and 1851, when Congress voted a sum of $2000 for the increase and support of the Library, and this liberal grant has been made, yearly, down to the present time.
During this period, the Library has been undergoing a gradual process of formation, and it is now a valuable auxiliary to the system of education pursued at the Academy. In the selection of books, while care is taken to strengthen the several departments, it is designed to make the nautical collection so complete that the naval officer may be able to consult the best works on all subjects connected with his profession. The annual increase averages 750 volumes, and the Library now contains 8548 printed volumes and pamphlets, 25 manuscript volumes, 200 sheets of loose maps and charts, 12 photographs of light-houses, and 8 sheets of loose engravings.
The books are arranged in separate cases according to subjects, and their use is limited to persons attached to the Academy. Hitherto, an imperfect manuscript catalogue has been the sole index to the contents of the Library; but it has gradually attained such proportions that a printed catalogue became indispensable. At the request of the Superintendent, Captain G. S. Blake, the work of preparing it was undertaken by Mr. Thomas G. Forde, the Assistant Librarian. He has devoted to it, in addition to his ordinary duties, many hours which he could fairly claim as his own, and its satisfactory completion is due to the intelligent care which he has bestowed upon it.