Historical Reference Branch

1 Head
3 Historians
1 Research Assistant


The Historical Reference Branch provides historical research and reference services for Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps University, Marine Corps units, other military organizations and government agencies, active duty Marines, and the general public. The branch is also responsible for several key programs and projects including the Unit Lineage and Honors Program, and the Commemorative Naming Program. Additionally, the branch serves as the division focal point for the research and preparation of numerous articles, brief histories, studies, and reports for use within the History Division, MCU, HQMC, and DOD.

In order to respond to the requests received, the branch has created and maintains a robust collection of working files, which are broken into four distinct groups.  The Biographical files are on prominent, famous and infamous Marines including general officers, Medal of Honor recipients and former Marines of prominence (movie stars, etc).​  The Subject files contain topical files from Abbreviation to Women Marines, including battles/wars, families, Headquarters Marine Corps and much more.  The Unit files were initially created to support the Lineage and Honors Program and have grown to include many former units of the past and new units in the present.  Lastly, the Photograph files were created to support the writers and publishing​ efforts and mirror the subject/unit/biographical files.

Our files are in continual use by branch historians and therefore are non-circulating.  They may only be used within the branch's researcher room.


  • The Historical Reference Branch answers many thousands of written, telephone, and in-person requests each year. The historians are available to answer questions or direct researchers to appropriate holdings. The branch maintains a large body of secondary and copies of primary historical sources collected over many decades to answer the questions received.  Visiting researchers are welcome to review materials in the branch's Researcher Room.  Please note that staff limitations preclude this office from conducting extensive research or doing extensive copying for individuals.


    STAFF ASSISTANCE: The Historical Reference Branch staff is available BY APPOINTMENT ONLY to explain the various holdings of the branch and assist in making the desired materials available in the branch's Researcher Room. The staff will also direct researchers to appropriate records and other related holdings and agencies.  To make an appointment, please call 703-432-4874 or email

    COPYING: All materials for copying must be reviewed by a member of the Historical Reference Branch. 

    HOURS: Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 7:30 am - 4:00 pm.  The office is closed on Wednesdays.

    Please Review the Following Information Regarding Conducting In-Person Research.


    WRITTEN REQUESTS: Researchers may write to the Historical Reference Branch with requests for historical information. The address is:  

    Marine Corps History Division
    Attn: Historical Reference Branch
    2044 Broadway St.
    Quantico, Virginia 22134


    Please note that staff limitations preclude this office from conducting extensive research or doing extensive copying for individuals.

    TELEPHONE REQUESTS: The Historical Reference Branch will respond to telephone requests if information is readily available. The telephone number is: 703-432-4874.

Marine Corps University