In accordance with Marine Corps Order 5750.1H, the Histories Branch is responsible for recording the official institutional and operational history of the Marine Corps. Located in the Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons Marine Corps History Center on the Marine Corps University campus, the branch reports to the director of the History Division. It executes the director’s mission of preparing works that offer historical perspective and precedents to be used in decision making for policies, plans, doctrines, and techniques, and to support professional military education. Its historians are subject matter experts on the service’s history and prepare publications for distribution to the Marine Corps, the Department of Defense, other Federal agencies, and the general public. In service of this mission, the History Division and the writers in Histories Branch produce a variety of publications, including battle studies, monographs, and definitive histories. These works provide an objective and thorough account of the planning, operational, logistical, developmental, and administrative activities of a specific unit, event, or period, thus fostering esprit de corps and ensuring that the history of the Marine Corps is available for practical study.
The origins of what would become the Histories Branch dates to the months after World War I, when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels directed the Navy and Marine Corps to prepare institutional histories of their wartime experiences. On September 8, 1919, Major General Commandant George Barnett established the Historical Section, Adjutant and Inspector’s Department at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, in Washington, D.C. In the subsequent decades, the History Division made several organizational changes, creating the Histories Branch and its three sister branches within the division, as well as a number of moves, from the Navy Annex at Arlington, Virginia to the Washington Navy Yard and finally to Marine Corps Base Quantico. Throughout, the mission to preserve and promote Marine Corps history has remained.