Types of Work
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History Division
Quantico, Virginia

To find our entire catalog and stay up to date on the most recent publications, please go to the History Division's Publications page, which you can find here

Since the division was founded in 1919, its writers have been recording history that is applicable to Marines but appeals to other Federal agencies, scholars, and a general audience. The office produces a variety of publications of varying length in the fulfillment of its mission. These fall into three categories traditionally:



Historical Studies

The first are historical studies that reflect discussions occurring inside the Marine Corps and inform those responsible for making decisions that will shape the future of the service. These works can be three types:

Battle Studies: Short case studies of single battles or campaigns involving the Marine Corps. Their length can range from 15,000 to 40,000 words.

Reference Pamphlets: Concise narratives on narrow topics in the recent past, these are intended to keep Marines informed and to provide answers to the public. Authors generally have been Marine officers. Pamphlet length can range from 12,000 to 20,000 words.

Occasional Papers: Any product that is considered of intrinsic worth to the study of Marine Corps history but is not intended for mass publication. Design work is minimal and print runs are small. They can range from 10,000 to 190,000 words. 




The second are works that commemorate important events in Marine Corps history. They are derivative works written for a popular audience and are of one type:

Commemoratives: These short books (15,000-50,000 words) serve as History Division’s main contribution to Department of Defense efforts to commemorate major wars, in particular World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.  They focus on a specific campaign, operation, or theme of significance to the overall war effort.

Official Histories

The third category is official histories of the major wars that the Marine Corps has fought. In the production of these official histories, the office has followed an identifiable pattern for the last forty years:  

Anthologies: These are the first stage of official history and intended as an interim reference until there has been sufficient historical distance from the event. They are a compilation of articles, interviews, after-action reports, and other sources related to the study of a major topic in Marine Corps history. Primary material from the History Division’s Reference and Oral History Branches are also often included. They range from 70,000-160,000 words.

Monographs: These are the first draft of an official history and are the most common History Division publication. They are book-length studies of campaigns and operations of considerable duration (6-12 months) and can range from 15,000 to 150,000 words. The division also produces thematic monographs on topics such as African-Americans in the Marine Corps and women in the Marine Corps. 

Definitive Histories: These are the most comprehensive and highly detailed accounts of all aspects of Marine Corps operations during a major conflict that the History Division produces. They are the final stage in the process of producing official history, and use information from the anthologies and monographs. They draw on all available sources, from archives, oral histories, and secondary works. Definitive histories are usually divided into multiple volumes of 110,000 to 600,000 words each. 

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