Document Type


Publication Date



We argue that the inclusion of naval science as a standalone class in the Library of Congress's 1904 classification scheme resulted from the convergence of several historical trends, including the changing organization of knowledge, imperialist expansion, and the profit-seeking of the publishing industry. At the intersection of these trends stands a single book: Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power upon History, published in 1890. By laying out the multiple influences that served to create a single problematic class in a popular classification scheme, we hope to provide a framework to better understand the origins of such systems.