Dudley Wright Knox
Dudley Wright Knox
|Born||June 21, 1877|
Fort Walla Walla, Washington, U.S.
|Died||June 11, 1960 (aged 82)|
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
|Place of burial|
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1896–1946|
World War I
World War II
Legion of Merit
Commodore Dudley Wright Knox (21 June 1877 – 11 June 1960) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Spanish–American War and World War I. He was also a prominent naval historian, who for many years oversaw the Navy Department's historical office, now named the Naval History and Heritage Command.
During the Spanish–American War, he served aboard the screw steamer Maple, a tender, in Cuban waters. He commanded the gunboats Albay and Iris during the Philippine–American War and the latter during the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. He then commanded three of the Navy's first destroyers: Shubrick, Wilkes and Decatur before commanding the First Torpedo Flotilla. During the cruise of the "Great White Fleet," sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt, he was ordnance officer of battleship Nebraska (BB-14).
On May 18, 1908, while the Great White Fleet rested in San Francisco, California, he married Lily Hazard McCalla (1878–1965), the daughter of Rear Admiral Bowman H. McCalla. Lily's brother-in-law, Arthur MacArthur III, was Dudley's classmate at the Naval Academy. They had one son, Dudley Sargent Knox, (1909-1968).
He attended the Naval War College in 1912–13, and after graduation became the aide to Captain William Sims, commanding the Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla. In 1915, Knox became a leading figure in developing naval operational doctrine by publishing an influential article in the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. He was Fleet Ordnance Officer in both Atlantic and Pacific, served in the Office of Naval Intelligence, and commanded the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. In November 1917, he joined the staff of Admiral William Sims, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters, and earned the Navy Cross for "distinguished service" serving as Aide in the Planning Section, and later in the Historical Section. He was promoted to Captain on 1 February 1918.
After returning to the United States in March 1919, he served for a year on the faculty of the Naval War College, when he was a key figure on the Knox-King-Pye Board that examined professional military education. In 1920–21, he commanded the armored cruiser Brooklyn (ACR-3), then the protected cruiser Charleston (C-22) before resuming duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
In 1920, Knox first began his work as a naval publicist, serving as naval editor of the Army and Navy Journal until 1923. He became the naval correspondent of the Baltimore Sun from 1924 to 1946, and naval correspondent of the New York Herald Tribune in 1929. Transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 20 October 1921, he continued on active duty, simultaneously serving as Officer in Charge, Office of Naval Records and Library, and as Curator for the Navy Department. Knox played a key role in creating the Naval Historical Foundation. Early in World War II, he was assigned additional duty as Deputy Director of Naval History.
For a quarter of a century, his leadership inspired diligence, efficiency, and initiative while he guided, improved, and expanded the Navy's archival and historical operations.  His personal connections to President Roosevelt, Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, and other senior leaders in the Navy Department allowed him to play an instrumental role behind the scenes in the years leading up to and during World War II.
His writings included his first book The Eclipse of American Sea Power (1922) and A History of the United States Navy (1936), the latter recognized as "the best one-volume history of the United States Navy in existence." Through his personal connection with President Roosevelt, he was able to publish key, multi-volume collections of documents on naval operations in The Quasi-War with France in 1798–1800, the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War.
Advanced to Commodore on 2 November 1945, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious conduct" while directing the correlation and preservation of accurate records of the U.S. naval operations in World War II, thus protecting this vital information for posterity.
- Report and Recommendations of a Board Appointed by the Bureau of Navigation Regarding the Instruction and Training of Line Officers, by Dudley W. Knox, Ernest J. King, and William S. Pye. (1920)
- The Eclipse of American Sea Power (1922)
- The Naval Genius of George Washington with a foreword by Admiral Hilary P. Jones. (1932)
- Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War between the United States and France, 1798–1800 Seven volumes. Published under direction of the Secretary of the Navy. Prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library, Navy Department, under the supervision of Captain Dudley W. Knox, U.S. Navy (ret.), with an introduction by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (1935–1939)
- A History of the United States Navy, with an introduction by William L. Rodgers (1936); revised with a foreword by Chester W. Nimitz (1948, 2006)
- Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers Six volumes. Published under direction of the Secretary of the Navy. Prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library, Navy Department, under the supervision of Captain Dudley W. Knox, U.S. Navy (ret.). (1939–1944)
- Naval sketches of the war in California; reproducing twenty-eight drawings made in 1846–47, by William H. Meyers; descriptive text by Capt. Dudley W. Knox; introduction by Franklin D. Roosevelt (1939)
- Carte de la partie de la Virginie où l'armée combinée de France & des Etats-Unis de l'Amérique a fait prisonnière l'Armée anglaise, commandée par Lord Cornwallis le 19 octbre. 1781: avec le plan de l'attaque d'York-town & de Glocester, levée et dessinée sur les lieux par ordre des officiers genx. de l'Armée française & américaine / à Paris, ches Esnauts et Rapilly. (1945)
- Dudley Wright Knox: A Register of his Papers in the Library of Congress (1971)
Commodore Dudley Wright Knox's ribbon bar:
- Kohnen, David. Twenty-First Century Knox: Influence, Sea Power and History for the Modern Era. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 2016.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- "Births, Marriages, and Deaths". Army and Navy Register. 43 (1485): 18. May 30, 1908. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "Dudley Wright Knox". Naval History and Heritage Command. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "Knox (DE-1052) II". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- Knox, Dudley (1922). The Eclipse of American Sea Power. New York City: J.J. Little & Ives Co. p. 170. ISBN 978-1148983004.