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Craig Symonds
Born December 19, 1946
Long Beach, California

Craig Lee Symonds (born 31 December 1946, in Long Beach, California) is a retired professor and chairman of the history department at the United States Naval Academy. He is a distinguished historian of the American Civil War.

Early life and education[]

The son of Lee and Virginia Symonds, Craig Symonds attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967. Going on to graduate work, he obtained his M.A. in history at the University of Florida in 1969 with a thesis on "The defense of the southwestern frontier, 1784-1794: a study in governmental relations." He married Marylou Hayden on 17 January 1969 and the couple had one son. In 1971, Symonds joined the United States Naval Reserve, serving for three years until 1974 and raising to the grade of Lieutenant. While in the Navy, he served on the staff and faculty of the Naval War College. On his release from active duty, he returned to his graduate studies in history at the University of Florida, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1976 under the tutelage of Professor John K. Mahon with a dissertation on "Navalists and antinavalists: the naval policy debate in the United States, 1785-1827."

Academic career[]

In 1976, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland appointed Symonds assistant professor of history to succeed Professor E. B. Potter as a specialist in Naval history. He was subsequently promoted to associate professor in 1980 and professor of history in 1985. He served as chairman of the history department in 1988-1992 and appointed professor emeritus on his retirement in 2005.[1][2] In 1994-1995, he was visiting lecturer at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England.


  • 1995 John Lyman Book Awards, for The Naval Institute Historical Atlas of the U.S. Navy,
  • 1999 John Lyman Book Awards, for Confederate Admiral: The Life and Wars of Franklin Buchanan.
  • 2009 John Lyman Book Awards, for Lincoln and His Admirals.
  • S.A. Cunningham Award, 1997, for Stonewall of the West: Patrick Cleburne and the Civil War.
  • Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize in Naval History, 2006, for Decision at Sea.
  • Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award.
  • Benjamin Barondess Award of the Civil War Roundtable of New York, 2009, for Lincoln and His Admirals.
  • Lincoln Prize, co-winner 2009, for Lincoln and His Admirals.[3]

Published works[]


External links[]