Hale Waihona – He Waihona ‘Ike / Collection Repositories – Collections of Knowledge

An ancient Hawaiian mele (chant) from the Pele family ends with the lines “O ‘imi‘imi, o nalowale, o loa‘a la e!” (Seek that which has been lost, and it will be found!) (Ho‘ohila Kawelo Collection).  I like to think that the kūpuna of old had a vision of the future, recognizing that while things would change, a generation would arise that would seek out those things thought lost.

Hawaii researchers at Library of Congress map collection

Library of Congress map collection where a group of Hawai’i researchers explored the Hawaiian Collection.

Without the foresight and commitment of people who organized and formed repositories of the mind and of documents,  those things “lost” may never be found. For the last 42 years we’ve been haunting collections seeking information on the traditions of place, and learning about the relationship shared between people and their living environment. The collections range from small family repositories to historical societies, public and agency archives, and national institutions, and are as far apart as Lāna‘i to Hilo, Honolulu, Denver or Boston.

Houghton Library, Harvard: Digital Scanner

The Houghton Library, Harvard, where we learned about the ability of scanning Hawaiian records to digital format, enabling us to bring valuable historical records back home since written as early as 1820.

One of the amazing discoveries is that regardless of how many resources may be found in any given collection, there is always more to be found elsewhere.  For example, a review of kingdom surveyor field books at the State Survey Division, leads one to associated but detached communications housed in the State Archives, and from there, one finds leads to the old U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Branch collections in Silver Spring Maryland.  Each repository has discrete documentation, which, when pulled together provides us with a more complete understanding of the past.  This is also one reason why digitizing collections is very important.  For various reasons, one cannot always touch the paper.  But scanning collections and sharing them helps to bring valuable information to all people (it also reduces the stress on rare resources by minimizing handling), and the better informed we are of our history, the better prepared we can be to be responsible stewards of the inheritance that we leave to the future.

Un-catalog land & genealogy records on Maui

Un-cataloged collection of land records and genealogies (land title) on the island of Maui.

Much as the preeminent native Hawaiian historian, Ioane Papa Ii wrote in his paper series published in the 1860s, the fragments of history are indeed scattered far and wide (“Na Hunahuna no ka Moolelo Hawaii”), but from the fragments clearer stories of our history may be found.  Then add to the research in collections, the oral histories of elder kama‘āina and it will be seen that fragments of traditional knowledge still lives in practice.  On top of that one will find that being on the land for which records of archival collections and memories of elder kama‘āina are found, brings a history and legacy of knowledge back to the present day.

Mahalo to those who have worked to collect the notes, photos, maps, journals, receipts, and every small or large record from the past. Everything has value to someone, and through the records recorded by those who came before us, we are able to understand how we came to where we are, and have greater appreciation for the importance of Hawai‘i.

By Kepā Maly

Repository Spotlight: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center

Photo credit: taken from NOAA web site

What do you think of when someone says NOAA? In Hawaii, we may think ‘oooh, marine biology!’ because of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in our (watery) back yard. Most people not as enlightened as us would ask ‘How’s the weather?’ This would have been me until Tuesday 28 July, 2015, when AHA sponsored a site tour for its members. There is so much more to NOAA.

NOAA is composed of six departments, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; National Ocean Service; National Weather Service; Office of Marine and Aviation Operation; and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

Ani Turner, Patty Miller, and Wende Goo

Until very recently, the Hawaii components of these offices were scattered across the islands. By April 2014 all had been consolidated into the purpose built NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center based out on Ford Island. When we had gathered in the stunning atrium of the new center, our host, Librarian Ani Turner, introduced us to Wende Goo, communications director and public affairs, who gave us some background on Ford Island and the new center.

Mokuʻumeʻume was renamed Ford Island in the late 1800 for the island’s then owner, Dr. Seth Porter Ford. In 1916 it was sold to US Army for use as an air strip and for naval operations. In 1964 it was designated a National Historic Landmark for its witness to the start of World War II.

The photo at the top shows how two of the original airplane hangars were renovated and connected by new construction. Hangar facades and some features were historically preserved and house the research labs and offices. The new central atrium contains public areas, including the library and tsunami learning center which we visited later.

The building is LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) gold certified. One of the ‘coolest’ things about it is its solar powered passive cooling system where air is blown over cold deep-sea water to cool building. Quite a feat in a more than 40 foot high glass box! Wende said it cost $335,000.00 to construct the building and it is projected to save $50,000 a year in our tax payer dollars in operating costs.

After this introduction, Patty Miller, Outreach Coordinator, demonstrated Science on a Sphere (SOS) developed by NOAA as an outreach tool for their educational program.

3SOS is a six foot diameter globe animated by computers and video projectors that can demonstrate an astounding array of information. Patty started us off with what you would expect, animated data of last week’s weather, showing cloud movement and current patterns. She then showed us wave amplitude and tracking of actual tsunamis, including the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.

But SOS can do so much more! She demonstrated tracking animal populations and their movements, the changing polar ice caps over the decades (the shrinkage is very scary), night lights over the globe (America has a LOT) and even airplane routes. We were a pretty good audience, as appreciative and enthusiastic as kids about the amazing things she showed us.

4Ani then took us to the brand new library for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. It took 8 years to plan the 5,700 square foot space and the library is a little gem. You enter from the main atrium through a glass door in the center of floor to ceiling glass walls. The counters and shelving in the reading area are made from Hawaiʻi Island ohiʻa wood and the seating area furnished with comfortable chairs.

This is all Ani’s doing. She has been the sole librarian for 14 years, caring for the collection and the taking care of the needs of the staff as well as the public.

NOAA has a network of about 20 libraries across the nation, most geared to the specific needs of their professional staff. This particular library focuses on Pacific marine sciences and fisheries. Because the scientists need to keep up with current research, the collection leans more towards scientific journals and articles than books.

5Ani purchases based on staff requests and staff can borrow this material for as long as they need it. Those collections not currently in use are housed on shelves behind the reading area. She has a small climate controlled room for rare books and those that are in fragile condition.

Like most of us, she is trying to digitize the collection as time and resources allow. The question came up about what can be made public and what should not be. As an example, she has cruise reports- all correspondence and documentation as well as research results- dating back to 1949. The actual reports have been digitized and are on the web. Associated materials like memos and other correspondence are not. Hmmm…. A Collections Quandary! Perhaps there will be more discussion on this at the February 13, 2016 annual meeting- join us and see!

The question was asked about public access. Ani explained that as a federal institution, the collection is free and open to the public. NOAA maintains an on-line public catalogue of all their holdings. However, because of the high level of science carried out here, most of it is too arcane for your typical high school science project.

6We then, reluctantly, had to leave the library to go up the glass fronted elevator (my favorite kind) to the third floor where the Tsunami Information Center is located. Terry Fukuji explained that they work with, but are separate from the Pacific Tsunami Center. The Tsunami Information Center focuses on outreach and training locally as well as nationally and internationally. Like the library, they had many pamphlets, maps and handouts that we were welcome to take. This library was mandated in 1965 and currently has five staff members plus a vacant office manager position.

They are also free and open to the public and while you can’t check out these materials, you are 7free to do on-site research as much as you like. This is a main stop for school group tours and one of the ‘funnest’ displays was an acrylic diorama with ACTUAL WATER where you could push down on a plunger to simulate tsunami wave action. One of our members created a wave big enough to knock down the plants at the top!

8Our tour was completed by Chad Yoshinaga who told us more about the research side of NOAA. Chad has 22 years on the job as a Fisheries biologist. He gets to go out on the ships to gather science data that the resource managers will then use to determine national policies and procedures. One of the services they perform is to help injured animals, like monk seals that take hooks in their mouths or turtles tangled up in trash and fishing debris. Takeaway lesson: Let them know immediately if you see an injured animal and don’t try to help it. They have specific tools and procedures they use to track and capture the animals that we can easily mess up by ‘helping!’

He took us outside the building to see from afar two of the research vessels that were currently in port and the animal care facility. Interesting to note that the deep sea well that provides water to cool the building also fills the tanks in the animal care facility.

The Inouye Regional Center is an amazing place with even more impressive people working in it doing phenomenal research. If you have a chance, you should drop by or at least check out their web site.


By Linda Hee

Repository Spotlight: Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo

AHA is pleased to introduce you to another repository featured in the 5th Edition of the Directory of Historical Records Repositories in Hawai’i.  This month’s pick is the Pacific Tsunami Museum Archives.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum is located on the corner of Kamehameha Ave. and Kalakaua St in downtown Hilo.  The building, built by First Hawaiian Bank in 1930, was designed by the late C.W. Dickey, Hawaiꞌi’s most prominent architect of the early 20th century.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum is located on the corner of Kamehameha Ave. and Kalakaua St in downtown Hilo. The building, built for First Hawaiian Bank in 1930, was designed by the late C.W. Dickey, Hawaiꞌi’s most prominent architect of the early 20th century.

Hawai’i has a long history with tsunamis, which remain an ever-present threat to the islands.  The Pacific Tsunami Museum (PTM) is a community-based, non-profit organization that provides tsunami education programs to residents and visitors to the State.  The PTM Archives houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of tsunami photographs, maps, oral histories, scientific papers, documents, videos, and artifacts, many of which are on display within museum exhibits.  PTM archive materials are used in programming to promote tsunami understanding.  The Museum shares the stories of communities that have risen up after tragedy and survivor voices that impart a warning for others with lessons learned.

Caption:   The book Hawai’i Tsunamis includes images and survivor stories primarily from the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis, but also includes the 1950’s, 1975, 2010, 2011, and 2012 tsunamis.  Some of the images in the book are seen in print for the first time, from collections recently acquired.  Men running from the huge third wave in downtown Hilo in 1946. PTM Yasuki Arakaki Collection. Cecilio Licos, photographer.

“Hawai’i Tsunamis” in the newest book produced by the PTM and includes images and survivor stories from several tsunami events; some of the images in the book are seen in print for the first time.


The Archives has an extensive collection of historic images, which include photographs depicting the aftermath of tsunamis and advancing tsunami waves and historic images of Hawai’i, particularly of Hilo town.  Exciting new photograph collections in the archive include aerial photographs taken after the 1946 tsunami and also high resolution color images taken after the 1960 tsunami.  Some of the new images were recently published in the book Hawai’i Tsunamis, authored by PTM Archivist/Curator, Barbara Muffler.

“My dad says that if we are going to die, we hold each other hands so they can find everybody together.”  – Bertram Kinoshita

Perhaps the most important collection is the oral histories, emulating a “living archive”.  The oral history collection includes over 600 first-hand accounts, from tsunami survivors and witnesses, in video and written format.

“Faces began to appear at the windows of buildings damaged so heavily that any life in them seemed impossible.”  -A.E.P. Wall

Kazu Murakami, 15-years old at the time, had been washed out to sea at Laupahoehoe during the 1946 tsunami.  He drifted overnight and was rescued the next day by David Cook and brought aboard the Naval ship LST 731.

Kazu had been washed out to sea at Laupahoehoe during the 1946 tsunami. He drifted overnight and was rescued the next day by Naval ship LST 731. Photo from PTM Archives.

One of my favorite stories starts with a photograph (right) donated to the archive that showed a man hanging on the side of a Naval ship rescuing a boy that had been washed out to sea during the 1946 tsunami.  The identity of the boy and the rescuer were unknown at the time… but then two random visits to the Museum within eight days of each other connected the families of both men to the photograph.  Years later, the PTM brought the men, David Cook and Kazu Murakami, together for a “surprise reunion” at the Museum and to share their amazing stories.  

Kazu was 15 years old at the time and had spent the day and night drifting at sea.  He was taken to the military hospital after his rescue; however, he was not identified by his family, even thought they had searched for him there, because his sunburned condition had made him unrecognizable.  When he was discharged, Kazu took a bus home where he found family members planning his funeral.

Tsunamis have played a significant role in determining where people live and work in the Hawaiian Islands.  With hundreds of lives lost and extensive damages, the Big Island areas of Hilo and Laupahoehoe have been heavily impacted by tsunami events; but the disasters also brought countless stories of survival and heroism.  Out of these tragedies, families relocated into new homes, beautiful open spaces and parks were developed in waterfront areas, and the warning system improved to allow more assurances to the community during future events.  The PTM stands as a living memorial to those who lost their lives in past tsunamis and those that reshaped their communities out of these tragedies.

“The city’s spirit was one of rebuilding, with greater safety precautions than ever before, confident that out of the rubble would come a more beautiful and more productive community.” -A.E.P. Wall

If you have any questions about the Archive, please contact the PTM Archivist at (808) 935-0926 or email at tsunami@tsunami.org.

Jill Sommer


Repository Spotlight: Brigham Young University Hawaiʻi Archives

Lāʻie, Oʻahu. Photo Courtesy of Envision Lāʻie.

Lāʻie, Oʻahu. Photo Courtesy of Envision Lāʻie.

Tucked away on the far, east side of ‘Oahu is the beautiful community of Lāʻie. It is historically known as the birthplace of the shaka sign, the site of Waiapuka pool, a sanctuary for the mythical Lāʻieikawai, and for its community Hukilau, now commemorated by the naming of Hukilau Beach as well as a 1948 Hawaiian medley. It is probably most famously known for its visitors attraction The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and famed for its authentic Polynesian entertainment. The church established itself in Lāʻie in 1865 and has become one of the key figures in documenting the community and surrounding Koʻolauloa area. They also established a robust acedemic resumé for Lāʻie attributed to the creation of Brigham Young University Hawaii in 1954 (originally Church College of Hawaiʻi).

1959 Lāʻie Hukilau mens troupe. L-R: John Quereto, Alan Barcarse, Ronald Wong, Brian Hollis, Ishmael Stagner, Pitone Ioane. Photo courtesy Joseph S. Smith Library Archives & Special Collections.

1959 Lāʻie Hukilau mens troupe. L-R: John Quereto, Alan Barcarse, Ronald Wong, Brian Hollis, Ishmael Stagner, Pitone Ioane. Photo courtesy Joseph S. Smith Library Archives & Special Collections.

These are, by all means, some of the most common elements of Lāʻie. However, there is a more obscure, lesser known fact about the small community worth mentioning. Lāʻie played an extremely important role in the preservation of Hawaiian dance or Hula. This was due to its rural location far from the enforcement of public restrictions and also to a community of resilient families who valued and perpetuated hula traditions. Hula can still be seen today in the community’s frequent celebrations and gatherings. And the PCC, which is a fairly modern creation (1963), really owes its success to the community’s preservation of hula, as it truly grew out of that effort.

As you can see, Lāʻie has a very rich and vibrant history. It is truly inspiring and exciting to know that some of that history now lives in the BYU-Hawaiʻi Archives.

Researching in the Reading Room of the BYUH Archives. Photo courtesy Hula Preservation Society.

Researching in the Reading Room of the BYUH Archives. Photo courtesy Hula Preservation Society.

The Archives are located on the grounds of the Brigham Young University Hawaiʻi campus, on the second floor of the Joseph S. Smith Library. A small, quaint office hosts student interns and staff who assist the Archives with research inquires, digitizing, and cataloging. Next to the work office, is a reading room with a large viewing table and a computer capable of searching the Archives’ catalog.

The primary collecting area of the Archives includes the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii and Oceania. Their secondary collecting areas includes Hawaiian history and culture, the history and culture of Oceania, and the history of the Koʻolauloa moku of the island of Oʻahu. The majority of the materials themselves are corporate records and contributed by Church College of Hawaii (now BYU-Hawaii), the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Lāʻie Hawaiʻi Temple, the Hawaiian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Lāʻie Sugar Plantation. Other materials were received as donations over the years from families and individuals of photograph collections, journals, diaries, personal papers, physical artifacts, and audiovisual material.

Materials in the BYUH Archive. Photo courtesy of BYUH Newsroom.

Materials in the BYUH Archive. Photo courtesy of BYUH Newsroom.

Currently, the Archives has a small, but amazing online resource at its Archives and Special Collections webpage (https://library.byuh.edu/library/archives). A dozen collections are available for viewing with materials ranging from plantation photographs to oral history collections with audio interviews in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, audio interviews with Koʻolauloa residents, and memoirs of church members.

Archives & Special Collections Webpage.

Archives & Special Collections Webpage.

Koʻolau Railroad in Lāʻie carrying sugar cane, circa 1906-1946. Photo courtesy Joseph S. Smith Archives & Special Collections.

Koʻolau Railroad in Lāʻie carrying sugar cane, circa 1906-1946. Photo courtesy Joseph S. Smith Archives & Special Collections.

Matt Kester, current head Archivist of the BYU-Hawaii Archives, holds much of the repository’s materials in high esteem stating,

“We have many collections that are dear to our heart. However, the James McGuire collection of Native Hawaiian art and artifacts is exceptional, as is the Alice Namakelua Collection, the Douglas DeSure collection of scrimshaw, and our collection of original diaries from missionaries in Hawaiʻi”.

Auntie Alice Namakelua demonstrates kīhoalu, 1980. Photo courtesy Hula Preservation Society, Nā Mākua Mahalo ʻIa Collection.

Auntie Alice Namakelua demonstrates kīhoalu, 1980. Photo courtesy Hula Preservation Society, Nā Mākua Mahalo ʻIa Collection.

The Archives occasionally hosts events to highlight some of their collection materials. They have recently co-hosted two public presentations highlighting rare footage from the 1980’s Nā Mākua Mahalo ʻIa award series, which recognized prominent hula and musical greats of the 20th century. They currently have an exhibit on display in the Joseph S. Smith Library with items from the Alice Namakelua Collection. Auntie Alice was a well known and highly respected Hawaiian composer, famed as the foremost expert on Kīhoalu, Hawaiian slack-key guitar. She also worked for the City & County Parks & Recreation Program for many decades, teaching hula, language, and music. The exhibit will be on display until December 2015.

The Archives at BYU-Hawaiʻi has various ongoing projects including an effort to digitize the Kahuku Sugar Plantation Newsletter entitled “The Kahukuan”. They are also working with graduate students in Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi to remaster and index the audio files and transcripts of the Clinton Kanahele Oral History collection, which a portion of is available online at their Archives & Special Collections website (previously mentioned). The future also looks bright and busy with a planned project to implement a comprehensive digital database of 46,000 photographic images.

So, The Archives at BYU-Hawaiʻi are filled with treasures of information and history. With all this valuable material and the effort to preserve it, you might be asking the most common question the repository gets, “Are you open to the public?” And always with a chuckle Matt replies,

“Of course! We welcome all researchers, students & community members! For those who are looking to research a specific subject but are not sure if we have a specific item, either myself or our student staff are available and happy to assist.”

The Archives is open to the public Mon-Th 7am-12pm, Fri. 7am-8pm, & Sat. 9am-9pm

Keau George is the Collections Manager at the Hula Preservation Society and is on the Board of the Association of Hawaiʻi Archivists. Keau.hps@gmail.com.

Repository Spotlight: Scottish Rite Cathedral & Masonic Public Library

On March 28th AHA members toured the Masonic Public Library and the Scottish Rite Cathedral, an imposing building many of us have probably wondered about on the corner of Kewalo Street and Wilder Avenue in Makiki. There was a lot of interest with nearly all 30 slots on the tour filling quickly.


Pete Holsomback began the tour with a brief history of the masons in Hawaii

Host Pete Holsomback led us on a great tour and answered our many questions about the masons and the library. Some of the answers, for those who missed the tour: the Scottish Rite has nothing to do with Scotland; the masons are not a Christian organization, but they commemorate events including The Last Supper; Shriner’s reflect the fun side of the masons; the second Shriner’s hospital was built right here in Honolulu in 1926; they don’t admit women, but there are affiliated groups for women such as Daughters of the Nile.


Stage in the ceremonial hall

Hawaii’s first masonic lodge was established in 1843. The Scottish Rite was founded in Honolulu in 1874 by King Kalakaua’s brother-in-law, John Owen Dominis. The photographs depicting high ranking masons in the dining area represent some of the most prominent men in Hawaii’s history, dating back to the Scottish Rite’s founding. Today they have around 800 members, with about 450 on island; in the past they had as many as 1800 members. This is one of three Scottish Rite buildings in Hawaii; the other two are on Maui and in Hilo. The building we toured was built in 1922 and features a welcoming entrance area, large dining room and library, with a grand ceremonial hall spanning the second floor.


Ceremonial items and memorabilia are displayed in cases along the wall of the library

masonic library

The Masonic Public Library collection focuses on books on masonry and Hawaiian history

The library was established and endowed in 1974 by Harold Winfield Kent, former President of Kamehameha Schools. There are significant holdings of books on masonry and early books on Hawaiian history. The library is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. They don’t have a dedicated library staff, so Jaime who graciously helped with our tour, assists patrons in the library in addition to her responsibilities overseeing the organization’s preschool program for children with language needs.

Mahalo to Stuart Ching for help arranging this tour and to the AHA Site Visits Committee for publicity and coordination. We are grateful for the opportunity to visit this historic building and its library!

Photos courtesy of AHA Board Members.

Repository Spotlight: Lahaina Restoration Foundation

Happy New Year!

This month, our featured repository is the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.  Founded in West Maui in 1962, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, preservation and interpretation of Lahaina’s physical and cultural legacy.  It manages several important historic sites on Maui including:

  • Baldwin Home Museum – the oldest house still standing on Maui, built by missionary Reverend Ephraim Spaulding
  • Hale Pa‘i Printing Museum – the home of the Ramage press used to print the first newspaper west of the Rockies
  • Lahaina Heritage Museum – the Old Courthouse turned exhibit space, offering a comprehensive, interactive look at the rich and varied history of Hawaii’s first capital
  • Pioneer Mill Smokestack & Locomotives Exhibit – a place for visitors to learn the history of the sugar industry in Lahaina
  • Wo Hing Museum – the home of the Wo Hing Society, highlighting the rich history of Lahaina’s earliest Chinese immigrants and their many contributions to the Maui community.

LRF also oversees the maintenance and operations of several other historic buildings, parks and walking trails throughout West Maui.  You can read more about these individual sites here:  http://lahainarestoration.org/historic-sites/

Lahaina Heritage Museum.  Photo courtesy of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

Lahaina Heritage Museum. Photo courtesy of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

According to their website, LRF maintains several collections of artifacts, photographs, manuscripts, maps, logs and other materials representative of Lahaina’s colorful past. These collections are available to the public and researchers by request.  They are also used in displays assembled by LRF Director of Museums & Events, Arrianna D’Orsay, who is responsible for cleaning, conserving and reorganizing their treasures, all according to archival standards.  The most recent LRF newsletter described some of the treasures that D’Orsay has unveiled including a camera from the 1890s that was used by the Baldwin Family to help document Lahaina.  Chinese wedding chests featuring handpainted scenes of life in China were also recently cleaned and conserved for the Wo Hing Museum.

Watercolor of Hale Pa‘i.  Photo courtesy of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

Watercolor of Hale Pa‘i. Photo courtesy of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

In addition to exhibits, the LRF hosts several events to bring the community together in celebration of their heritage.  One popular event is the annual ‘Lahaina Plantation Days’, a multi-day affair which looks back at fond memories of sugar and pineapple plantation life through lively displays, nostalgic games for kids, and cultural demonstrations.   Their most recent event paid tribute to the many jobs that were done on the plantation and featured a display of old Pioneer Mill Company newsletters, field equipment, anecdotes from workers’ families, and other intriguing objects from their collections.

Looking forward, D’Orsay says that they will focus on creating a climate controlled archive for their collections, and building a digital archival database.  The future looks bright for the Lahaina Restoration Foundation and we look forward to hearing more about their achievements.

If you’d like to read more about LRF and become a friend, you may do so here:  http://lahainarestoration.org/friendship/

Repository Spotlight: Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC) United States Province Archives

On November 15, Stuart Ching, Provincial Archivist for the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.) United States Province Archives, treated AHA members to a tour of the new archives facility at St. Patrick Monastery in Kaimukī.

Provincial Archivist Stuart Ching reads excerpts from a journal chronicling the activities of Sacred Hearts missionaries to Hawai`i.

Provincial Archivist Stuart Ching reads excerpts from a journal chronicling the activities of Sacred Hearts missionaries to Hawai`i.

The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, a Roman Catholic religious community, was founded in Poitiers, France, in 1800. After establishing schools and parishes throughout France, the male branch of the Congregation embarked on its first foreign mission to the Hawaiian Islands in 1827. Over the next hundred years, the Congregation established churches across the islands, including the Cathedral of Our Lady Peace in downtown Honolulu, Saint Joseph Church in Hilo, and Maria Lanakila Church in Lahaina.

The SS.CC. U.S. Province Archives was established in 2011, when the USA East Province and the Hawai‘i Province of the Congregation were combined. Because Hawai‘i was the older province, it was decided that the archives would be centralized here. In May 2014, the collections of the Hawai‘i Province Archives were moved from Kāne‘ohe to St. Patrick Monastery, where they were combined with boxes of records from the USA East Province. The St. Patrick archives facility, located in retrofitted monastery dormitories, features a climate-controlled processing area, reading room, and storage vault with compact shelving and custom-made light-blocking shades.

Boxes of records entering the provincial archives are frozen at -10 degrees Fahrenheit for three weeks to kill pests and their larvae.

Boxes of records entering the provincial archives are frozen at -10 degrees Fahrenheit for three weeks to kill pests and their larvae.

The collection, which dates from 1825, contains correspondence, photographs and photo albums, scrapbooks, publications, seminary records, journals, plans, chalices, memorabilia, and even relics. It includes material in Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, French, Latin, Italian, and Dutch. Among the collection highlights are carpentry tools, vestments, and other personal objects of Saint Damien De Veuster; journals of early Sacred Hearts missionaries; photographic images of Catholic churches and communities throughout Hawai‘i; early twentieth-century glass plate negatives documenting people and life at the Kalaupapa Settlement on Moloka‘i; and nineteenth-century Catholic Mission Press publications in the Hawaiian language.

Stuart shows us Saint Damien De Veuster’s walking stick, which was made from a guava branch.

Stuart shows us Saint Damien De Veuster’s walking stick, which was made from a guava branch.

The Sacred Hearts U.S. Province Archives is taking measured steps to preserve and access its historical collections. Its goal is to transform itself from a closed-off private repository to a valuable community resource. Scholars and members of the general public are welcome to view the collections by scheduling an appointment with the provincial archivist.