The George Mason Fund, through the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, has awarded the Hawaiian Historical Society a $25,000 challenge grant to be used to preserve the Society’s valuable library collections. The grant will be used to focus on preservation of the sixty-four different newspapers in the Society’s collection. These papers, which date from 1834 to around 1930, include the only known copies of Portuguese-language and some Hawaiian-English–language newspapers.
No major conservation efforts have been undertaken with these newspapers for at least twenty-five years, and many of them are starting to crumble due to acidification. The first focus will be the Portuguese-language newspapers. The goal of the project is to have a good microfilm copy for preservation; a good, searchable digital copy that is freely accessible; and the best possible preservation for the original papers.
The nine target newspapers were published in Hawai‘i from 1885 to 1927 and include one English and Portuguese newspaper and one English and Hawaiian newspaper. The surviving newspapers comprise 1,463 issues containing 5,852 pages.
Hawai‘i’s Portuguese-Language Press
The Portuguese newspapers in Hawai‘i were in general weekly publications, largely in Portuguese, though there were sometimes items in English. In addition, there were numerous advertisements, letters from readers, verse compositions describing events of the day, and special announcements. Selections from Portuguese literature were also published in some of the papers. The editors of these papers were representative leaders of the Portuguese community. Several editors also served on English-language papers.
The collection includes the following newspapers:
- O Luso Hawaiiano (four-page Honolulu weekly, Portuguese, some English). Merged with Aurora Hawaiiana to form Uniao Lusitana Hawaiiana. August 1885 to December 1890; 63 issues, 252 pages.
- Aurora Hawaiiana [Hawaiian Dawn] (four-page Honolulu weekly, Portuguese), the second Portuguese newspaper in the Islands. August 1889 to March 1891; 85 issues, 340 pages.
- A Uniao Lusitana Hawaiiana (four-page Honolulu weekly, Portuguese). March 1892 to February 1896; 199 issues, 796 pages.
- A Sentinella [Sentinel] (Honolulu weekly, Portuguese, some English). Ran from 1892 to 1896, but only three issues survive: April to September 1892; 12 pages.
- The Liberal/Ka Liberale (four-page, semi-weekly, English and Hawaiian). October 1892 to April 1893; 54 issues, 216 pages.
- O Luso (four-page Honolulu weekly, Portuguese and English). Formed by union of Uniao Lusitana and Sentinella. The longest-running Portuguese-language paper, with the largest circulation. February 1896 to October 1897: 83 issues, 332 pages; October 1910 to Jan. 1920: 894 issues, 3,576 pages.
- A Setta [Arrow] (Hilo weekly, Portuguese, some English). Ran from 1903 to 1921, but only six issues survive. 1905, 1906, 1908, 1920, 24 pages.
- O Popular (four-page Honolulu weekly, Portuguese, some English). July 1911 to January 1913; 75 issues, 300 pages.
- O Facho [The Torch] (four-page Hilo weekly, Portuguese). Ran from 1906 to 1927, but only one issue survives: February 2, 1927, 4 pages.
For more information about the history of the Portuguese-language newspapers in the Islands, see Edgar Knowlton’s article, “The Portuguese Language Press of Hawaii,” in Social Process in Hawaii, 24 (1960): 89-99. The text is available on line at http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle/10125/22969/Vol_24.pdf?sequence=1.