The collection includes files of more than sixty-four newspapers published in Hawai‘i, in the English, Hawaiian, and Portuguese languages. The holdings date from 1834 to the 1930s and include original and microfilm copies. These newspapers carried shipping news, reports of volcanic eruptions, Hawaiian government reports, and Hawaiian genealogies and chants, as well as political, economic, and social news. Few of these newspapers are indexed.

Published and unpublished guides to the collection are available. Newspaper directories include: “Newspapers Published in Hawaii, Survey of the Holdings of the Hawaiian Historical Society,” unpublished library guide, 1953; Hawaii Newspapers and Periodicals on Microfilm, A Union List of Holdings in Libraries of Honolulu, compiled by Hawaii State Archives, Hawaii Library Assn., 1977; Hawaiian Newspapers, by Esther K. Mookini, Topgallant Pub., 1974; Hawaii Newspapers, A Union List, prepared by Hawaii Newspaper Project, 1987. This list is a print-out of bibliographic records entered in OCLC.

In 2000, the Society published a complete reference to Hawai’i’s newspapers up to that point: Helen G. Chapin, Guide to Newspapers of Hawai’i, 1834–2000. An on-line version of Chapin’s data is available at

Newspaper indexes include: Index to marriages and Index to birth notices published in Hawai‘i’s newspapers 1850–1950, and index to obituaries published in Hawai‘i’s newspapers, 1836–1950, on microfilm. Selected articles in The Friend are cataloged in the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society card catalog. Published newspaper indexes include Index to the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 1929– , Hawaii State Public Library System. This index is available in print form for 1929 to 1994 and on the Hawaii State Public Library on-line public access catalog for 1929 to 1969 and 1989 to present (two separate databases). Other indexes include The Index to the Maui News 1900–1973, Maui Historical Society, 1985; The Garden Island Index 1971–1980, Kauai Library Assn., 1987; and Hawaii Observer Index 1973–1978, Leeward Community College Library, 1978.

A review of the editorial viewpoints of Hawai‘i’s nineteenth-century newspapers is contained in “Newspapers of Hawai‘i 1834 to 1903: From He Liona to the Pacific Cable,” by Helen G. Chapin, in The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 18, 1984 (available on line here).