Hawaii’s First Facebook: “Local Brevities” in the 1884 Pacific Commercial Advertiser now archived online


Hawaii’s First Facebook:  “Local Brevities” in the 1884 Pacific Commercial Advertiser now archived online

University of Hawai’i at Mānoa


Martha Chantiny, Co-Investigator  mchantiny@hawaii.edu

Jennifer Beamer, Project Manager  jbeamer@hawaii.edu


The UH Library is pleased to announce new additions to the open-access archive of 19th and early 20th century English language newspapers published in Hawaii,  offering a glimpse into the lives of Hawaii residents more than a century ago.

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser (PCA), first published in 1856, began as a bilingual weekly with a Hawaiian section Ka Hoku Loa O Hawaii (The Morning Star of Hawaii) that ran for five years. The PCA became a daily in 1882, and eventually merged with the Honolulu Advertiser in 1921.

The PCA is the latest newspaper to be covered by the “Hawai’i Digital Newspaper Project”, [http://hdnp.hawaii.edu] which has digitized over 200,000 English-language newspaper pages.

Of particular interest is the PCA’s “Local Brevities” column. From 1884, it chronicled the comings and goings, life events, deaths, and even musings of people living in Hawai’i — a feed of information that was essentially Hawaii’s first Facebook!

There are notices about locals’ health and tidings, want ads and sales, as well as names and activities of guests who had arrived in town. The notices are quite detailed – dates, places, times — and occasionally contain little jokes and bon mots.  People with long-established roots in Hawai’i may even discover a relative.

PCA_Aug31_1905 PCA_Aug2_1905 PCA_April3_1894 PCA_April2_1884 PCA_Sep30_1897

On the open-access Chronicling America website [http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov], users can browse and search this and other digitized American newspapers and read essays about them.

For more information:

Chronicling America


UH Manoa Library’s Guide to Chronicling America


Hawai’i Digital Newspaper Project



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