Making Tapa

As ancient Polynesians, including the Hawaiians, didn’t have looms or weave fiber, they made tapa (kapa) for fabric.

Women pounded the fibrous bark of the paper mulberry into strips with their textured wooden mallets. They dyed the resulting fabric and decorated it with geometric figures. Tapa was used to produce clothes, bags, and bed coverings.

Read more about it in “Making Clothes from Trees.”

Want to learn more about how you can use Hawaii’s Historical Newspapers?

Would you like us to come talk to your group or class?

The Hawaii Digital Newspaper Project delivers presentations at classrooms, groups meetings, libraries, and academic conferences.

The project educates the public about Chronicling America and Hawaii newspapers’ significant role in shaping and recording Hawaii’s history.  We can cater our lecture material specifically to your group.

Please contact us at  or (808) 956 – 7094 for more information.

Foot Prints in Maui Lava Flows

Native Hawaiians told stories about the small footprints in the lava flows of Kahikinui, Maui, on the slopes of Haleakala.

They may be of ancient Hawaiians who were standing on a safe area in the middle of a lava flow. K.P. Emory of Bishop Museum believed the footprints were hand carved. The Native Hawaiians said that the footprints were the menehunes’, and that they weren’t walking on hot lava, but rather they were carrying heavy stones to the heiau of Loaloa.

Read more about it in “Foot Prints in Maui Lava Flows.”

Leprosy Topic Guide

Leper. That title has negative connotations as leprosy was thought to be contagious and to have no cure.

In Hawaii, leprosy infected many, especially the Native Hawaiians, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of them were quarantined in Kalaupapa, Molokai, never to see their loved ones again.

To read more about the history of leprosy in Hawaii and relevant American newspaper articles, read this topic guide about leprosy. “Read more about it!”

Shipping News

Shipping news can contain useful information about traveling people, exports and imports, and happenings in the shipping world. The shipping news is especially important to Hawaii, as shipping connected Hawaii with the outside world.

Check out this feature article about shipping news in Hawaii and “read more about it!”

1911 Prohibition on Poi

Many Americans associate prohibition with alcohol as their country did have one. In 1911, Hawaii also had a prohibition, but for poi.

The Board of Health believed that poi caused two Native Hawaiians to contract cholera and questioned if poi factories and shops were handling the poi in a sanitary manner. Meanwhile, the Native Hawaiians wanted their staple food.

Check out this feature article about the 1911 prohibition on poi and “read more about it!”

Coconut Recipes

With coconut, you can prepare great desserts: coconut cream pie, coconut cake, and coconut bread pudding. See the recipes for these coconut dishes and more in “Liberty Catering.”seq-5

Hanai: A Hawaiian Tradition

Hanai is the Hawaiian tradition of birth parents allowing their families or friends to raise their children. It was usually done openly without legal paperwork. Should a “hanaied” child be treated equal to a blood child in court?

In 1869 in Lahaina, Peter and Mary Ann Mellish filed a lawsuit against Eugene Bal and W. F. Adams. The Mellishs’ mother was George Lawrence’s adopted daughter. When Lawrence died, Eugene Bal and W. Adams got the land. However, the Mellishs claimed that they were Lawrence’s children through hanai and that they should inherit the land. Did the Mellishs get the land? Read more about it in “Supreme Court.”

Josher Bluffem

Have you ever heard of Josher Bluffem?

In 1910, The Hawaiian Gazette ran the weekly satirical column “The Adventures of Josher Bluffem,” which provides a first-person narrative of Josher Bluffem. The fictional character finds himself in fictional adventures and interviews local public figures in his witty dialogues.

The column ran without a byline, so the author is unknown.

Search Strategy: search for Josher Bluffem
“The Adventures of Josher Bluffem” Columns from Chronicling America

“A Learned Genius Discourses of Art”
The Hawaiian gazette., April 05, 1910, Page 6, Image 6

“The Man Who Would Be Mayor”
The Hawaiian gazette. May 17, 1910, Image 6

“Pinched — But Escapes” (Josher Bluffem goes to the police station)
The Hawaiian gazette., June 28, 1910, Image 8

“Der Musikmeister” (Josher Bluffem encounters Henry, director of the Royal Hawaiian Band)
The Hawaiian gazette., July 05, 1910, Image 6

Announcement: HDNP Presentation in the College of Education March 18th!

Providing Local Resource Material Through the Hawaii Digital Newspaper Project (HDNP) For Your Thesis/Dissertation Research

College of Education Colloquium Tuesday March 18, 2014 WIST HALL 131, 3:00 PM

Everyone is welcome!

Presentation by:  Don Eads: China US Relations Foreign Expert, PhD candidate: International Comparative Educational Foundations

Chronicling America is a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) / Library of Congress (LOC) project to digitize and provide free online access to historical English-language newspapers from across the United States. Just under 4 million historic newspaper pages have already been made available, with new content added quarterly. Coverage of Hawaiʻi figures and events can be found in Hawaiʻi newspapers as well as in newspapers from around the country. Chronicling America currently contains 557 newspaper titles from 30 states and the District of Columbia, spanning 1836 through 1922.

The National Digital Newspaper Program in Hawaiʻi

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Hamilton Library has been participating in National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) since 2008. It has digitized and made available online 15 of Hawaiʻi’s newspapers, with new content added quarterly.

Purpose: Using the HDNP as a resource is an efficient way to provide local historical depth to all types of research. Instead of searching through mountains of micro fiche this online database is accessible now.

Methods: Our library has provided an online database to easily facilitate basic and advanced search functions utilizing 15 Hawaii newspapers with more content added quarterly.

Findings: Be sure to bring your laptop to the presentation. We will guide you through the process and help you to obtain data that is relevant to your area of expertise for your thesis and/or dissertation.

Implications: Presentations and papers are enhanced by including historical accounts from Hawaii newspapers.