A New Age in Hawaii Journalism: The Pacific Commercial Advertiser

Today in history — July 2, 1856 — marks the birth of the future Honolulu Advertiser: The Pacific Commercial Advertiser. The first issue reported the wedding of King Kamehameha IV and Emma Rooke.

Editor Henry Martyn Whitney, son of a missionary, founded the English-language newspaper as an “American newspaper” and alternative to the monarchy-run Polynesian. In the first issue, he said,

“Thank heaven, the day at length has dawned when the Hawaiian Nation can boast a free press, untrammelled by government patronage or party pledges, unbiased by ministerial frowns or favors–a press whose aim shall be the advancement of the nation in its commercial, political and social condition.”

During the whale industry’s peak, whalemen read the PCA when they sailed to Hawaii for rest and provisions.

As a former newsman at the New-York Commercial Advertiser, Whitney used that as a model to develop the PCA. Whitney was the first in Honolulu to meet ships off port in a boat to pick up foreign newspapers, as was often done in New York.

Read about the beginning of the PCA and the Honolulu Advertiser in “The Pacific Commercial Advertiser” and the PCA’s history.

“The Pacific Commercial Advertiser”
Pacific commercial advertiser, July 2, 1856, Image 2

History of The Pacific Commercial Advertiser