A great rarity comes into our inventory…

October 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the more rare items in the world of early newspaper collecting has come into our inventory: a collection of the very first newspaper in Hawaii, including the volume one, number one issue.

Hawaii’s first newspaper was essentially a student newspaper, titled “Ka Lama Hawaii” (The Hawaiian Luminary), done by Protestant missionaries at their school at Lahainaluna on the island of Maui. The missionaries transported a printing press some 18,000 miles around Cape Horn to Hawaii, setting up what would become the very first newspaper building west of the Rocky Mountains. The newspaper was printed in the Hawaiian language on the manually operated flatbed press which could turn out 100 sheets per hour. Content included articles on government, Christian teachings, and in keeping with the educational element,  illustrations of exotic animals like the lion, elephant and zebra. The very first issue, dated Feb. 14, 1834, was dominated by an essay on the habits & habitats of the lion.

This newspaper lasted for just these 25 issues printed in 1834, then did not print for several years only to resurrect itself to print just two final issues in January, 1841.  Not only is it the first newspaper in Hawaii, but it also predates any newspaper in North America west of the Rocky Mountains.

We felt these rare issues were worth sharing with fellow collectors.