Hawaiian-language versus English historical documents, 2014 and beyond.

When researching anything relating to Hawaii nei, it goes without saying that it is imperative that we look at the Hawaiian-language documents left by the people of old. However, it is important to look at all the other documents available to us written in other languages as well.

The three different articles covering the 100th birthday celebration of Kauikeaouli recently posted is a simple case in point. Each of the three supply information not provided by the other two.

The Star Bulletin article of 3/18/1914, written in English, quotes the speech given by William B. Oleson.

The Hawaiian Gazette article of 3/20/1914, also in English, adds information like:

The committee on arrangements to whose efforts the success of the impressive centenary ceremonial was due consisted of Mrs. Eben P. Low, chairman, Miss Lucy Peabody, and Mesdames Emma Nakuina, L. A. Coney, C. F. Hart, Caroline Robinson, Edgar Henriques and F. M. Swanzy.

The Kuokoa article of 3/20/1914, in Hawaiian, provides an extended account of the speech given on that day by Ake Mahaulu [Archie Mahaulu] of Waialua.

If there are descriptions of the event in the Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Japanese papers, those would no doubt be useful as well.

Certainly this is just a simple example, but whatever the subject you may be researching, don’t assume that only Hawaiian-language materials are worth examining—look at all the documents you can. The more you look, the more you will find. And just because something you are looking for can’t be found conveniently online does not mean it does not exist.

[One recent item that cannot be found online for instance is the English original version of the Mary Mahiai story that some of you seem to have thought was originally in Hawaiian. The Pacific Commercial Advertiser version is earlier and has much more information on her life. Take a look here!]

4 thoughts on “Hawaiian-language versus English historical documents, 2014 and beyond.

  1. Agreed! Spending time with the Nūpepa will help us find related articles in the different languages. Also, your careful and extensive use of tags is a great example for us. Should something look familiar we can search the tags to find the relative stories/articles. Mahalo nui!

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