Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon was sent by the American Seamen’s Friend Society to be chaplain in Honolulu. The Damons sailed from New York March 10, 1842 aboard the Victoria, Captain Spring, and arrived in Honolulu October 19, 1842. He was the pastor of the Bethel Union Church, Seamen’s Chapel for 42 years and was the publisher and editor of the periodical The Friend from 1843 — 1885, when he retired.
The first issue was published in Jan. 1843, originally under the name Temperance Advocate, then as Temperance Advocate and Seamen’s Friend, with the Advocate and Friend being published as an extra, then as The Friend of Temperance and Seamen, with The Friend as an extra, and finally simply as The Friend, beginning January 1, 1845.
From 1885 through 1887, it was co-edited by the Revs. Cruzan and Oggel. The editorship then passed to Rev. Sereno Bishop, who held the post until the publication of the paper fell under the auspices of the Board of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association in April of 1902 where it remained until June 1954. Since then, it has continued in a different format under the Hawaii Conference-United Church of Christ up to the present day, making it the oldest existing newspaper in the Pacific.
The Friend began as a monthly newspaper for seamen, which included news from both American and English newspapers, and gradually expanded to adding announcements of upcoming events, reprints of sermons, poetry, local news, editorials, ship arrivals and departures and a listing of marriages and deaths. Rev. Damon published between a half million and a million copies of The Friend, most of which he personally distributed.
Because of its longevity, The Friend is an excellent resource for scholars of nineteenth-century Hawaiian history.
This collection contains 1,396 issues comprising 21,030 pages and 50,904 articles.