Honolulu: C.C. Bennett, 1869. xii,88,xiii-xxviii pp., including illustrated advertisements. Original half black sheep and printed paper boards. Boards rubbed and with a bit of staining, front hinge loosening, remnants of paper labels on spine. Front free endpaper partially torn. Bookplate of territorial governor George R. Carter on front pastedown, and of Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library on front endpaper and their blindstamp on titlepage. Good plus. In a cloth chemise and half morocco and cloth slipcase, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM57592
The first edition of the first Honolulu directory, printed personally by the author at his book and stationery store on Fort Street. A second edition, which maintained the 1869 imprint on the titlepage, was printed in 1871, and provided some minor emendations and extended the historical timeline. Although Forbes notes that James Jarves' name is misspelled as "Jarvis" in the first paragraph of the historical sketch, this copy is in the second state, with the spelling corrected. This copy bears the bookplate of George R. Carter, who was the second Territorial Governor of Hawaii, from 1903 to 1907. A note in pencil on the front pastedown evidences that he purchased this book in 1905, from DeWitt and Snelling of San Francisco for two dollars. Carter was a member of the Hawaiian Historical Society and built an impressive collection of historical documents related to the state; he donated his collection (including this book) to the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society in 1922, and it bears their bookplate and their blindstamp.
Despite the precedence of "directory" in the title, the majority of this work is taken up by a detailed history of the Hawaiian islands, beginning with Cook's discovery in 1778. The following sketch covers the reign of Kamehameha I, the arrival of the first Christian missionaries, and details of various political and diplomatic incidents including the arrival of Catholicism, LaPlace affair, the provisional cession of 1843, a brief paragraph referencing the California Gold Rush, and more. Along with historical details, the author of the history (who Forbes identifies as journalist Henry Sheldon) provides a variety of other pieces of information including on the Bible's translation in Hawaiian, the entirety of the 1852 constitution, a considerably detailed passage on Hawaiian manners and customs, and a dissection of the Islands' declining population issue.
The directory proper begins on page seventy- seven and only fills about ten pages, plus a brief "appendix" at the bottom of the final leaf of advertisements. Residents and businesses are listed by name, usually along with a profession and street address, as are the locations of a number of "vacant lots" in the "V" section of the alphabet. The front and end matter consist of twenty-eight pages of printed advertisements, many of them illustrated. They provide valuable information on businesses in operation in Honolulu at the time, including grocers, importers, a pastry chef, a book binder, and support businesses for the maritime trades
A rare and important piece of Hawaiian printing, with significant provenance. FORBES 2821.