Hawaii’s first Facebook: Library digitizes Honolulu Advertiser’s forerunner

Banner Headline for Pacific Commercial Advertiser
The UH Library has announced new additions to the open-access archive of 19th and early 20th century English language newspapers published in Hawaiʻi, offering a glimpse into the lives of Hawaiʻi residents more than a century ago.

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser (PCA), first published in 1856, began as a bilingual weekly with a Hawaiian section, Ka Hoku Loa O Hawaiʻi (The Morning Star of Hawaiʻi), that ran for five years. The PCA became a daily in 1882, and eventually merged with the Honolulu Advertiser in 1921.

The PCA is the latest newspaper to be covered by the “Hawai’i Digital Newspaper Project,” which has digitized over 200,000 English-language newspaper pages.

Newspaper Column
Example of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser’s “Local Brevities” column.

Of particular interest is the PCA’s “Local Brevities” column. From 1884, it chronicled the comings and goings, life events, deaths and even musings of people living in Hawai’i — a feed of information that was essentially Hawaiʻi’s first Facebook!

There are notices about locals’ health and tidings, want ads and sales, as well as names and activities of guests who had arrived in town. The notices are quite detailed – dates, places, times — and occasionally contain little jokes and bon mots. People with long-established roots in Hawai’i may even discover a relative.

On the open-access Chronicling America website, users can browse and search this and other digitized American newspapers and read essays about them.

For more information, go to the following websites:

Chronicling America

UH Mānoa Library’s Guide to Chronicling America

Hawai’i Digital Newspaper Project

Contacts for the Hawai’i Digital Newspaper Project:

Martha Chantiny, Co-Investigator mchantiny@hawaii.edu
Jennifer Beamer, Project Manager jbeamer@hawaii.edu

Source:  A UH Manoa news release