Rare Manuscript Donated to Bishop Museum Archives

Theodore B. Pitman, great-great grandson of Hilo High Chiefess Kino’ole and Benjamin Pitman, arrived from Massachusetts recently with his wife Susan to present Bishop Museum with an original handwritten manuscript of Benjamin Pitman, entitled Reminiscences of My Early Life and Sojourn in Hawai‘i from 1836 to 1861.  While only nine pages long, it records many personal observations of Hawai‘i and its people, including King Kamehameha III.

States Pitman of Kamehameha III: “This young King was one of Nature’s Noblemen – possessed of a good heart and finer feelings… It was my privilege to make his acquaintance, and a friendship grew out of this which continued during the rest of his life, some twenty-five years.”

“The manuscript is significant,” says educator Noelle Kahanu, “Because much of what we have during this timeframe is seen through missionary eyes. As a merchant, and one who was wedded to High Chiefess Kino’ole of Hilo, Pitman’s observations are much less constrained. Bishop Museum is very grateful to the Pitman family for their generosity and their desire to see such heirlooms return to Hawai’i.”

Vice-President of Cultural Resources Betty Lou Kam and Archives Collections Manager DeSoto Brown accepted the manuscript on behalf of Bishop Museum. The manuscript will be become a part of Bishop Museum’s vast Archives, where the largest collection of unpublished materials such as photographs, art, moving images, maps and audio recordings about Hawai‘i’s history resides and is made available for study and research.

The Bishop Museum Archives, located in the second floor of Pākī Hall, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The Archives is closed Sundays, Mondays, and holiday weekends. For more information, email library@bishopmuseum.org or call 808.848.4148. Brief factual information and referrals in response to telephone inquiries are also provided.


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