Found in the Archives: 1903 and 1911 Agricultural Federal Bulletins Published in Hawaiian

Established in Hawaiʻi in 1901, one of the services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Experiment Stations was to assist local farmers on widely cultivated local products. This work was recognized on the national level, “[a]s institutions that could not survive without public support, communication with the main supporting group of the general public, the farmers, was essential (Knoblauch, 1962).” The second Bulletin of the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station (HAES), The Root Rot of Taro—written by agriculturist Thomas Sedgwick advocating traditional methods of crop rotation and plant care in 1902—was followed the next year with a Hawaiian language synopsis as Bulletin 4.

In 1911 No ka hooulu ana i ke kalo (For the cultivation of taro) and No ka hooulu ana i ka maia (For the cultivation of banana) were issued by the Kahua Hooulu o ka Oihana Mahiai o Amelika (Experiment Station of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) and printed locally be Paradise of the Pacific, the forerunner of Honolulu Magazine, with authorship ascribed to E.V. Wilcox (with F.A. Clowes as co-author for the bulletin on taro). Wilcox was appointed Special Agent in Charge—the designation of the station’s director—of HAES in April 1908, and arrived in the islands June 15 of that year.  F.A. Clowes was hired by Jared G. Smith, the first director, as the agriculturalist in 1901. Unfortunately, the translator(s) for the Hawaiian works is not credited.

In a quest for the translator(s) of these works and to ascertain the frequency of such reports translated to other languages, a query was made to the National Archives and Records Administration [NARA], who identified Agricultural  Experiment Station records within Record Group [RG] 164: Records of the Cooperative State Research Service, 1888-1966. These guides were within the series RG 164 NC-132 14, General Correspondence and Other Records Concerning Insular Stations, 1897-1937. These records are arranged alphabetically by name of territory, and for the records prior to 1923, further sub-divided by chronological periods of varying lengths. Records relating to the Hawaii Experiment Station are in boxes 39-65, with the years 1898-1911 in boxes 39-48.

While NARA could not determine the frequency or other attributes of these translations the Index to publications of the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station, July 1, 1901, to December 31, 1911 lists under Special Bulletins by HAES both the two 1911 works in Hawaiian and two in Portuguese on bananas and grapes (p8).

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