Letter Collection

Creating a New Letter Collection
From Elizabeth Po‘oloa, Director of Operations and Collections
Excerpt from  January 12, 1843, letter  from Mary Ann Ives (pictured left) to Lucia Lyons (pictured right), preserved in the HMCS Library collection:
“I am sewing a little in these days and thinking about going to general meeting. But really I have no great desire to go; home is the sweetest, dearest spot on earth and the idea of leaving it for even a little while is not pleasant. I should like much to see all my dear brothers and sisters – but I dread the idea of so much company…”

[These images and letters (and more) are accessible to the public for free via the HMCS LIbrary Digital Collection website: https://hmha.missionhouses.org]

Hawaiian Mission Houses’ archives contain thousands of letters from the 19th century. There are letters to and from missionaries, ali‘i, churches, keiki, parents, and kupuna. There are love stories, fights, requests, and simple “how are you?” notes sent and received from all over the world.
These letters are an important record of the day and give us now a glimpse into life on our islands then. Who knew Mary Ann Ives’ desire to stay home from General [Annual] Meeting and avoid crowds would relate so closely to us today!
With this in mind, let’s put our pens (quills?) to paper…or fingers to keyboards…and create together. 
We are starting a new letter collection about our current time, and we want your help! Send us a letter or draw a picture about your life now, and we will preserve it alongside the archival documents in our collection.
Some prompts to get you started:
What do you want a reader 200 years from now to know about you and our world?
What are your observations of our physical or cultural world at this moment?
What do you do each day?
What is important to you?
 We want to get as many letters from people of all ages, locations, and more as possible.
How it works:
  • Please include a brief introduction for yourself with your name, your age and where you are writing from, so future generations know more about you.
  • You might write to us directly (“Dear Hawaiian Mission Houses…”) or write a letter to a loved one and send us a copy of it (“Dear Tutu…”, “To My Sister…”).
  • Drawings of all kinds welcome.
  • With your permission, we might share excerpts or drawings on our website.
  • Send to: HMCS Library, New Letters Collection, 553 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96813 or email to [email protected]
Hawaiian Mission Houses will collect these letters and drawings and preserve them in our permanent collection for future historians to see what life was like in the Spring of 2020. 
Please send letters, drawings, and emails by May 30, 2020.
Every day at Hawaiian Mission Houses we see the power of correspondence to capture the day. Come be part of this history!