Connecting at Yale Archives

July 5, 2016

In from Malia Ane

It’s all about connections – so amazing. We had the honor of visiting the Yale Manuscripts and Archives in the University Sterling Memorial Library. We thought we were walking into a cathedral. It was beyond beautiful. There was a very rigid protocol of how we gained access to this special collection.

Dita Lei had made arrangements for us to view the Bingham and Kalakaua Boxes. We each were able to touch, read, view pictures of the royal family and scenes from the ʻaina around Oʻahu/Maui/and Hawai‘i Island. We were also able to handle authentic copies of letters and correspondence written by Hiram Bingham, Hiram Bingham II, Sybil Bingham, Elizabeth Bingham, William Neville Armstrong, HRM King David Kalakaua and HRM Queen Liliuokalani.

One of our huge wow moments was when we saw the original manuscript of the book by William Neville Armstrong, "Around the World with a King," which we have in our own library system.

Another special moment was when Emma found the Hawaiian Mission Centennial brochure, "The Mission Play." It was written by Ethel Moseley Damon and staged for the Punahou students, alumni and friends as a memorial to the founding missionaries who arrived in Hawai‘i in 1820. It was "dedicated by the author to the class of 1920 at Punahou Academy whose members may be not altogether unlike the great Pioneers of the year 1820 and their bold leader of 1808, Henry Opukahaia, turning their faces toward the more intense and therefore more exacting light of a new century."

"Tell me strange lad, why are you weeping? And whence do you come?

Oh, very kind sir, I come very long, long way on ship. White people call it Sandwich Islands.

Oh my poor lad, and you weep for loneliness?

Oh no, I cry because no man giving me to learn.

To learn?

Yes, most kind man, books.

But I will gladly teach you. (talking to Rev. Dwight, who is the brother of the president of Yale College.)

Why you wish so much to learn?

For my people, to go back, to teach …”

It was so apparent that the kumu who are here are meant to be here. Lauren is reading the missionary journals, Emma is reading the paper in Hawaiian and translating for us, Dita knows how to use the library and all the research techniques, Jason is madly scanning, taking pictures and connecting us to wifi that we need, and I am overcome with emotion that the things we have taught over the years, are so real and it has all come to life. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!