Press/Journalists
Press Release
August 9, 1999
Century-old Hawaiian Petition Now Available on Microfilm

Washington, DC. . .The National Archives and Records Administration announced today the microfilm publication of an important Hawaiian document that bears the signatures of more than half of the islands' native population in 1897. The 556-page petition against annexation was featured in exhibits last summer at the Bishop Museum and the State Capitol in Honolulu during the commemoration of the centennial of annexation. The petition was also the subject of a documentary film and accompanying book, Nation Within: The Story of America's Annexation of the Nation of Hawaii.

The "Petition against the Annexation of Hawaii Submitted to the U.S. Senate in 1897 by the Hawaiian Patriotic League and the Hawaiian Islands" has both genealogical and historical significance for native Hawaiians. With 21,169 signatures from all seven of the main Hawaiian islands: Kauai, Maui, Hawaii, Molokai, Oahu, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, the petition provides information of interest for family historians. Entire families signed the petition together, listing their individual ages. The petition provides strong evidence that most of the native Hawaiian people did not seek annexation in 1897.

This single roll of microfilm also contains Senate documents showing certification and receipt of the petition, the petition itself, and the response to the petition by a representative of the pro-annexation Hawaiian Republic, Lorrin Thurston. A descriptive pamphlet with introductory material is available. The microfilm (Microfilm Publication M-1897) can be ordered for $34 from the National Archives Trust Fund, P.O. Box 100793, Atlanta, GA 30384-0793; telephone 1-800-234-8861.

The petition is among the permanent records of the United States Senate, which are housed in the Center for Legislative Archives, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration. Charged with administering, preserving, and serving those official records of the U.S. Government that are of permanent historical significance, the National Archives holds a wide range of documents concerning Hawaii, including the first treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Hawai'i, proposed in 1849 and ratified the following year. There are also materials on Hawaiian statehood in 1959, including petitions and letters from Hawaiians; exhibits and evidence associated with the Congressional investigation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941; and a variety of military and diplomatic reports on the Hawaiian Islands.

More than 500 digital images, mostly photographs, concerning Hawaii are also available on the National Archives Information Locator, its on-line database.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail. Visit the National Archives Home Page on the World Wide Web at http://www.archives.gov/.

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