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Remembering Harry Foglietta – Part Eight

Today we shall look at the postcards that were distributed by the Hawaii Promotion Committee to advertise the Honolulu Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival. These attractive cards not only represent a high point for Hawaiian postcard design, but were among the very finest poster-style cards produced to advertise any event in the world during postcard’s golden age (1907-18).

The purpose of the annual event was twofold. Although it was intended to provide an entertaining way for locals and visitors to celebrate Washington’s Birthday, Honolulu businessmen expected the Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival to showcase all that Hawaii had to offer –  thereby increasing tourism, business and investment in the territory and, ultimately, help pave the way for statehood.

It was the latter, far-reaching goals which motivated the Promotion Committee to continuously seek to improve the scope and quality of their annual advertising campaigns. In addition to postcards, the Committee used posters, poster stamps and mailing cards in their advertising – all of which are very collectible today.


1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival

Delighted with the turnout for the 1909 Floral Parade – despite a much criticized poster – and now aiming even higher, the Hawaii Promotion Committee decided to offer a $50 cash prize for the “most striking 1910 [poster] design” (see Figure 1).



Figure 1. Headline which ran on the front page of the March 12, 1909 Pacific Commercial Advertiser.



An article featured on the front page of the March 12, 1909 Pacific Commercial Advertiser communicated “For the best design submitted for the Floral Parade poster for the 1910 parade, a prize of $50 cash [well over $1,000 today] has been offered by the Promotion Committee. This was the decision reached at the meeting of the committee yesterday afternoon, and a call for the competition will be spread all over the United States. Local artists will be given an opportunity to participate as well as designers on the mainland.

“Considerable criticism has been heard among local people of the 1909 card [poster], and the chief feature of the criticism seemed to be that the advertisement of the parade was somewhat weak… It was too small, and did not convey the idea of the floral decorations, fun and frivolity that the occasion demanded…

“Secretary Wood showed the poster design used in advertising the Manila Carnival, and Honolulu’s parade poster compared very unfavorably with it… Chairman Bowen will appoint a committee of  five, one of which will be a woman, to make a choice of the best design for the floral poster…”


Larger Honolulu Event Modeled, in part, After the Carnival in Nice

Nice Carnival. The annual Carnival held in Nice is one of the oldest and largest in the world. It dates back to the 13th century and rivals the great Carnival in Brazil – perhaps best known for its revelry in Rio de Janeiro. In 1873, a committee was created to oversee the production of the Nice Carnival and it was “reinvented into a parade, adding masquerades… floats and competitions” (see Figure 2).



Figure 2. Images from the Nice Carnival, circa 1910.



An article regarding the 1910 Honolulu event ran in the May 14, 1909 Pacific Commercial Advertiser. The headline read “L. PETRIE TO LOOK INTO FLORAL PARADE MATTERS, At the meeting of the Hawaii Promotion Committee yesterday afternoon it was decided to act on the suggestion of T.H. Petrie, who managed the 1909 Floral Parade, and make immediate movement toward getting ready for the big affair in 1910.

“One of the first and most important things which was done was to appoint Lester Petrie, who leaves shortly on a trip that will take him over the greater part of the United States and to Europe, as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Promotion Committee to study up [on] the methods used in the conduct of similar parades and carnivals in various places of the world…

“Secretary Wood displayed photographs of the annual fun carnival at Nice, [France]… It is probable that the fun-fest, when confetti-throwing masqueraders will run riot, will be made one of the leading features of the 1910 parade here…

“We are indebted to Mr. Gustav H. Schwab, general manager of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company at New York, for very complete information concerning the Annual Carnival held at Nice, including posters, photographs, postal cards, etc., which will be useful to the committee which will will be assigned the duty of working up the 1910 Floral Parade…”

While falling somewhat short of the extravagant display put on in Nice, the 1910 Floral Parade did include more modest paper mache floats along the lines of those seen in their more famous European counterpart (see Figure 3).



Figure 3. 1910 Floral Parade horse-drawn float. Translated, Pilikia means “trouble”. This image is reproduced from the 1912 souvenir program.



Design Selected for the 1910 Poster

The June 18, 1909, Evening Bulletin stated “FLORAL PARADE POSTER FOR 1910 IS ADOPTED, Harry Mist’s design for a Floral Parade poster for 1910 has been accepted by the Hawaii Promotion Committee. The design, exhibited at yesterday’s meeting of the Committee, met with general approval and was accepted without opposition.”

On June 22, 1909, the Hawaiian Gazette expanded upon this in an article titled “ACCEPTANCE OF MIST’S FLORAL PARADE DESIGN, The letter of acceptance of the Hawaii Promotion Committee goes forward on the next mail to H.M. Mist, Dresden, Germany, for his very clever and artistic poster for the Floral Parade, 1910…

“Secretary Wood expresses the pleasure the committee derives from the excellence of the design, which, it is believed, will be popular wherever it is shown. Estimates for producing the poster will also be procured in Germany. Secretary Wood also proposes to to reproduce the poster on a small scale on postal cards… so that these can be sent out from the Hawaiian Islands to all parts of the world. Mr. Mist has been an art student in Dresden for many years… He is a Honolulu boy, his mother being a resident of Manoa.”

The June 25, 1909 Pacific Commercial Advertiser carried an update in a section headed “Secretary Wood’s Report, Our order has gone forward for 6,000 copies of the 1910 Floral Parade poster and inasmuch as Mr. H.M. Mist will make the drawing on [a litho] stone and otherwise supervise the getting out of the poster, we have reason to expect an unusually good piece of work.

“In addition to the 6,000 regular sized posters, I have placed an order for 10,000 postal card reproductions (colored) and 25,000 stickers [poster stamps]. Upon receipt of these, we shall ask our citizens to generally assist in their distribution so as to widely advertise the 1910 Floral Parade and Carnival.

“I have also requested Mr. Mist to assist us in distributing the posters throughout Europe and by next mail will send him five hundred special letters in addressed envelopes, each envelope to contain one of the postal cards and to be sealed with the special sticker. At the same time we post these letters, we will send, in mailing tubes, from two to five posters to the different addresses, hoping in this way to get our posters displayed all over Europe, even before copies arrive in Honolulu.

“We will reach every tourist agency, prominent railway and steamship ticket office, as well as the leading hotels in all of the important business centers, seaports and tourist resorts, effecting the most complete distribution abroad that we have ever attempted.

“The distributions throughout the United States and Canada will be made by our agent at San Fransisco, Mr. J. Walter Scott, who handled the posters for the 1909 parade so successfully.”

The July 11, 1909 Pacific Commercial Advertiser added “Twenty five thousand ‘stickers’, each a reduced facsimile of the 1910 Floral Parade poster, will be distributed for the purpose of advertising next year’s carnival. A large portion of these will be passed out to Honolulu folk, with the request that they use them to seal their letters.”


1910 Artwork is the First to Include the Wording “Mid Pacific Carnival”

Posters. At least one example of the 1910 poster has been recorded. For many years it hung in Mark Blackburn’s gallery on the big island. I believe it currently resides in a California private collection. The poster has been linen-backed and restored. In 2002 an image of the poster was included in Finding Paradise – Island Art in Private Collections by Don Severson, Michel D. Horikawa and Jennifer Saville, in association with the Honolulu Academy of Arts (see Figure 4).



Figure 4. The 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival poster, featuring a Pa-u Rider. Reproduced from Finding Paradise – Island Art in Private Collections. Note the artwork is signed “H.M. Mist. / Dresden – 1909” at the upper left.



Postcards. There were two printings of the 1910 postcard. The one I believe is from the first printing of 10,000 cards is printed on coated stock, using a bright yellow ink for the sky and has no message printed on the back. To the left side of the divided back is the imprint “Rommler & Jonas, Dresden”, a publisher that specialized in printing postcards until their factory was destroyed by allied bombing during WWII. This version is much more difficult for collectors to acquire today (see Figures 5 and 6).



Figure 5. 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard, Type I.



Figure 6. Reverse of the card above. Note there is no printed message at the left, only the publisher’s imprint.



I believe the Hawaii Promotion Committee underestimated the total number of postcards needed for such a large-scale advertising campaign. They subsequently ordered additional postcards and, based on their relative scarcity today, the number of cards in the second printing must have far exceeded the original 10,000. The usages on these cards in my collection suggest the second printing was ordered soon after the first, as the two versions were used concurrently.

Cards from the second printing are on uncoated stock which has slightly yellowed with time, have a darker yellow sky, have a printed message and no publisher’s imprint. The latter raises the possibility that the second printing may not have been produced in Germany. Perhaps the Committee did not want to wait for an extended period after discovering they were caught short.

The message reads: “Honolulu, Hawaii. / You are most cordially invited to attend our Fifth Annual Floral Parade and Carnival to be held at Honolulu, February 22nd 1910. It is needless to assure you that the weather conditions will be perfect, they always are in Hawaii” (see Figures 7, 11 – 13, 15).



Figure 7. 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard, Type II.



I have a couple of interesting varieties to share. The first was scorched over the crater of Kilauea, on the big island, on January 1, 1910. Visitors to Hawaii often included an inter-island steamship trip to the big island to take in the volcano during the years the Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival was held. In fact, it was one of the highlights pointed out by the Promotion Committee in their numerous advertisements and brochures.

Visitors to the big island would frequently stay at the Volcano House Hotel, built on the edge of the Kilauea Caldera (see Figures 8 and 9) and the more intrepid among them would sometimes scorch postcards over cracks in the lava and send them back home as souvenirs (see Figure 10).



Figure 8. The Volcano House Hotel, Hilo Drug postcard No. 26. Undivided back.



Figure 9. The Volcano House Hotel and Stage Coach, Hilo Drug postcard No. 27. Divided Back, ex Fitzpatrick.



Figure 10. Tourists scorching postcards over cracks in the lava at Kilauea, Island Curio postcard No. 133.



The Volcano House Hotel had their own postcards printed for sale to tourists for this purpose and these are most commonly found today. However, a wide variety of different (scorched) Hawaiian postcards have been recorded. As the Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival cards are scarce to rare today, it is unusual to find one of them that was used in this way (see Figure 11).



Figure 11. 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard, Type II – scorched.



The next card was used by a travel agency in Southern California to advertise an upcoming trip to Honolulu – after the Floral Parade and Carnival were over (see Figures 12 and 13).



Figure 12. 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard, Type II. Note the hand-written message at the bottom says “We may sail March 5th”.



Figure. 13. Back of card above showing travel agent rubber stamp.



Poster Stamps. Although the Honolulu Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival “stickers” – philatelists usually refer to these as poster stamps or Cinderellas – were produced in much larger quantities than the postcards, they are actually more difficult for collectors to find today with the exception of one year (1915). We shall see the reason for this in the next post.

The 1910 poster stamp had the lowest quantity printed (25,0000) and remains one of the scarcest today. They were intended to be affixed to envelopes and postcards to advertise the upcoming event. However, finding one affixed to a Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard is relatively unusual and, as such, represents a bonus for collectors (see Figures 14 and 15).



Figure 14. 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp.



Figure 15. 1910 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp affixed to the back of a Type II postcard.




Souvenir Postcards. Before moving on I would like to point out there are a number of non poster-style printed cards depicting the Floral Parade that were not ordered by the Promotion Committee for advertising purposes. These are not considered official Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival cards per se –  rather commercial souvenir postcards, published by the Island Curio and Wall Nichols Companies and made available for purchase at the events, themselves (see Figures 16, 17 and 18).



Figure 16. Souvenir postcard published by the Island Curio Company, circa 1910. Divided Back.



Figure 17. Souvenir postcard published by the Island Curio Company, circa 1915-16. Divided Back.



Figure 18. Souvenir postcard published by the Wall Nichols Company, circa 1909-10. Divided Back. This card shows the Alexander and Baldwin entry in the 1909 Floral Parade.



Design Selected for the 1911 Event

My research turned up relatively little information about the 1911 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival. This is unfortunate as this was Harry’s second favorite image in the series. I found one article that stated “[Floral] Parade twice the size of last year.” Another article in the September 23, 1910 Hawaiian Gazette ran beneath the headline “SEATTLE WINS POSTER PRIZE, Seattle wins the prize offered by the Hawaii Promotion Committee for a design for a floral parade poster for the 1911 celebration.

“D. Howard Hitchcock, Ed. Towse and J.T. Warren, the committee, made a careful survey of the designs offered and decided that Maring & Blake’s was the most acceptable. This is a design showing a girl in a diaphanous green robe, a modified holoku effect, standing beneath a palm tree, and holding a long lei of leaves which festoons to her knees…”

The article goes on to provide a glimpse of coming attractions, “There was some hope that a well arranged design showing a surfboard rider sweeping in on the crest of a wave could be offered, but those offered were too listless, lacking energy and action…

“Secretary Wood is pleased, however, that Seattle gets the poster award, for it may offer encouragement to Puget Sounders to work up their proposed excursion to Honolulu next February.”

Posters. It is believed this beautiful poster was lithographed by Britton & Rey in San Fransisco for the Bulletin Publishing Company in Honolulu. To my knowledge, no examples have been recorded. However, in researching this series of posts, I noticed the artwork may have been influenced by the poster for the 1902 Nice Carnival (see Figure 19).



Figure 19. 1902 Nice Carnival poster.



Postcards. The 1911 postcard is the second most difficult to acquire in the series. They were produced by the famous San Fransisco lithographic printing firm of Britton & Rey. For more on Britton & Rey, click here.

What the description of the poster in the article above does not reveal is that one of the girl’s breasts is exposed. Harry told me that the design was somewhat controversial for this reason. Therefore, some 1911 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcards – those sent to parts of the country deemed “sensitive” – were first censored by hand (see Figures 20 and 21).




Figure 20. 1911 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard.



Figure 21. 1911 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard, with breast censored. Ex Foglietta.



The back of the postcards have a printed message and the Britton & Rey imprint (see Figure 22).



Figure. 22. Back of card above showing printed message and Britton & Rey imprint. Note this censored card was mailed to Massachusetts – where many of the Hawaiian missionaries originated.



Poster Stamps. I have seen two examples of the 1911 poster stamp and both appear to be imperforate. It seems as though the separation of large quantities of imperforate stamps would be cumbersome and It makes me wonder if they were actually die-cut or perhaps (by coincidence) both were originally perforated and then subsequently trimmed. I’m sure there are more out there. If anyone has or knows of a perforated example, I would enjoy hearing from you.

One example was included in Schuyler Rumsey Action 22, held during Westpex 2006 – the first sale to include items from the estate of Floyd Fitzpatrick. Lot 2395: “Hawaii, 1911 Mid-Pacific Carnival. Multicolored label promoting 6th Annual Floral Parade, depicting female beauty holding garland and parade ground, on reverse of 1911 Pleasanton Hotel corner card cover from Honolulu to Tacoma, Wash., cover with light edge toning at left, otherwise very fine.

The 1911 poster stamp on cover was a rarity and had a pre-sale estimate of $400-600. The cover received spirited bidding and ended up selling to Harry for $1,000 plus the auction commission. He was thrilled. When I visited him in Hawaii he often told me this was one of his favorite possessions. So it was kind of sad when he asked me to buy it from him (over the phone) one day, to help meet some pressing financial obligations. I will always treasure it (see Figures 23 and 24).



Figure 23. Pleasanton Hotel corner card cover, mailed to Tacoma on February 11, 1911.



Figure 24. Reverse showing the poster stamp affixed and tied by the postal cancellation, ex Fitzpatrick, ex Foglietta.



The second example is affixed to the back of a printed Hawaiian scene or “view” postcard published by the Cardinell-Vincent Company (see Figure 25).



Figure 25. 1911 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp affixed to the back of a postcard.



The 1912 souvenir program discussed below included some photographs of the 1911 event. I would like to show an example of how floats in the Honolulu event were very quickly becoming more elaborate and sophisticated (see Figures 26 and 27).



Figure 26. The 1911 Floral Parade included some lavish entries. Image from the 1912 souvenir program.



Figure 27. The same float, real photo postcard.




The 1912 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival Poster

In an effort to attract even better artwork, the cash prize in the annual poster contest was doubled. An announcement ran on page seven of the July 17, 1911 Evening Bulletin under the headline “FLORAL PARADE POSTER, The Hawaii Promotion Committee is prepared to pay $100.00 for the 1912 Floral Parade Poster. Your design must be submitted before August 14th, 1911.”

After the design was selected and the posters were printed and distributed, an article ran in the December 16, 1911 Evening Bulletin. Headlined “HAWAII MAKES SOME NOISE, Promotion work under the guidance of Secretary H.P. Wood of the Promotion Committee, is booming, as was evidenced by the good reports handed [out] in at the meeting yesterday afternoon…

“Demands are coming in from all sides for more of the Floral Parade posters, which reports state are attracting considerable attention throughout the mainland…

“A.M. Culver of the Oceanic company, writing from the Los Angeles agency, states that half an hour after the poster was placed in the window there it was the center of a large crowd and should pull big business for the islands. He adds the bookings are coming in very fast and that the Sierra for February 16 is filling up quickly. From the San Fransisco agency comes word that a party of thirty of forty people have made reservations and will be here in time for the parade. The same class of reports are being received from all the railroad agencies to which the posters were sent.

“Secretary Wood reported that he has heard from good authority that more steamers were being planned for Pacific Mail and Matson Companies and that the Ventura and Sonoma would be put on the run between San Fransisco, Honolulu and Sydney. There is general movement all round the shipping companies that looks well for the future of Hawaii.”

On January 7, 1912 the San Fransisco Call reported “On the trip leaving here February 16 the Sierra will be away from its home port an extra day. This is to enable the passengers to reach Honolulu in time to witness Honolulu’s seventh annual floral parade [and] the famous mid-pacific carnival.

“This extra day will also make it possible for the passengers to visit the famous volcano of Kilauea. By special arrangement the steamer Mauna Kea will leave Honolulu for Hilo the day after the parade. Those who take this side trip will be able to visit the volcano and return to Honolulu with time to spare for the rest of their Honolulu sightseeing before the Sierra sails again for San Fransisco. The round trip will take only 17 days.”

A final note on the poster appeared in the editorial section of the January 10, 1912 Hawaiian Star, “Sydney Jordan – I am astonished at the way in which the merchants of Honolulu accepted the Floral Parade posters for display in their stores. Everyone seemed anxious to give  as much publicity as possible.”

Posters. Unfortunately, I do not know if any of the 1912 posters have survived until today. An internet search produced a rather fuzzy image that appears somewhat different from the postcard. Current technology (photoshop, etc.) makes it difficult to know for sure.

However, I have a special treat to share with you. I have a glass lantern slide in my collection which clearly shows the Hawaii Promotion Committee Office in late 1911 or early 1912 (Figure 28). I do not know who the gentleman in white is, standing in front of the window. If anyone else knows, please contact me. At the lower right of the window are two large photographs featuring Floral Parade floats (I am assuming they are from the 1911 event). What do you see at the upper left?



Figure 28. The Hawaii Promotion Committee office, circa 1911-12. Click on the slide to Enlarge.



At the bottom of the postcard is an imprint which reads “COLOR PLATES ENGRAVED AND PRINTED BY THE ADVERTISER, HONOLULU.”

Postcards. The postcard is a brightly colored and exquisite example of Hawaiian themed art featuring three Pa-u riders in front of a long row of Palms (see Figure 29). It is easy to see why this poster would have attracted a great deal of attention for the Promotion Committee. The postcard is moderately difficult for collectors to acquire today. The back has a printed message (see Figure 30).



Figure 29. 1912 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival postcard.



Figure 30. Reverse of the card shown above.



Poster Stamps. I do not have a 1912 poster stamp in my collection to show, however, I have seen a couple so I know they exist. While all of the Honolulu Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamps with the exception of 1915 appear to be scarce to rare to collectors of Hawaiiana, my hunch is that numerous examples exist in collections of poster stamps and cinderellas – a popular philatelic niche for decades.


The 1912 Carnival

The year 1912 represented a transition for the event – after which less emphasis would be placed on the annual Floral Parade and more on the Carnival aspect of the festivities. An interesting article appeared in the January 1912 (Volume III; No. 1) Mid Pacific Magazine – Conducted by Alexander Hume Ford. For more on Ford, see Remembering Harry Foglietta – Part Four.

The article was titled “American Carnivals in the Pacific” and was written by Ronald Davidson. Some excerpts are as follows: “Every year, February, both Honolulu and Manila celebrate Washington’s Birthday with a carnival…

“The story of the Floral Parade in Honolulu has been told in the page of the Mid-Pacific Magazine. It has grown form a morning affair on Washington’s Birthday until it has become an event  that is participated in by all of the varied nationalities in Hawaii.

“There is a real old Hawaiian procession of floats and riders, a Chinese parade, A Japanese illuminated procession at night, English, German, American and various foreign sections to the great carnival procession, and an ever-increasing tendency to create a carnival week rather than to maintain a socalled floral parade for the day only.

“The history of the future of the Hawaiian Carnival is read in the history of the carnivals that have been. In almost every city or country where the carnival exists it is the outgrowth of a local or accidental parade.

“In Europe, the Carnival at Nice now extends over a week. The Mardi Gras ball at New Orleans now but begins a week of festivities. The Veiled Prophet of St. Louis soon outgrew the single night carnival, as the Floral Parade in Honolulu to such proportions that the parade itself has become but one of the events of a general carnival.

“Every year the Carnival at Nice brings ‘All Europe’ to Southern France for the month of February. Every year the Hawaiian Carnival in Honolulu should bring visitors from every part of the world to the Paradise of the Pacific. Honolulu has outgrown the Floral Parade.

The article, which is lengthy, goes on to suggest a wide variety of ideas in which the Honolulu event can become grander in scope and scale (comparisons are made to the Carnival At Nice throughout), while continuing to maintain its Hawaiian spirit:

“The majority of people who come to Hawaii, come to see things Hawaiian, and the last arrangement of Pa-u riders in the sixth Parade was as dramatic in its color effect as anything ever presented in a carnival parade in any land. There should be more of it.

“A big part of any Honolulu carnival should be taken by the Hawaiians, the lei men and women, the Hawaiian societies in costume, an entire village of grass houses on floats or in some part illustrating every phase of Hawaiian life. There could be a revival perhaps of old Hawaiian games ashore and in the surf…”


The 1912 Souvenir Program

By this point in time, commercial souvenir programs were printed for sale to visitors attending the Floral Parade and Carnival. I happen to have such a program for the 1912 Carnival in my collection (see Figure 31). It measures 6 x 9 inches, has a full color cover consisting of the poster artwork and 64 interior pages full of interesting Honolulu business advertisements and photographs taken of the past two Floral Parades (a couple of which I have shown above).



Figure 31. 1912 Honolulu Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival souvenir program, front cover.



The two center facing pages have statements by Brigadier General M.M. Macomb U.S. Army and Mr. Arthur. F. Wall, Director General for Honolulu’s 7th Annual Floral parade. The General’s comes under the heading MILITARY PARADE WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY and reads as follows:

“PARADE WILL FORM AT Palace Square, the right resting directly opposite King street gate of the Executive grounds. Head of column leaves at 9:45 A.M. moving east along King street to Thomas Square, thence along Victoria street past the reviewing stand in front of the McKinley High School to Beretania street, thence west along Beretania street to Nuuanu, where the the Parade will disperse, organizations returning to their camps or stations.”

Wall’s statement is much longer so I have included it as Figure 32 (you may click to enlarge).



Figure 32. Director General Wall’s statement, reproduced from the 1912 souvenir program.




1913 – The First of Three Consecutive Iconic Mid Pacific Carnival Posters

If you remember from the discussion of the 1911 Floral Parade poster above, after the art was selected the Promotion Committee expressed this sentiment, “There was some hope that a well arranged design showing a surfboard rider sweeping in on the crest of a wave could be offered…”

The editorial section of the July 22, 1912 Honolulu Star-Bulletin offered further encouragement, “Why not put Duke Kahanamoku’s photograph on some of the promotional literature sent out from Hawaii, with a line stating that he is the world’s champion swimmer, the product of Waikiki beach?”

With this clearly in mind, the Promotion Committee set out to secure 1913 poster art of a surfboard rider sweeping in on the crest of a wave. As reported in the July 27, 1912 Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the assignment was put out to bid, “A firm in New York and one in Berlin, together with the offices of the two local English dailies, put in bids for printing the 1913 carnival poster. The Bids were referred to Secretary H.P. Wood and B. von Damm by the Hawaii Promotion Committee. The Berlin firm has written that it is forwarding a poster design made by the best artist in that line in Germany. It may be here in time for the [1913] competition for a design.”

Much to the delight of future generations of collectors and surfers, the unnamed German artist’s design did reach Honolulu in time. I will let you read about this for yourself in the article reproduced in Figure 33 (note paragraph four):



Figure 33. Article reproduced from the Honolulu STar-Bulletin, October 2, 1912.



The October 11, 1912 Honolulu Star-Bulletin carried this follow-up piece, “The posters for the 1913 Carnival and Floral Parade have been practically all distributed. They have been sent to every railroad, bureau, steamship office, and excursion agent throughout the world, and the committee is now busy sending out the smaller reproductions of the large poster to the different railroad offices in the states.”

Note: This is the first time “Carnival” preceded “Floral Parade” in any mention of the annual event I could find and, as we are about to see, “Floral Parade” was to be left off the advertising materials for the 1913 event, completely.

Posters. As reported elsewhere on this website, the Hawaii Promotion Committee and the Honolulu Star Bulletin selected one of the leading San Fransisco lithographic printing firms, Britton & Rey, to take the German Artist’s design and produce from it posters, postcards, mailing cards, poster stamps and programs for the 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival.

The design features a Hawaiian surfboard rider sweeping in on the crest of a wave with “HAWAII” emblazoned in large red block letters above his head. This is widely believed to be the artist’s interpretation of Duke Kahanamoku surfing and is one of the most iconic images in all of Hawaiiana.

At least two of these posters have survived. Back in the 1980s, I received a call from a friend of mine in San Fransisco. He told me he had just discovered two posters for the 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival and I could drive down to the city and pick one out (he wanted to let another collector friend in southern California have the other copy). When I arrived I saw that neither poster was in really great condition, however, I felt very grateful for the opportunity nonetheless.

One of the posters had been rolled a little too tightly and exhibited a series of horizontal creases from top to bottom. In addition, a Boy’s Club flyer had been pasted onto the poster, to the left of the surfer image. I found this to be distracting. The second had neither the creases or the flier, however, it had some light brown stains behind the surfers head. I thought about it for some time and decided the stains kind of resembled dark clouds – so I chose that one.

The second example went to the collector in southern California, then to Mark Blackburn, who displayed it in his gallery on the big island and later reproduced it in his wonderful collectors guide, HAWAIIANA – The Best of Hawaiian Design, and then finally to the son of friend of mine in northern California who also shares a passion for collecting Hawaiiana (see Figure 34). His father told me he loves that the flier is affixed to the poster –  that is what makes the world go round!



Figure 34. The 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival poster, lithographed by Britton & Rey in San Fransisco. Reproduced from HAWAIIANA – The Best of Hawaiian Design. Note the Floral Parade is no longer mentioned.



Postcards. The postcard measures 3.5 x 5.5 inches and is a brightly colored reproduction of the poster (see Figure 35). It is one of the scarcer cards in the series and seldom comes on the market, especially in nice condition. I have a vivid recollection of acquiring the example below.

The card was included in Marty Shapiro’s First National Postcard Auction – Number 6, which closed on Wednesday, June 7, 1995. We were in Hawaii during the time and staying at the Ritz Carleton in Kapalua, Maui. The hotel was kind enouugh to set up a phone on a table out by the pool and I remember that when the time came to bid, I was already on my second Mai Tai. The bidding was pretty intense so perhaps the rum helped me win this, my second favorite Mid Pacific Carnival card.



Figure 35. 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival postcard.



The back of the postcards have a printed message from the Promotion Committee advertising Hawaii as “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean” and “BRITTON & REY LITHOGRAPHERS, S.F. For HONOLULU STAR BULLETIN, LTD.” at the bottom (see Figure 36).



Figure 36. Back of the postcard above showing printed message and lithographer’s imprint.



Mailing Cards. mailing card is basically an over-sized postcard. The earliest Mid Pacific Carnival mailing card I am aware of was produced by Britton & Rey for the 1913 event. The mailing card measures approximately 5 x 8 inches and is printed on heavier stock than the postcards. I say approx. as the only recorded example has been slightly trimmed at the top and bottom in order to fit inside a scrapbook (see Figure 37).



Figure 37. 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival mailing card.



The way I acquired this piece is nothing short of miraculous. In the 1980s, my wife and I were into victorian oak furniture and spent a great deal of time visiting antique shops. One day we were at an antique shop in our home town of Santa Rosa, California when I came across a scrapbook from a family’s visit to Hawaii in 1912. As I was looking through it I was surprised to find this card glued to a page. I had never seen – or even heard of – an oversized Mid Pacific Carnival postcard before.

When I got the scrapbook home, I gently pulling it away from the page. Since the card was printed on rather thick stock, this went pretty well. However, the back of the card remained largely obscured by black paper remnants from the scrapbook.

I spent the next several days carefully sanding away the black paper with an emery board until it was completely gone. Time for my second surprise – as the back had a different message printed on it (explained in Figure 30, paragraph four), including “WHY DUKE KAHANAMOKU? – CLIMATE… Duke Kahanamoku, the water champion of the world, the sensation at the Stockholm Olympic Games, is simply an incident of Hawaii’s routine production of men above the physical standard of other sections of the globe.”

At the upper left is a photo of Duke in a circle and “DUKE KAHANAMOKU, THE CHAMPION SHORT DISTANCE SWIMMER OF THE WORLD” (See Figure 38).



Figure 38. Back of the mailing card above.



The following montage includes my own poster (matted) and was used to illustrate page 319 of FINDING PARADISE – ISLAND ART IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS. It allows you to visualize the difference in size between the 1913 mailing cards and postcards (see Figure 39).



Figure 39. The 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival poster (matted), mailing card (trimmed) and postcard. Reproduced from FINDING PARADISE – ISLAND ART IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS.



Poster Stamps. I am not aware that any poster stamps from 1913 have been recorded, however, I am almost certain they were printed and distributed by the Promotion Committee. If anyone has any information about these stamps, please contact me.


Finally, two real photo postcards to share from the 1913 Mid Pacific Carnival. The first is a rare card showing the Island Princesses, including the Princess of Molokai and her attendant. The second is pretty entertaining and serves to demonstrate the imagination and creativity that went into some of the Floral Parade floats – here bicycles have been turned into cute fish (see Figures 40 and 41).



Figure 40. The Princess of Molokai participating in the 1913 Floral Parade, real photo postcard.



Figure 41. Floral Parade bicycle floats, real photo postcard cancelled February 25, 1913.




Continue to Part Nine

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