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Remembering Harry Foglietta – Part Nine

As we continue our series of blog posts on Harry Foglietta’s Hawaiian postcard interests, we will look at the Mid Pacific Carnival postcards issued from 1914 through 1916. I am excited today, as we get to begin with the 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival advertising materials. The reason is because this was Harry’s favorite image in the entire series. Not only was this Harry’s favorite Honolulu Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival card – it was his favorite Hawaiian postcard of all.

Although they did not know it then, the 1914 Carnival would prove to be the grandest in the Hawaiian event’s relatively short history. By this point the elaborate spectacle had become very costly to produce and it lost money. Then – not long after the 1914 Carnival closed – it was dealt a massive blow from which it would never fully recover.


Only Hawaii Residents Were Eligible to Design the 1914 Poster

Following the 1913 Carnival, the Promotion Committee initially planned to make the 1914 poster contest open to leading magazine illustrators on the mainland. According to an article in the May 30, 1913 Honolulu Star Bulletin, “Ed Towne, who a short time ago was appointed a committee of one to take up the matter of posters for next year’s parade and carnival, suggested that the secretary write to the art editors of the Ladies Home Journal, Women’s Home Companion, Life, Harpers, Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and other leading magazines which with each edition feature full cover drawings, asking them if they would not address a letter which the committee would enclose, to the various artists who supply these [cover] drawings.

“The enclosed letter would request the artists to enter into a competition for designing the 1914 floral parade and carnival poster, and to suggest plans and conditions for the competition. If they do this, the committee will supply them with suggestions for the posters and also photographs of a number of the posters which have been used in former events”.

Within a couple of weeks of this announcement, the Committee would reverse itself. A long front page article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin dated June 14, 1913 was headlined “WOULD HOLD LARGEST MIDWINTER CARNIVAL IN HISTORY OF HAWAII – James D. Dougherty Will Outline Program of Features That Will Place All Previous Efforts in the Shade.”

With regard to the poster competition, the article stated: “Taking up once more the regulations for the competitive design for the 1914 Floral Parade and Mid Winter Carnival poster, the members of the promotion committee yesterday afternoon decided that home talent should be given the preference in the competition. None but artists residing in the territory may enter the contest, and a prize of $100 will be awarded the person submitting the most appropriate design. There has been some talk of making the poster in the form of a photographic reproduction instead of the usual ink and color drawing…

“On account of the time required to advertise the 1914 parade and carnival in all parts of the world, the designs for the poster must be in the office of the Promotion Committee not later than July 31, shortly after which time the winner will be announced.

“The dimensions of the poster will be 38 x 25 inches, allowing a space in the center for a half-tone seventeen inches wide. Appropriate designs, suitable for three-color lithograph work, may be work[ed] in around this space, and several suggestions, one being an outrigger canoe riding on the crest of a wave, have been suggested by the committee.”

The Promotion Committee announced the contest in the June 20, 1913 Honolulu Star Bulletin, under “Business Notices” (see Figure 1).



Figure 1. The Promotion Committee invites designs for the 1914 poster.



1914 Poster Design Selected

Additional details concerning the 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival advertising campaign were carried in the July 31 Honolulu Star Bulletin, headlined “1914 POSTER TO BE ADOPTED BY COMMITTEE, The competitive contest for designs for the 1914 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival posters will come to a close at five o’clock this evening… Several local artists, professional and amateur, have already submitted designs and the members of the Promotion Committee will tomorrow decide upon which will be chosen for the poster…

“The Committee expects to get out a large supply of 5 x 8 mailing cards, one side bearing the design and the other a special message, and also a supply of postcards and stickers. As soon as these have been issued, the public will be invited to visit the rooms of the Committee and get them for distribution…”

The next day the Hawaii Promotion Committee made deltiology (the study and collecting of postcards) history by selecting one of the most popular images ever to be featured on a postcard. For those unaware, I will let Police Captain Duke Halapu Kahanamoku tell you by way of a quote that appeared in the Hawaiian Gazzette on August 5, 1913:

“I think my boy has broken a new record again now that his picture will go all over the world on the 1914 Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival poster. I think the father of my son has some right to feel proud.”

The original design appeared inside a program for the Hui-Nalu Follies – scheduled to take place prior to the Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival, on February 11-14, 1914 (see Figures 2 and 3). As we saw in Remembering Harry Foglietta – Part Four, the Huli Nalu (“Club of Waves”) was informally begun by a group of local Hawaiians in 1905.

Once the (predominantly white) Outrigger Canoe Club was established in 1908, the Hui Nalu – led by Duke Kahanamoku – began having friendly competitions with them and these helped to popularize the sport of surfing and attract visitors from the mainland.

According to an article in the January 14, 1914 Honolulu Star Bulletin, “The object of the [Follies] show is to raise funds for the new clubhouse the Hui Nalu will build in Ainahau lane.”


Figure 2. Cover of the 1914 Huli-Nalu Follies program, ex Duke Kahanamoku.



Figure 3. Inside page featuring an early version of the Mid Pacific Carnival poster.



Committee Puts Advertising Out to Bid

The August 8, 1913 Honolulu Star Bulletin ran an article on the front page headlined, “Promotion Committee to Call for Bids for Advertising Matter at Today’s Meeting, Bids for printing the 1914 Floral Parade and Mid-Winter Carnival posters, mailing cards, post cards and stickers, the design for which was worked out by Edmund [Ned] Steel and Lew Henderson of this city, will be called for by the Promotion Committee at its meeting this afternoon.”

Ned Steel was a writer, who sometimes collaborated with his photographer friend Lew Henderson (see “Spear-Fishing in Hawaii”, published in Outing Magazine, 1917). He was also a friend of Duke. A review of the Hui Nalu Follies was carried in the February 12, 1914 Honolulu Star Bulletin and stated: “Two of the most popular numbers of the evening were a dance by Ned Steel and Duke Kahanamoku and the burlesque on the Kilohana Art League” (Duke also sang at the event).

Lew Henderson, one of the designers of this famous image, had just completed a stint as manager for a small group of Hawaiian swimmers that were touring the mainland in 1912 in the hopes of being selected for the team representing the U.S. at the Stockholm Olympics (see Figure 4). Of the three hopefuls, two were selected including Duke. He subsequently won his first Olympic gold medal, in the 100 meter freestyle.



Figure 4. From left to right: Lew Henderson, Vincent Genovese, Duke Kahanamoku and E.K. Miller. Photograph taken on their 1912 tour of the mainland.



The August 8 Star Bulletin article continued, “Two bids will be asked, the first for lithographing and tinning 5,000 posters, 10,000 5 x 8 mailing cards, 20,000 post cards and 25,000 letter and package stickers of the usual size, while the second will call for prices on printing and tinning 10,000 posters, 20,000 mailing cards, 40,000 post cards and 50,000 stickers.

“The accepted design, which has been changed somewhat and the word “Hawaii” added, will be lithographed in from three to four colors for the posters, which will be somewhat larger than the ones from last year, and a color reproduction will be used for the mailing cards, post cards and stickers…

“The Promotion Committee desires to have the posters, cards and stickers off the press at the earliest possible moment in order that advertising the 1914 parade and carnival may commence at once. Posters will be sent to practically all parts of the world.”

A follow up article in the August 9, 1913 Honolulu Star Bulletin added, “The following specifications cover the work: Posters 25 x 38 (less trim) in three and four colors, tinned [banded] top and bottom and on 80-pound poster paper; mailing cards 5 x 7 six-ply, one side coated; postal cards, four-ply and one side coated; stickers on white gum paper of the best quality. Messages will be printed on the mailing and post cards and all bids must be in before August 29, 1913.”

The final bid for the 1914 advertising materials included 10,000 posters, 10,000 mailing cards, 40,000 postcards and 40,000 poster stamps. However, as we are about to see, the postcard figure is understated.



The Iconic 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival Poster

At least three examples of this iconic poster have been recorded. It was printed in four colors and features a photograph (by Lew Henderson) of Duke standing on a surfboard, “Coasting on a billow at Waikiki”. One resides in a private collection in Washington state and one was reproduced in FINDING PARADISE – ISLAND ART IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS (see Figure 5).



Figure 5. The 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival poster, featuring Duke Kahanamoku surfing. Reproduced from Finding Paradise – Island Art in Private Collections.



Postcards. This is arguably the most popular Hawaiian postcard ever produced and Harry’s favorite. Fortunately, there are a number to go around and it is actually the second most “common” Mid Pacific Carnival card today. It bears an imprint at the lower left, “ENGRAVED AND PRINTED BY GAZETTE CO. LTD., HONOLULU” and the color blue was substituted for the off-white background surrounding the central image.

As the postcard is not terribly difficult for collectors to acquire, both Harry and myself have owned several examples over the years. However, the card shown below is the one I obtained from Harry the first time he sold me part of his collection. In other words, this is the example that Harry owned for the better part of his collecting lifetime (see Figure 6).

I will always remember the way he admired it – lovingly – when he held it in his hand.



Figure 6. 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival postcard Type I, ex Foglietta.



This postcard was extremely popular when it was released and the Promotion Committee widely advertised where locals and visitors could drop in and obtain them, free of charge.

According to the November 11, 1913 Hawaiian Gazette, “Visiting tourists are invited to drop into Promotion Committee rooms, secure free of charge a bunch of Mid-Pacific Carnival postal cards and address them to [their] Eastern friends, mentioning the fact that while there may be snow flying from St. Louis to Boston the swimming is very good at Waikiki.”

There Were Two Printings. For this reason, the initial supply of 40,000 cards must have been exhausted and this necessitated a second printing. Examples from the two printings are identical on the face. However, while the back of cards from the first printing contains the printed message requested by the Promotion Committee (outlined in the Star Bulletin article of August 9 – see above) – the back of cards from the second printing does not (see Figures 7 and 8). In my experience, cards from the first printing are far more difficult to find today.



Figure 7. Reverse of the card above, Type I. Note the printed message.



Figure 8. Reverse of cards from the second printing, Type II. The printed message is absent.



Mailing Cards. There has been at least one example of the 1914 mailing card recorded and it has a remarkable provenance. I acquired the card a number of years ago from Don Medcalf, owner of Hawaiian Islands Stamp and Coin. Don acquired it from the estate of David Kahanamoku and Don told me that David punched a hole at the top of the card so he could wear it around his neck while attending the Carnival! In addition, David cut out tiny photos of his friends and family and glued them to the front (see Figure 9). Note the card actually measures 4.5 x 7 inches.



Figure 9. 194 Mid Pacific Carnival mailing card, ex David Kahanamoku.



Poster Stamps. For obvious reasons, this is the most highly sought after poster stamp in the series (see Figure 10). Once again there are quite a number to go around. Therefore, this is the second easiest Mid Pacific stamp for collectors to acquire. Off cover, that is. Affixed to a cover or postcard is a different story.



Figure 10. 1914 poster stamp.



One of the first 1914 poster stamps affixed to a cover surfaced in the Floyd Fitzpatrick Sales, conducted by Schuyler Rumsey Auctions. At the same auction Harry acquired the 1911 stamp on cover, he also won the 1914 stamp on cover (see Figure 11). Since these were Harry’s two favorite images in the series and he was a life-long philatelist and a lover of Hawaiiana – who actually lived in Hawaii – he had determined prior to the auction that he was going home with these two items. Several collectors tried, but Harry was not to be denied. I later acquired the two covers together, also from Harry.



Figure 11. The 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp, affixed to the reverse of a plain (no cache or corner card) cover. Ex Fitzpatrick, ex Foglietta.



Subsequent to acquiring the covers from Harry, I had the opportunity to bid on what is very likely the finest example of a 1914 stamp used on cover. The front of the cover has an all-over design showing where Hawaii is located in the Pacific Rim – and the stamp is affixed right in the center, where Hawaii is located. The back has an elaborate Hawaii Promotion Committee imprint to the left of the flap area and the cancelled stamp (December 13, 1913) to the right. At the bottom of the back is printed “HAWAII OFFERS EXCEPTIONAL ADVANTAGES TO TOURISTS AND HOME SEEKERS”.

The cover is addressed to a Mr. S. Burkholder, Marion, Kansas. Anyone who knows me well knows about my love affair with Marion and the local fishing and waterfowl stamps they issued. Like Harry, when the cover came up for auction – I would not be denied (see Figures 12 and 13). It remains one of my favorite items in my Hawaiiana collection today.



Figure 12. 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp affixed to illustrated Hawaii Promotion Committee cover, front.


Figure 13. Back of the cover shown above.



I also have a 1914 poster stamp affixed to the back of an Island Curio Company view card. The card was mailed from Honolulu on February 9, 1914 to a Mrs. Viola R. Dodson in Winona, Washington (see Figure 14). Note the hand-written message at the bottom: “Take care of this card. Mama”. Boy, am I glad she did!



Figure 14. 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp affixed to the reverse of an Island Curio postcard.



Stereoscope Cards. Although I have never seen or heard of one, the Promotion Committee developed the 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival poster into stereo cards. A very short article reported this in the September 5, 1913 The Hawaiian Gazette: “The new 1914 Floral Parade poster, representing Duke Kahanamoku, champion swimmer of the world, has been reduced to stereoptican slides for use by lecturers.

“The first plate made was taken away yesterday by James Carey, who is taking a troupe of Hawaiian singers abroad. Another plate will also be sent to Bishop Restarick, now in Colorado, for use in his illustrated talks on Hawaii.”



Non Official Uses of this Iconic Image

There are a number of non Hawaii Promotion Committee uses of the photograph made by Lew Henderson for the 1914 Mid Pacific Carnival advertising materials. In order for this to happen, it is assumed Henderson must have retained the right to sell his image to other advertisers. I thought it might be fun to show a few examples.

Probably the most familiar to collectors is a fold-out Hawaii travel brochure dating from the 1920s. The brochure features an artist’s rendering based on the iconic Henderson photograph. The image spans the front and back covers (two of the tri-fold panels) and includes Waikiki Beach with the Moana Hotel to the left of Duke and Diamond Head in the background. Emblazoned across the top of each of these panels is “HAWAII” in red ink, similar to the 1913 Carnival promotional materials. The art was executed by H.B. Christian and is signed and dated (1918) at the lower left of the back cover panel. The image was reproduced using color lithography and the brochures were printed and distributed by Paradise of the Pacific Engraving & Printing (see Figure 15).

Henry Christian was born in Minneapolis and attended the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts. He first visited Hawaii in 1908 and soon moved there. Christian served several stints as the Art Director for Paradise of the Pacific, including from 1922 to 1938 when this brochure was produced. Today he is perhaps best remembered for his Hawaiian landscapes and floral studies.



Figure 15. Travel brochure printed and distributed by Paradise of the Pacific, circa 1920s.



I also have two brochures produced to advertise the Pleasanton Hotel, which was located between Waikiki and the Manoa Valley (see Figures 16 and 17) and a very “cute” luggage tag issued by the Matson Navigation Company (see Figures 18 and 19).



Figure 16. Cover of a brochure advertising the Pleasanton Hotel.



Figure 17. A second Pleasanton Hotel brochure cover. Note this image is not to scale – this brochure is much smaller than the one above.



Figure 18. Baggage tag issued by Matson Navigation Company, front.



Figure 19. Back of tag above.



The Annual Event Reaches its Zenith in 1914

They started with the modest Floral Auto Parade in 1904 (18 vehicles) – and with every new year, the annual Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival grew in scale and stature. By 1914, the Hawaii Promotion Committee and the citizens of the Territory of Hawaii could take pride in knowing they presented a celebration comparable to just about anything in the world.


The following is a partial list of attractions presented in 1914:

Grand Carnival of All Nations at Palace Grounds, Saturday Night February 14.

Grand Massed Band Concert at Palace Grounds, Monday night, February 16.

Grand Pyrotechnic Extravaganza at Moiliili Baseball Grounds, Tuesday night, February 17.

Hawaiian Hibiscus Flower, Palm and Fern Exhibit at National Guard Armory, Wednesday February 18.

Open-air production of “The Mayor of Tokyo” at Oahu College Grounds, Wednesday night, February 18.

Hawaiian historical drama “The Wooing of Umi and Piikea” at Public Baths, Thursday February 19.

Grand Masked Ball at National Guard Armory, Thursday night, February 19.

Grand Water Carnival and Pyrotechnic Display on Honolulu Harbor, Friday night, February 20.

Mid-Pacific Championship Swimming Meet at Naval Docks, Saturday February 21.

Honolulu’s Ninth Annual Floral Parade, Saturday February 21

Grand Assemble of Decorated Automobiles and Floats at Moiliili Baseball Grounds, Saturday February 21.

Japanese Lantern Parade, Saturday night, February 21.

Grand Military Parade, Monday February 23.

Military Tournament and Maneuvers at Kapiolani Park, Monday February 23.


Unfortunately, the event had become so large and expensive to produce that it was losing money. This was widely discussed in a series of newspaper articles and editorials following the 1914 Carnival. Cut-backs were deemed necessary and these would extend to the very heart of the event.



The Annual Floral Parade is Discontinued

In a article which ran in the May 27, 1914 Honolulu Star Bulletin, the Carnival Director’s vision for the future was revealed. Headlined “1915 Carnival Plans, Director-general Dougherty’s program for the 1915 Carnival, details of which he published today, will meet with much approval. A hasty survey of it seems to indicate that he has profited by the experience of last year, eliminated the features that gave the least results and maintained those that proved worthwhile.

“The Admission fees will be less and the length of the Carnival will be somewhat reduced. Both moves are in the right direction. The elimination of the Floral Parade may be somewhat of a surprise, but it is logical, for this feature has been attended with increasing difficulty and expense each year it is given. Instead of the parade there will be several features as substitutes which should be more enjoyable to tourists and residents alike.”

The Director’s plans were further detailed in the may 29, 1914 Hawaiian Gazette, “A military parade will be held Monday morning, February 22. During the afternoon swimming events will be contested in the harbor… The Japanese lantern parade will be repeated on a larger scale and many new features will be added to this interesting event.

“Hawaiian pageants will be staged by pupils of the Kamehameha Schools… The massed band concert as well as the eruption of Punchbowl will also be repeated. A grand masquerade ball as well as a military ball will be given. In addition to this, a dance will be given in the open at the capital grounds, where King Carnival will reign and cares will be forgotten.”

This real photo postcard shows Pa’u Riders participating in the 1914 Floral Parade – the last time it was held in conjunction with the Mid Pacific Carnival (see Figure 20).



Figure 20. Pa’u Riders participating in the 1914 Floral Parade.




Archduke Ferdinand is Assassinated

The world – including Hawaii and the Promotion Committee – received terrible news during the summer of 1914. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28 shocked the world, set Europe on the edge of war – and foreshadowed the end of the Mid Pacific Carnival.

Virtually all of the nations in Europe would soon become involved in the “Great War” and there would be no peace until 1918. As we have seen, the Hawaii Promotion Committee modeled its event after the Nice Carnival, had its 1910 advertising materials designed and produced in Germany and marketed the Mid Pacific Carnival heavily to Europeans.

Although Hawaii was located on the other side of the world, the war in Europe would have a great effect on the islands and its annual celebration of Washington’s birthday.


1915 Poster Design

The first mention of the 1915 poster I found was in the July 14, 1914 Honolulu Star Bulletin. It was  a paragraph at the end of an article discussing a Hawaii Promotion Committee’s upcoming meeting, “Another matter which is to come before the meeting tomorrow will be a discussion regarding the type of posters for the 1915 Mid-Pacific Carnival. It is possible that the committee will decide to call for designs almost immediately.

“It is the idea of the Carnival directors to have a poster showing a beach scene, with Diamond Head in the background and a prominent figure in the foreground…”

The July 15, 1914 Honolulu Star Bulletin carried a notice for the 1915 poster contest (see Figure 21).



Figure 21. Announcing the 1915 poster contest.



1915 Carnival Planning Disrupted by War

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Throughout the first two weeks of August, there was a heated public debate in Hawaii as to whether or not the territory should continue with plans for the 1915 Mid Pacific Carnival. The August 7 Honolulu Star Bulletin carried an article headlined “1915 CARNIVAL PLANS DEFERRED PENDING PEACE,… Resolved by the board of directors of the Mid-Pacific Carnival, that we are of the opinion that, owing to the unsettled condition in the European countries… It is the sense of the directors of the Hawaii Promotion Committee to with-hold any further expenditures on account of the proposed posters for the carnival company until such time [that we should] desire to proceed with the plans for the coming carnival…”

The next day, August 8, the Star Bulletin ran two related articles. The first appeared in the noon edition and was headlined “PROMOTERS CANCEL WORK ON CARNIVAL, Acting in accordance with a resolution submitted by the board of directors of the Mid-Pacific Carnival… the members of the committee voted to return to the various bidders their tenders for printing the 1915 Carnival posters, mailing cards, postal cards and stickers…”

The second ran in the 3:30 edition and was headlined “HOLD THE CARNIVAL BY ALL MEANS – IS THE DEMAND OF MANY CITIZENS OF THE CITY, The public takes issue with the directors of the Mid-Pacific Carnival, LTD., in no uncertain manner, in their stand in canceling – or at least postponing – plans for the 1915 Carnival…

Alexander Hume Ford – It looks like treachery and cowardice… I haven’t learned who is on this carnival committee, but I do hope none of my friends are among those on the committee voting to knife us in the back. I for one do not wish to join this suicide club…”

On August 10 1914, the main (ominous) headline of the Honolulu Star Bulletin read “BRITISH MERCHANT SHIPS WARNED OFF NORTH SEA: DANGER OF BATTLE” and directly beneath that, “PUBLIC SPEAKS AND CARNIVAL WILL BE HELD… That the Mid-Pacific Carnival will not be dropped next year on account of the European war was made virtually certain when Director-general Dougherty this afternoon issued the following statement:”

The statement is very long. The point is that planning for the 1915 event was soon back on track. The August 22, Honolulu Star Bulletin carried an article headlined “MAINLAND FIRMS TO SUBMIT BIDS ON POSTER WORK, The Promotion Committee this morning forwarded to Secretary H.P. Wood, who will arrive in San Fransisco on the Manoa Monday, a cable-gram requesting him to at once call for bids from publishing concerns in the coast city for printing the 1915 Mid-Pacific Carnival posters, mailing cards, postal cards and stickers…

“The specifications call for printing 7,000 posters, 50,000 postal cards, 30,000 mailing cards and 200,000 stickers. The posters are to be delivered in Honolulu not later than October 15.”


1915 Poster Design Selected

On September 15, 1914, an article appeared in the Garden Island headlined “A POSTER DESIGN FOR THE CARNIVAL”. As this image became one of the most popular and most widely-reproduced Hawaiian themed images ever, I have decide to let you read about it for yourselves (see Figure 22).



Figure 22. An iconic design is selected.



A follow up article ran in the September 29, 1914 Garden Island headlined “POSTERS SOON TO BE DISTRIBUTED, Honolulu – shortly after October 15, the Promotion Committee will begin its distribution of the 1915 Mid-Pacific Carnival posters. The printing is being done by a San Fransisco firm…

“Owing to the present war, the Committee believes that it will be impossible to at once secure distribution of posters throughout those European countries from which the United States – and Hawaii – has drawn many tourists in the past… The Carnival is to be given wide publicity ion the mainland through the distribution of the posters in all the states. The will also be scattered throughout Canada.

“Several thousand posters and mailing cards, and an even greater number of stickers, each bearing a reproduction of the poster design will be given out free by the Committee for use by local residents in sending to their friends on the mainland and elsewhere. Posters will also be given to local persons desiring them.”

Posters. Because the Committee believed posters could not be distributed throughout Europe, the 1915 Mid Pacific Carnival poster saw the lowest printing of any in the series (7,000). To my knowledge, no original examples of this beautiful poster have been recorded. If you visit Hawaii today – or search the internet –  you will find the image has been reproduced on everything imaginable.

Postcards. This is my own favorite postcard in the series – and I can tell you that I am not alone! It had the highest number printed for any postcard in the series that I was able to verify (50,000) and this helps explain why it is the the easiest to acquire today.

It was lithographed by another of the pioneering San Fransisco Lithographers, the Louis Roesch Co (see Figure 23). The card has no printed message on the back. For more on this company and the 1919 California hunting licenses they produced, click here.



Figure 23. 1915 Mid Pacific Carnival Postcard.



When the image was first revealed in 1914, it was met with general approval. However, there were reservations from some concerned citizens in the territory. An article was placed in a rather prominent position (page two) of the February 6, 1915 Honolulu Star Bulletin under the headline “ADVERTISING HAWAII, The large Mid-Pacific Carnival posters depict the Hawaiian women as walking about with a short grass skirt tied around their waist, that and nothing else for the rest [is] stark naked.

“The post cards carry a picture of a young Hawaiian girl in the same state of savage semi-nudeness. And thus it has been for years. It gives the tourist the impression that since we keep advertising these half-naked women we must consider them our chief attraction and greatest asset…

“Rather should we impress upon people on the mainland the fact that Hawaii is a civilized country, and that its women dress themselves as carefully and properly as their sisters on the coast. In every other way we are extremely anxious to to prove how far advanced we are, how Americanized we have become, but when it comes to advertising our beautiful islands we we must picture our modest and civilized Hawaiian girl as a savage, half-naked belle of the south seas.”

There is no doubt that Hawaiian women’s bodies were commodified and used to promote an exotic allure to the mainland (and elsewhere) in the early 20th century. Further, this proved a very effective strategy – one that obviously was not lost on the Hawaii Promotion Committee.

For those wishing to read more on this subject, I recommend Staging Tourism – Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World by Jane C. Desmond (The University of Chicago Press, 1999).

When I look at this image, I initially see a breathtaking example of poster art – with near perfect composition, letter placement and pleasing chromolithography. In moments it begins to work its magic and takes me back to Waikiki in a simpler time. Yes, for me the image does evoke longing. However, not for the girl – but for the tranquil and tropical setting.

Mailing Cards. We know that 30,000 mailing cards were produced to advertise the 1915 Mid Pacific Carnival – nearly as many as the number of postcards in 1914 (40,000) – and I am only aware of two that have survived. I find this to be remarkable. It makes clear the ephemeral nature of the Floral Parade and Mid Pacific Carnival advertising materials. The mailing cards have the same measurements as in 1914, approximately 4.5 x 7 inches (see Figure 24).



Figure 24. 1915 Mid Pacific Carnival mailing card. Image courtesy of Norb Wild.



Poster Stamps. I have seen twice as many examples of this stamp as all the others in the series combined. And it is no wonder – as 200,000 were printed! The stamp was produced with a bright yellow border and the printing is less detailed than in the past – resulting in an almost comic-book effect. The stamp is very popular with all kinds of collectors, especially those seeking poster stamps or Cinderellas (see Figure 25). I have yet to run across one affixed to a cover or postcard.



Figure 25. 1915 poster stamp.



Update (May 2019): While searching on Ebay today, I saw an example of another type of Mid Pacific Carnival poster stamp from 1915. It jogged my memory and, after a little searching through my own collection, I located a stock card with a group of three different monochromatic poster stamps that were also used to publicize the 1915 event. If you take a close look at the Hui-Nalu Follies program shown in Figures 2 and 3, it is obvious these were designed by Ned Steel and Lew Henderson.

The additional stamps are much smaller than the one shown in Figure 25, measuring approximately 30 x 43 mm and they are rouletted vs perforated. Judging from their relatively simplistic appearance, it seems unlikely these were produced by the Louis Roesch Co. in San Fransisco; more likely by one of the local newspaper publishers in Honolulu. I cannot tell you if the printing figure of 200,000 above includes the monochromatic stamps. However, it should be noted that unlike the stamp in Figure 25, these are seldom encountered today.





Also in 1915, the Matson Navigation Company had a similar poster-style postcard printed to advertise their cruises to Hawaii. It featured a Hawaiian girl (fully clothed) playing a guitar with a volcano in the background, the blue waters of the Pacific and tropical palm trees to her right.

All of these Hawaiian themes would soon become ubiquitous when advertising Hawaii to the mainland and the rest of the world. In this case, Matson had a steamship inserted in the midst of this glimpse of paradise (see Figure 26).



Figure 26. Matson Navigation postcard, circa 1915. Note the “M” on the smokestack of the steamship – an early example of subliminal advertising.



1916 Poster Design

Unlike previous years, there was no contest held for the 1916 Mid Pacific Carnival poster design. Rather, a “Chief of Staff of Carnival Artists” was appointed by Carnival Director-General E.H. Cooper. According to an article in the August 4, 1915 Honolulu Star Bulletin, the position was filled by Francis Josef Catton, a draughtsman with the local firm of Ripley & Davis.

A longer article in the August 6, 1915 Hawaiian Gazette was headlined “CARNIVAL POSTER DESIGN BY CATTON HAS BEEN ADOPTED, The Carnival advertisement designed by Francis Joseph Catton [will be] reproduced in full size as a poster… An edition of ten thousand copies of the poster will be printed for distribution by the Hawaiian Promotion Committee, through its connections with the passenger and advertising departments of the great railway systems and tourist agencies on the mainland.

“Ten thousand miniature copies, printed as picture post cards, will be held in stock here, for the use of Honolulans, their friends and guests, who wish to mail them…”

The August 13, 1915 Honolulu Star Bulletin added “[Catton] studied art and architecture in the University of California and later was on the staff of the San Fransisco Examiner.”


1916 Poster Distributed

The November 13, 1915 Honolulu Star Bulletin carried a rather lengthy article outlining the distribution of the 1916 Mid Pacific Carnival Poster. Headlined “GAY CARNIVAL POSTER ISSUED – Total Edition Will Be 10,000 Copies of Which 8,000 Will Go to the Mainland, The Carnival poster came out today. One thousand copies were delivered to the Promotion Committee for immediate distribution, and the remainder of the edition of 10,000 will be off the press tomorrow…

“Of the 10,000 copies, 8,000 will go to tourist agencies, transportation companies, hotels, newspaper editors and other centers of publicity on the mainland and the remainder will be held for local consumption.

“Ed Towse, Vice-Chairman of the Promotion Committee, has mapped out a plan of circulation which will cover the islands more thoroughly than ever before. Two copies will be sent to each postmaster and to each plantation officer in the islands.

“Fifty copies will be sent to the Promotion Committee members on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii with a request that they display them to their best advantage. Fifteen copies will be sent to the Kalaupapa settlement on Molokai…

“The Oahu  Railway will post copies at all its stations and the Inter-Island will supply its steamers and agencies. Superintendent Kinney has been asked to send two posters to each public school in the territory. Two hundred copies will be reserved for the business houses of Honolulu and the army post exchanges will be liberally supplied.”

The December 14, 1915 Honolulu Star Bulletin ran a short article under the headline “STEAMSHIP COMPANIES USE CARNIVAL POSTERS, Carnival posters have been received on the coast by the Promotion CommiTtee’s distributing agent, and have been given out by the Great Northern, Matson and Oceanic steamship companies for advertising purposes. That the posters are being put to good use is evident from the fact that the Great Northern has requested an additional 250 of them.”

Posters. Unfortunately, I am not aware that any of the 10,000 posters have survived.

Postcards. The January 5, 1916 Honolulu Star Bulletin dedicated a short article to the postcards. Headlined “ATTRACTIVE POST CARDS ADVERTISE PACIFIC CARNIVAL, Neat attractive postal cards, one side bearing a colored facsimile of the 1916 Mid-Pacific Carnival poster, have been issued from the Star-Bulletin presses for distribution by the Promotion Committee and Carnival directorate.

“The cards form a unique advertising medium, and the Promotion Committee reports that the demand for them is increasing daily. The presswork on the cards is neat and attractive and altogether in keeping with the skill of the poster designer.”

As only 10,000 postcards were printed – 20% of the number printed for the 1915 event and 25% of the number printed for the 1914 event – this helps explain why it is the most difficult in the series for collectors to acquire today. The 1916 Mid Pacific Carnival postcard is rare.

Note the similarities to the postcards shown in Figures 23 and 26. The design includes now common motifs of a girl playing a smaller ukulele (although she does not look very Hawaiian), the waters of the Pacific and the palm trees. Like the Matson card, it even includes a steamship (see Figure 27). No message was printed on the back.



Figure 27. 1916 Mid Pacific Carnival postcard. The artwork it is signed “CATTON ’15” below the bow of the steamship.



It seems as though there was always someone who felt the need to criticize the Mid Pacific Carnival poster designs in the press. Amid growing tension in Asia and the Pacific, this sometimes took on a loathsome tone. The January 8, 1916 Star-Bulletin carried a note from A.P. Taylor of the Promotion Committee: “In our mail this morning was received one of the Mid-Pacific Carnival postcards, which carries a reproduction of the Carnival poster for 1916.

“The card bore the following criticism, in disguised handwriting, and, therefore, anonymous: Find Jap Flag nudder side”. Taylor goes on in defense of the artwork for several paragraphs and ends with “Anyhow, the flag is probably a house-flag – not a national ensign.”

Regardless, this comment is a blunt representation of the growing unease and resentment with which many living in the territory viewed the actions of a then imperialist Japan. The Promotion Committee unwittingly (or not) offered a public forum for this person to express their political view.

My friend Dolores Rowe has an interesting variety of this card which has been overprinted by the Great northern Steamship Company to serve as advertising for their cruises from San Fransisco and Los Angeles to Honolulu (see Figure 28).



Figure 28. 1916 Mid Pacific Carnival postcard with Great Northern overprints at the top and bottom. Image courtesy of Dolores Rowe.



Mailing Cards and Poster Stamps. I can find no record indicating mailing cards or poster stamps were produced for the 1916 Carnival. If anyone has any information on these, please contact me.



Great Northern Advertising

If you recall from the discussion (several paragraphs) above, this was going to be a big promotion for Great Northern and they requested an additional 250 Mid Pacific Carnival Posters. The steamship company also had their own materials printed for the 1916 cruses to Hawaii. I have a number of items that go with Dolores’ postcard. First, I have a Great Northern postcard which was likely printed when they could not get any more cards form the Promotion Committee (see Figure 29).



Figure 29. Great Northern postcard printed to advertise their cruises to Hawaii in 1916.



Second, a similar postcard to the one shown above, with a souvenir menu still attached. The menu is dated January 10, 1916 and inset on a romanticized Hawaiian scene featuring a native woman in front of her thatched hut (see Figure 30).



Figure 30. Great Northern postcard with souvenir menu attached, dated January 10, 1916.



Third, a large Great Northern 3-fold souvenir postcard (PC back) that includes the names of all the passengers on this particular cruise to see “HONOLULU, HILO AND THE MID PACIFIC CARNIVAL (see Figures 31 and 32).



Figure 31. Large Great Northern 3-fold (folded over once) souvenir postcard given to those passengers who visited the Mid Pacific Carnival in 1916.



Figure 32. Enlargement of the upper left area in the postcard shown above.



Also, an unused luggage tag that came with the passenger list postcard above (see Figure 33).



Figure 33. A brightly colored luggage tag issued to passengers on the S.S. Northern Pacific cruise to the Mid Pacific Carnival in 1916.



One last piece to share today. This poster was also used by Great Northern to promote their cruises to Hawaii and the Mid Pacific Carnival in in 1916. It came with the postcard shown in Figure 29 and was another local (northern California) find. It measures 16 x 20 inches, uncropped. It was too large for my scanner, so I had to scan the top and bottom separately and then join them in photoshop.

In this poster we have all the motifs discussed above: a Hawaiian girl with a ukulele at her side, volcano, beautiful blue Pacific, palm trees and a steamship. However, Great Northern has now gone one-up on the Hawaii Promotion Committee and Matson – note the pineapples at the lower left.






Continue to Part Ten…


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