Image Credit: Boy Scout troop on the Catholic Mission grounds in Honolulu July 1912 (Photo courtesy of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts U.S. Province)

On Saturday, November 22, 2014 I joined some fellow students with the Society of American Archivists student chapter to complete a service project for the Provincial Archives of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts. One of the really cool parts of this project is that the archive was located in the dormitories for the brothers, or in other words, a monastery!

Stuart Ching, the provincial archivist first showed us around the facility, gave us information about the collection and answered our questions. This interesting collection dates back to 1825 and has items in languages such as Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, French, Latin, Italian, and Dutch. Some of the records you will find in this archive are:

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs of missionaries, churches and communities
  • Early 20th century glass plate negatives documenting people and life at the Kalaupapa Settlement on Molokai’
  • Scrapbooks
  • 19th century mission publication materials in the Hawaiian language
  • Seminary records
  • Missionary journals
  • Plans
  • Communion chalices
  • Memorabilia; and
  • Father Damien‘s carpentry tools, vestments, and other similar items.

(AHA, 2014)

After showing us around and introducing us to the collection, Stuart brought out a box of photo albums dating from the early 1900’s to present day. These photo albums had recently been wrapped in plastic and frozen for a specific duration of time in order to kill any pests which may be present from previous storage. Stuart explained that originally the collection was housed in another part of the island and were at one time partially processed by a sister. However, time passed and as materials were collected the items were stacked into a room and eventually became filled with silver fish, dust, spiders and other pests.  Our mission was to help to clear any debris and/or pests from the photo albums so that the images can be introduced to the main collection and digitized at a later date.

We spent the morning (9am – 11:00am) brushing out dirt, frass and other debris and were able to process 6 boxes of photo albums from various time periods. This was a wonderful opportunity to refresh our processing skills, work with photographic materials and to learn more about the archival environment and creating a stable archive from the ground up. A big mahalo to the brotherhood and to Stuart Ching for allowing us to donate our time and skills to this project!

Visit the collection!

This collection is free and open to the public. To visit, please contact the archivist, Stuart Ching at

Related News

Hawai’i Catholic Herald, Grant will help make Sacred Hearts historic photos accessible to public

Association of Hawai’i Archivists, Repository Spotlight: Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC) United States Province Archives