University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
Download the PDF version [ 20k ]
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
across a vast expanse of water as wide as the continental United
States are over twenty-one hundred islands that make up the cultural
region known as Micronesia. The area includes three major archipelagoes:
the Marshalls, Carolines, and Marianas. (Culturally, Micronesia
includes Kiribati and Nauru, but the separate political history
of these countries excludes them from the archives discussed here.)
Having passed through colonial rule by the Spanish, Germans, and
Japanese, the islands of Micronesia became a United States administered
United Nations strategic trusteeship following World War II. This
new arrangement was named the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
Initially under Navy control, the islands were transferred to
the U.S. Dept. of the Interior in 1951. Administrative headquarters,
originally in Honolulu, moved to Guam, and finally to Saipan.
For administrative purpose, the TTPI divided the islands of Micronesia
into six districts based on earlier colonial precedent: the Marshalls,
Ponape, Truk, Marianas, Yap, and Palau, with the later addition
Beginning in the 1970s the districts began voting to end the trustee
relationship with the U.S. In 1986 the US notified the UN that
its obligations were fulfilled. The UN officially dissolved the
Trust Territory in 1990. Palau, the last of the Trust Territory
districts, voted to end its trustee status in 1994.
Today the Former Trust Territory is comprised of four separate,
Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas
Federated States of Micronesia, comprised of Kosrae, Pohnpei
(Ponape), Chuuk (Truk), and Yap
Republic of the Marshall Islands
Republic of Palau (Belau)
Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas is a US commonwealth and
its residents are US citizens. The other three countries have
approved compacts of free association with the US, which provide
for full self-government except for defense, which they delegate
to the U.S.Further information is also available in the
CIA World Factbook).
of the Trust Territory Archives
the emergence of the new entities, the US began to close down
operations in the region in the early 1980s. Sam McPhetres, a
member of the High Commissioner's staff, devised a program to
preserve the records of the Trust Territory Government. In collaboration
with the University of Hawaii
Library, all government files on Saipan were surveyed. The
materials were microfilmed and concurrently, Mr. McPhetres and
his staff created a computer index to the records. Over 2,000
reels of microfilm were sent the University of Hawaii Library,
where the Pacific Collection produced another negative set (a
user positive set) and coordinated duplication of all the microfilm
for the Micronesian governments through funds provided by the
Department of the Interior.
the end of the project, the University of Hawaii Library sent
complete sets of all microfilm to archives in Saipan, Palau, Pohnpei,
and Major. The Trust Territory Government donated the University
of Hawaii Library the photograph collection, a small collection
of films, videotapes and audiocassettes, and a large map collection.
This project, huge in scope, had achieved a unique goal by putting
on film nearly all Trust Territory Government files. The photograph,
audiovisual, and map collections added a special dimension to
the holdings at the University of Hawaii Library. In 1988, the
Trust Territory of the Pacific Index database was made accessible
online via the Library's first automated system.
history of the American period in Micronesia, recorded in the
Trust Territory Archives, is of vital interest to those studying
American diplomatic history, political development, applied anthropology,
education in developing area, Third World health problems, and
a host of other topics. It is a particular significance for the
US, and the history of Micronesia involves a major portion of
US involvement in the Pacific since World War II. The triumphs
and the tragedies of American Policy in Micronesia are contained
in the Trust Territory Archives. Never before has a colonial power
passed on to newly independent nations and to posterity such a
compact, accessible record of activities, policies, and programs.
The Photograph Collection adds the invaluable usual record of
the people, places, and events of the American period, thus fleshing
out the paper files with the tangible evidence that gives personality
and affords further study opportunities for the researcher.
Territory Archives Photograph Collection
The Trust Territory Archives Photograph Collection is a unique resource
of 50,000 photographs and 2,000 slides that documents the history
of the American period in Micronesia (1947-1988), and includes invaluable
visual representations of island cultures. Much of this material was
salvaged from the former Trust Territory Headquarters on Saipan, and
owes its very existence to the persistence of former Trust Territory
Archivist Sam McPhetres and his team, who were engaged in microfilming
the files of the American administration.
The Trust Territory Archives Photograph Collection is made up
of two separate collections. The largest set (originally housed
in 126 binders) contains photographs by the various government
photographers and others, including extensive work by the former
Public Affairs Department,. public relations photographs, work
for Trust Territory publications such as the newsletter, Highlights,
the quarterly magazine, Micronesian Reporter, the annual
report to the United Nations, and for textbook production are
included in this huge file of photographs. The photographs cover
a wide range of activities, such as the visits of US Congressional
teams, school graduations, cultural events such as the building
of a traditional Palauan bai, gatherings of chiefs, meetings of
the Congress of Micronesia, speeches by the High Commissioner,
agricultural projects, the Micronesian Olympics, United Nations
Day celebrations and similar festivals.
second and small collection (originally 18 binders) within the
group is that referred to as the "Peacock Collection."
These materials were organized by former Trust Territory Supervisor
of the Library Services, Daniel J. Peacock, as a project for the
Trust Territory Department of Education. Peacock had photographs
made of illustrations in early ethnographic and historic published
works on Micronesia. These were arranged by subject and by district,
so that one could easily access, for example, canoe building in
Yap. In addition, Peacock contracted a skilled professional photographer
to do a series of works showing places and people throughout Micronesia.
These were interfiled with the photographs of historical illustrations.
The Peacock Collection was created as a resource for curriculum
development for education staff and teachers. Because most of
this material may involve copyright questions, the Pacific Collection
decided not to scan these photographs for the new database. They
are, however, listed in the Trust Territory Archives online index,
and available for viewing at the Pacific Collection.
resources of the Trust Territory Archives Photograph Collection
will prove invaluable to the historian, but they will also be
used for research in biographical studies, architecture, ethnography,
art, education, geography, fisheries and a variety of other fields.
Those who have already utilized the collection include historians,
ethnographic researchers, textbook authors, teachers, specialist
in disaster relief, and economic development workers. The photograph
collection can provide unique illustrations for academic monographs,
textbooks, dissertations, theses, research papers and journal
articles. Photographs from the collection have appeared in Don
Farrell's 1991 work, History of the Northern Mariana Island,
and Trust Territory Photograph Collection material will be part
of the illustration for the twentieth century portion of Francis
X. Hezel's forthcoming history of Micronesia. This collection
will also be a prime source for use by those in Micronesian nations
who are attempting to trace photographs of family members, as
well as broader historical events.
the University of Hawaii Library received the Trust Territory
Archives Photograph Collection, there were photographs with and
without negatives, and many negatives existed with no positive
print copies or contact sheets. During the two year project to
produce a digitized database using photographs from the Trust
Territory collection, Library staff have worked to create negative
and positive copies for the files.
Photograph Collection is included in the online index to the overall
Trust Territory Archives (as a separate database on UHCARL). When
the University of Hawaii Library received the Trust Territory
Archives original index tapes, the data was reorganized in MARC
format to conform to the University of Hawaii Library cataloging
(and to national standards), and entered as a subsystem in the
Library's online catalog. The indexing done on Saipan organized
photographs by group according to subject. Thus, for example,
a collection of twenty-seven photographs indexed as High Commissioner
Elbert D. Thomas in Honolulu, 1951-1952, also contains photographs
of other individuals from the Trust Territory administration and
the old Trust Territory headquarters at Fort Ruger. A folder of
photographs was assembled and given a general heading, rather
than having cataloging done for each separate photograph, negative
or slide. Part of the digitizing project (discussed below) involved
providing descriptions of individual selected photographs to allow
greater access to material in the collection.
Archives Digitized Database
In 1991 the University of Hawaii Library received a federal grant
for a pilot project to create a digitized database using the Trust
Territory Archives Photo Collection. This page provides background
information on the University of Hawaii Pacific Collection, the
history of the Trust Territory Archives, and the digitizing project.
Illustrations provide samples of photographs from the Trust Territory
Archives (select thumbnail to view enlarged image). It is hoped
that this publication will disseminate information on a valuable
In Fall 1998, three areas of the Special Collections were recently awarded
an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
grant to fund a two-year project to begin developing a digital library of Hawaiian
and Pacific Islands materials. The project involves expanding access to the Trust
Territory of the Pacific Islands Photo Collection. Details are available in the
In 1991 the University of Hawaii Library received a Higher Education
Act Title II-C federal grant under the category "Strengthening
Library Resources." The project was designed to inventory
and select significant items from the Trust Territory Archives
Photograph Collection, add descriptive information to the existing
bibliographic records, scan photographs and slides to produce
a digital image file, and link the digitized image to the online
catalog record. The Library employed digitizing technology as
a means of preserving archival photographs; the online viewing
of images eliminated much of the need for handling of archival
photographs. The University of Hawaii Library staff involved in
the project included Mr. Tom Brown, UH Library Photographer; Ms.
Martha Chantiny, Systems Librarian; Dr. Karen M. Peacock, Pacific
Collection Curator; Ms. Ann Toyota Rabinko, Project manager, and
a number of student assistants.
After initial research and procurement processing, a microcomputer,
scanner and software for scanning production were set up in January
1992. Although the University of Hawaii Library used procedures
developed by the Boulder Public Library digitizing project and
CARL Systems Inc., the "starter" documentation provided
to the Library required updating via experimentation with scanning
and cataloging. Ms. Chantiny and Ms. Rabinko crated processing
procedures and learned to use the scanning software and equipment
and CARL software used to update the bibliographic records. As
the work proceeded, inventory and rehousing was also done.
Pacific Curator Karen Peacock surveyed each set of photographs
and selected those which would become part of the digitized database.
When an image to be scanned had only a negative, the Library Photographer
made a positive print and vice versa. Curator Peacock composed
descriptions for each photograph, and student workers under Ms.
Rabinko's supervision added this information to the bibliographic
record. The photographs were then scanned and linked to the record.)
For technical details, see Chantiny's 1993 article, "Incorporating
Digitized Images in the UHCARL PAC Online Catalog," Library
Software Review, 12(1):22-26.)
By December 1993, six thousand images were digitized, and these
form the new database, which is accessible through workstations
in the Pacific Collection and elsewhere in Hamilton Library. Approximately,
50,000 photographs were surveyed, and twelve percent of the total
collection was selected for inclusion in the digitized database.
It should be noted that many of the files include a variety of
photographs of the same individual or event, as is the common
practice of photographers. In such cases, usually only one photograph
was selected to represent a series of shots of the same person/event.
In addition, because this collection had its origins in the daily
work of the former Trust Territory Government, there were many
files with construction and engineering photographs that had no
great historical or cultural interest, and these were excluded
from the database. These photographs are, however, included in
the Trust Territory Archives Index on the UHCARL online catalog.
The University of Hawaii Library hopes that users of the new database
will provide Pacific Collection staff with any information that
might further enhance the records of the Trust Territory Archives
Index. While doing historical, political, or were not known to
the project staff. Such information can be added to the records,
to increase the usefulness of the system for all researchers.
The Trust Territory Archives Photograph collection's digitized
database offers a wide range of image to the researcher in an
efficient and convenient fashion. The user is able to keyword
search the Trust Territory Archives Index, identify bibliographic
records of interest, call up images of the photographs listed
as part of a particular record and view these images on the workstation
screen. One can also print copies of images found in the database.
This resource offers grater access and helps to preserve the valuable
images that record significant moments in the history of Micronesia.
former Trust Territory is now comprised of four separate, self-governing
districts. To learn more about each country group, click on the
links below to open a new browser window.
of the Northern Marianas government page
States of Micronesia: Kosrae, Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk),
States of Micronesia government page
States of Micronesia Visitors Board
of the Marshall Islands
of the Marshall Islands official RMI page
of Palau (Belau)
National Communications Corporation
of Palau (Belau) Visitors Bureau
1993 Incorporating Digitized Images in the UHCARL PAC Online Catalog.
Library Software Review 12(1):22-26.
1992 The Practical User's Guide to The Trust Territory Archives.
Mangilao, Guam: Micronesian Area Research Center, University of
Guam. MARC Educational Series No. 14. (Note: This guide deals
primarily with the printed index that was prepared by the Trust
Territory Archives on Saipan, But has much information that related
to the content of the records in the UH Library's online index.)
Peacock, Karen M.
1989 Across All Micronesia: Records of the US Trust Territory
of the Pacific Islands. The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal
of Island Affairs 1(1):168-172.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Call, write, fax, e-mail your comments and inquiries:
Curator, Pacific Collection
University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
2550 The Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: (808) 956-8264; Fax: (808) 956-5968