Trust Territory Archives Photograph Collection, circa 1958-1975

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.

The 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.

The Photograph Collection is included in the online index to the overall Trust Territory Archives. 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.

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Collection Items