About the Plantation Archives

Use and Access

Frequently Asked Questions

- Genealogy Research
- Photos and Maps

Plantations and Finding Aids

Hawaiian Collection
Special Collections
UHM Library
Hawaii Voyager

Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association Plantation Archives

What is in the Plantation Archives?
The Plantation Archives contains the business records of various sugar companies in Hawaii. See About the Plantation Archives for its scope and contents.

Does the Plantation Archives hold records from all sugar plantions in Hawaii?

No, not all. For a list of the plantations included in the Plantation Archives, see Plantations and Finding Aids. For the location of other sugar-related resources in Hawaii, refer to Sugar in Hawaii: a Guide to Historical Resources, compiled and annotated by Susan M. Campbell, edited by Linda Menton. Honolulu: Humanities Program of the State Foundation on culture and the Arts, in cooperation with The Hawaiian Historical Society, 1986.

Have any of the Plantation Archives materials been microfilmed or digitized?
No, they have not. Access to Plantation Archives materials still requires a visit to the UHM Library.

How can I get copies of materials in the Plantation Archives?
Researchers may make photographic copies of materials in the Plantation Archives. Any type of camera is allowed, as long as flash is not used, and as long as use of equipment does not damage or endanger the materials. Photocopying and scanning of materials is not allowed. Researchers requiring the services of UHM Library to reproduce materials should contact a Special Collections librarian (speccoll@hawaii.edu; (808) 956-8264). Publication and use of materials in the Plantation Archives require acknowlegement of the source (see next question).

How do I cite to the Plantation Archives?
Publications quoting from or referring to portions of the Plantation Archives are required to properly acknowledge the source as "Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association Plantation Archives, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library Hawaiian Collection." When citing to a specific document, use the following format: sugar company code, location code, title. Example: Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association Plantation Archives, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library Hawaiian Collection. OSC 1/1, Correspondence from Hackfeld - 1897.

How do I use the Plantation Archives?
The HSPA Plantation Archives is available for use by UHM students, faculty and staff, and the general public, in the reading room of the UHM Library's Special Collections. Access to the Plantation Archives is by appointment only. See Use and Access for further information. For reference desk and reading room hours, see the Special Collections web pages.

If I am planning on visiting Hawaii, how can I arrange to use the Plantation Archives and what should I know?
Access to the Plantation Archives is by appointment only. We ask researchers to review the informational web pages and appropriate plantations' registers and finding aids, and to consult with a reference librarian before submitting a request. Be sure to factor in time for consultation and retrieval (retrieval can take up to 48 hours), and contact us ahead of time, to ensure that your materials can be retrieved in time for your visit. Also note that the hours within which HSPA can be used are limited. See Use and Access for details.

What happens if I miss my appointment time to use the Plantation Archives?
If you need to cancel your appointment, please let us know. If you need to postpone your appointment, please contact us to reschedule. All materials held for appointments not kept or not rescheduled will be reshelved. After that, requests will need to be resubmitted and appointments rescheduled; retrieval will again take up to 48 hours. (speccoll@hawaii.edu; (808) 956-8264)

Can I use the Plantation Archives if I am not able to visit the UHM Library?
Reference librarians at the UHM Library's Special Collections can answer basic questions about the Plantation Archives. Much of the information the librarians can provide is available in these HSPA Plantation Archives web pages. See the Special Collections web pages for reference desk hours, and contact information. For reference inquiries beyond this, the UHM Library's External Services Program (ESP) offers research services on a cost-recovery basis. See ESP's web pages for rates and contact information.

What is the difference between the HSPA Plantation Archives and the archives of the HSPA?
The HSPA Plantation Archives contains the business records of various sugar companies in Hawaii. This collection, originally gathered and organized by the HSPA, was given to and is now held by the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library. For brevity, people sometimes refer to this collection as "HSPA."
The archives of the HSPA contains the business records of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association. These records are kept by HSPA's successor company, the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC).


The Plantation Archives does hold personnel and payroll records from some plantations, but there are no name indexes available. Finding information about a particular person requires manually scanning through the records. Researchers should use the Plantation Archives only after other resources have been checked and after specific details about family members are secured.

What information should I have before I consult the Plantation Archives for information about my family members?
Your research will be most productive if you have the following information: the island the plantation was on, the name of the plantation, your family member's name, the dates during which your family member worked on the plantation, the kind of work your family member did.

What kind of information can I expect to find about people in the Plantation Archives?
Some of the plantations' collections include personnel and payroll records, and some do not. Each plantation's personnel and payroll records vary in volume and type of information kept.

Personnel records, if available, offer any combination of the following types of information: name, type of work, dates of employment, dates of birth and death, family members' names, significant events in the worker's employment history. Most personnel records do not include all of this information. Sometimes only the name was recorded. Personnel records were usually kept grouped by ethnicity and then sorted by bango number (i.e. personnel number) order, not alphabetical order. Ethnicity was implied by the group within which the record is kept. Dates were sometimes not written down, but only implied by the position of the card in the stack.

Payroll records, if available, typically included the following: the pay date, followed by a list of bango numbers (i.e. personnel numbers) and the amount paid to each worker holding that number. Typically, names were not included except in cases of managers or skilled workers.

How do I use the Plantation Archives for my genealogical research?
First determine if the Plantation Archives will be of use to you. Check the list of plantations to see if the one you need is included in the Plantation Archives. If it is, follow the link to the plantation's register and check its Scope and Contents notes for information on the extent of its personnel and payroll holdings. If it looks promising to you, check the finding aid for that plantation and identify the specific records or volumes you need. Submit a request. See Use and Access for further information.


The Plantation Archives' holdings of visual materials such as photos and maps are limited. Please consult this inventory to review the items we have identified from the collection. To review any of them, see Use and Access for instructions on submitting a request for retrieval. We regret that digital copies of these items are not available for online review.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
Hawaiian Collection / Special Collections
2550 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: (808) 956-8264
Fax: (808) 956-5968
E-mail: speccoll@hawaii.edu

Copyright © University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
Last updated: August 2004