USGS
Hawaiian Volcano 
Observatory


PUBLICATIONS AND DOCUMENTS

Much of the most reliable data about the history of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is contained in its publications. Two publication series had long runs, covering the period from before the 1912 start through and beyond the pioneering period. These were the Bulletin and the Volcano Letter.

Jaggar once, in his annual address as Director of HVO (Jaggar, 1917b), characterized "the proper work of volcanic recording'' with two words--permanency and extension. Permanency depended on continued financial support. Publication was the method of keeping informed the 150 members (in 1916) of the HVRA, whose membership provided the guaranteed $5,000 a year of local support. Extension was also seen to be a purpose of publication--to interest scientists and governments overseas in sponsoring permanent volcano observatories.

The vehicle that served both roles of "permanency" and "extension" was the weekly report of volcanic activity prepared by the HVO staff. Taking their cue from the 6 popular weekly reports filed with the press in 1911 by Perret, Jaggar and others wrote another 1,249 weekly press reports, many labeled as bulletins. They constitute an uninterrupted series from January 18, 1912, through December 29, 1935. The last weekly press report, numbered 1,249, was published in the Volcano Letter (no. 430) in December 1935.

The weekly Bulletin was a regular feature in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (now the Honolulu Advertiser). By arrangement with the Bishop Museum (Jaggar, 1917a), a carbon copy of each typewritten report was sent to that Honolulu institution. Soon a second carbon went to the Hilo Tribune-Herald. Appearance of HVO's weekly reports in two newspapers served to inform islanders and tourists about volcanic activity at Kilauea and Mauna Loa, and it kept the observatory in the public eye.

Reprints in leaflet form of the weekly press reports in the Advertiser were mailed by HVRA from Honolulu from 1912 through July 1, 1914, to the 150 or so members of the HVRA and to 200 or more institutions and individuals worldwide on the HVRA's exchange list. Beginning in August 1914, the weekly reports of each month were combined into a monthly before being mailed by HVRA; this practice continued through July 1929. Over the years, while there were some issues without any special back page, the published and mailed leaflet bulletins generally carried informational back pages of ten different designs (Apple, 1985).

The other regular and long-running publication of HVO was the Volcano Letter, which was printed and mailed weekly beginning the first week of January 1925, apparently to the same subscription list as the bulletins. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory thus had for the years 1925-1929 both a weekly and a monthly publication. In 1930 the two were combined; the weekly press bulletins became a part of the Volcano Letter. The Volcano Letter ceased being a weekly and became a monthly with the June 1932 issue. It went quarterly in 1939, and was finally discontinued in 1955.

The Bulletin and Volcano Letter usually carried the bylines of the scientists involved in their writing. Both often contained illustrations, including photographic halftone plates. The Bulletin dealt mostly with day-to-day raw data, while the Letter was the vehicle for more digested data, summaries, conclusions, reviews, news, predictions, opinions, and project status reports, not only in Hawaii but worldwide.

Over the years there were other serial publications for short times--monthly, quarterly, semiannual, and annual reports, as well as special publications.

The Volcano Letter was published first by the HVRA and then by the University of Hawaii. USGS publications continued the record of observations after the Volcano Letter was discontinued.

Additional information on the history of HVO is in the original holographs and manuscripts at the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, the first archival repository. These include Kilauea record books, by months and years (from 1912 on); folders full of notes, by years; photographic albums and photographic negatives; guest books; carbon copies of weekly reports; and copies of early bulletins.

The University Archives, University of Hawaii, Manoa, has HVRA files and records, the personal papers of Jaggar, some HVO material, and related sources. It was the second archival repository.

The third repository is the University of Hawaii, Hilo. Its Mo'okini Library has a continuing file, by years, starting before 1912, of copies of non-HVO-sponsored publications by Jaggar and others of the HVO staff, copies of the Bulletin and Volcano Letter, HVO special publications, documents sent in recent years for safekeeping, and my own collection of holographic material (Apple collection), prepared over the years and used in this history. Some material is also available in the HVO library for reference use by the staff.

Bulletin and Volcano Letter deadlines over the pioneering years did not keep the professional staff from making numerous professional contributions to scientific journals and periodicals published by others. Bibliographies of contributions by staff members of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory contain copious entries.

ABSTRACT
INTRODUCTION
JAGGER AND THURSTON: BACKGROUND
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

BEGINNINGS OF THE OBSERVATORY

PIONEERING, 1912-1953

BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES
TECHNOLOGY STATION (1911-1918)
INSTRUMENT HOUSES
WHITNEY LABORATORY OF SEISMOLOGY (1912-PRESENT)
OTHER FACILITIES
BUILDING 41 (1940-PRESENT)
BUILDING 131 AT UWEKAHUNA (1927-PRESENT)
NEW BUILDING AT UWEKAHUNA (1985-PRESENT)

VOLCANO EXPERIMENTS

MAUNA LOA
ACCESS ROUTES AND FACILITIES
THE 1926 ERUPTION
CONTROLLING LAVA FLOWS

THE OHIKI AND OTHER EXPERIMENTS

SEISMOLOGY
INSTRUMENTS
TRAVEL TIMES OF EARTHQUAKE WAVES
SCALES OF EARTHQUAKE INTENSITY
TSUNAMIS

TILT

SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC

REFERENCES CITED

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