Found in the Archives

1934 Hawaiian Visit

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

FDR, adorned with flower leis.
FDR, adorned with flower leis.

The Hawaiian Islands, located at the northernmost part of Polynesia,  were annexed by the United States in 1898, and in 1959 became the nation’s 50th state. By the time of Roosevelt’s presidency Hawaii was characterized by an incredible diversity of cultural ancestry, including Native Hawaiian, pan-Asian and North American. To this day, the state remains one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world.

In July of 1934 FDR became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Territory of Hawaii. He traversed the Pacific aboard the USS Houston,  debarked at both the ports of Hilo and Honolulu, and stayed on the Islands for several days to tour both cultural landmarks and military areas. The people of Hawaii made every attempt to welcome the President and share with him the best of Hawaiian culture, both ancient and modern.

Original caption reads: "The Last of the Royalty of Hawaii Salutes the President - 26July 1934."
Original caption reads: “The Last of the Royalty of Hawaii Salutes the President – 26July 1934.”

When FDR arrived at Honolulu he was greeted by an estimated 60,000 people, including a flotilla of traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoes. He was adorned with customary flower leis, was an honored guest at a traditional luau feast complete with a kalua pig cooked in a traditional imu (underground oven), and the legendary surfer, Duke Kahanamoku, gave lessons to FDR’s sons. Roosevelt’s Hawaiian hosts  also showed him the most modern of their New Deal inspired building developments and educational facilities.

FDR's itinerary for July 26, 1934 included military inspections and a Hawaiian luau.
FDR’s itinerary for July 26, 1934 included military inspections and a Hawaiian luau.

In his departing remarks to the people of Hawaii on July 28th, the President thanked them and wished to all, “Aloha from the bottom of my heart.” FDR’s next and final visit to Hawaii would take place ten years later, in 1944, near the end of World War II. By that time the small yet influential Pacific Island chain had taken on a more infamous role in world history.

The National Archives has shared a new “set” on the Flickr photosharing website that contains photos and documents relating to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. See the images.

2 thoughts on “Found in the Archives

  1. Interesting but says nothing about what made FDR such a great president (the dismal Warren Harding could have made such a trip and would have been greeted similarly, simply because he was a President of the United States,

    Here are some dates from one May in FDR’s presidency, May of 1933 — in the middle of FDR’s unprecedented and never-since matched First One Hundred Days as president:

    May 7, 1933 — FDR gave his second Fireside Chat and reviewed the remarkable progress, thus far, of his New Deal programs and initiatives.

    May 12, 1933 — FDR’s Federal Emergency Relief Act was created with $500 million to provide employment for the millions of Americans who had been unemployed and unable to find jobs.

    FDR created the Agricultural Adjustment Act and Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, to reduce $200 million worth of surplus production and protect farmers from losing their farms through foreclosure.

    May 18, 1933 — FDR pushed passage of the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region especially hard hit by the Great Depression. Many Americans were thus provided with electricity for the first time in their lives.

    May 27, 1933 — FDR’s Federal Securities Act was passed, establishing the Securities and Exchange Commission and requiring that before securities could be offered for sale they had to be accompanied by full and true disclosure. Thereafter, misleading information or the absence of pertinent information could result in prosecution.

  2. I think its time for some of the FDR Library staffers to do some required reading about FDR and his marvelous legacy as president.

    Here are some books that all the FDR Library staffers should have read by now:

    “FDR” by Jean Edward Smith
    “Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt 1882-1905” by Geoffrey C. Ward
    “A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt” by Geoffrey C. Ward
    “Franklin Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy 1932-1945” by Robert Dallek
    “The Juggler” by Warren Kimball
    “The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America” by James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn
    “Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History” by Robert E. Sherwood
    “The FDR Years: On Roosevelt and His Legacy” by William E. Leuchtenburg
    “Nothing to Fear: FDR in Photographs” by Hugh Gregory Gallagher
    “Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom” by Conrad Black
    “Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox” by James MacGregor Burns
    “Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America” by Adam Cohen
    “Five Days in Philadelphia; 1940,Wendell Willkie and the Political Convention That freed FDR to Win World War II” by Charles Peters
    “FDR: A Centenary Remembrance 1882-1945” by Joseph Alsop.
    “No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II” by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    “Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship” by Jon Meacham
    “Eleanor & Franklin” by Joseph P. Lash
    “Working With Roosevelt” by Samuel Rosenman
    “One Christmas in Washington: The Secret Meeting Between Roosevelt and Churchill That Changed the World” by David Bercuson and Holger H. Herwig

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