# 33864

DIBBLE, Sheldon (1809 - 1845)

History of the Sandwich Islands

$8,500.00 AUD

Lahainaluna : Press of the Mission Seminary, 1843. Octavo, full calf with flat panelled spine, ruled in gilt with contrasting morocco title label, gilt lettering (the binding with edge wear, recently polished, joints expertly repaired), posthumous bookplate (dated 1912) for the library of distinguished Hawaiian businessman and diplomat Henry Alpheus Pierce Carter (1837 – 1891) to front pastedown, folding engraved map, pp. viii; 451, a few knowledgeable early pen and pencil corrections (by Carter?), pale foxing, a very good copy.

“Sheldon Dibble’s history of Hawaii, the first full scale history printed in the Islands, is one of the most important documents of its time. Much of the history was derived from personal interviews and eyewitness accounts of events, and it gives details of events not easily found elsewhere” – Forbes, p. 343.

Six hundred copies were printed at the Lahainaluna Mission Press (Maui), of which five hundred were locally bound for distribution on the Islands, and one hundred sets of sheets sent to Boston where they were bound in black cloth. Later in 1843, an appendix was issued (printed in either Lahainaluna or Honolulu) to include an account of the ‘Provisional Cession’ and restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy, as well as four engraved topographical views (printed in Lahainaluna), which can be found in later copies.

A devout Christian, Dibble’s History is notable for his highly critical commentary on Captain Cook, in particular his adaptation of Christianity to accord with local beliefs and customs. ‘Cook’s reputation in the United States suffered for some years from the biased attitude of Dibble and other missionaries’ – Holmes, p. 75,



Holmes, 89; Beddie, 2479; Hill II, 476 (with notes on Dibble’s anti-Cook bias); Forbes, 1383 (with a lengthy four page description of the publication history)


Provenance :

Posthumous bookplate for distinguished Hawaiian diplomat and businessman Henry Alpheus Pierce Carter to front pastedown, designed by Charles Selkirk, dated 1912.

‘Henry Alpheus Peirce Carter was probably the ablest diplomat ever to serve the Hawaiian kingdom. Born in Honolulu of nonmissionary American parents, he married a daughter of Dr. G. P. Judd, missionary physician who played so important a role in the reign of Kamehameha III. Carter had won a position of leadership in the business life of Hawaii before he entered the service of the government.40 He was a man of great energy, of positive views and facility in the expression of them, with a self-confident and forceful manner that sometimes antagonized those who disagreed with him. From 1875 until his death he spent most of his time abroad, as a diplomatic representative of the Hawaiian kingdom in the United States and Europe, where he became a familiar and much respected figure.’ Ralph Simpson Kuykendall, The Hawaiian kingdom, vol. 3, 1874-1893, The Kalakaua dynasty, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1967, p. 491.

Leo Tavares collection, Kula, Maui, Hawaii

Acquired from the above