Browse Items (24 total)

CaptainSowlePortrait.jpg
Likely from the early 1800s, this portrait was painted in Canton, China, a fairly common practice for captains at the time. Captain Sowle would very soon after be the first to record discovery of Palmyra, naming it after his ship when they crashed…

Date: 1800

Lloyd_s_Register_of_Shipping Excerpt.pdf
The Lloyd's register was created in the 1700's to track the make and condition of ships merchants used for transporting goods. This page from the 1800 edition shows the entry for the ship Palmyra, which would wreck on Palmyra atoll two years later…

Date: 1800

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NavalChronicle1805-vol12-excerpt.pdf
The Naval Chronicle was the original source for the announcement of Palmyra's discovery by Captain Cornelius Sowle, as described in this excerpt. There are 2 important things to note:

1. The spelling of the captain's name is Sowle, not Sawle, as…

Date: 1805-12

RovingsInThePacificExcerpt.pdf
Excerpt of Voyages Round the World by Edward Fanning, detailing his discovery of Palmyra.

Date: 1833

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VoyagesDiscoveriesInTheSouthSeas.pdf
This extensive account of Fanning's voyages in the South Pacific offer brief descriptions of every event on his adventures. Presented here is a short excerpt describing his discovery of Palmyra, though it was published after the account of the ship…

Date: 1833

Oceanien_Bd_Polynesien.pdf
Title Translation: History and Description of All Countries and Peoples, Oceania, Volume 2

From the Text:
Mit vielen bildlichen Darstellungen von Lagen wichtiger Orte, alten und neuen Denkmälern, Trachten, Geräthschaften, Kunstsachen,…

Date: 1838

Excerpt from Heroine Ships Log.pdf
This excerpt from the ships log of the Heroine, describes their sighting Palmyra on their way through the Pacific in 1844. While not the most descriptive account, it's always great to see passing ships mention Palmyra.

Special thanks to the New…

Date: 1844-03-25

RovingsInThePacificExcerpt.pdf
Edward Lucatt was a merchant based out of Tahiti. He published logs of his travels throughout the Pacific, including a landing at Palmyra in 1848.

Date: 1848-07-21

DirectoryNavPacificOcean-Excerpt.pdf
Detailed index of the known islands and coasts of the Pacific, with descriptions of how to navigate to and through them. Features a short entry on Palmyra, followed by the Samarang Isles, which have been confused with Palmyra.

Date: 1851

Polynesian-6-21-1862.pdf
This brief article described the historically significant but not quite exciting (at the time at least) acquisition of Palmyra as a Hawaiian possession. The original written report of Captain Zenas Bent is included, describing how he left a flag, a…

Date: 1862-06-16

Palmyra Island - USS Portsmouth.JPG
This highly detailed chart from the visit of the USS Portsmouth to Palmyra in 1873, was the standard map used for navigating the waters in and around Palmyra well into the early 1900s, until the US Navy took interest in using Palmyra as a base of…

Date: 1873-12

JournalofUSSPortsmouth-1873.pdf
This journal describes the voyage of the USS Portsmouth as part of the US North Pacific Surveying Expedition, including the first extensive survey of plant and animal life on Palmyra. From the manuscript: "Journal relating to collections made in…

Date: 1874

CarlisleWeeklyHerald-4-2-1874.pdf
This newspaper account comes from a letter, presumably written by a crew member of the USS Portsmouth while on their surveying mission. It describes several details not mentioned other places, and is one of the earliest recordings of certain bird…

Date: 1874-04-02

PocketAtlasMap1887.pdf
This full map of Oceania at the time includes Palmyra and the rest of the Line Islands as known at the time. Very interesting example of navigation tools from the time.

Date: 1887

Sydney Morning Herald 6-11-1888-1.jpg
Brief mention of the British barque Henry James, which was wrecked on an unidentified reef near Palmyra, and whose survivors lived 6 weeks on Palmyra.

Date: 1888-06-11

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johncameronsodys-excerpt.pdf
Collected stories of Captain John Cameron from his sailing trip aboard the Ebon, through the Pacific in the 1890's. This excerpt describes he and his crew's brief stay on Palmyra, including the turtle races they held on the backs of the giant sea…

Date: 1893

LadyLampsonWreckNYTimes.pdf
Article from the New York Times, subtitled: How they escaped from the ship, only to return to it and leave it again - nearly a month on short rations in a boat with an insane man.

Date: 1893-03-20

HawaiianGazette-3-14-1893.pdf
This lengthy article (only the excerpt describing Palmyra has been transcribed), describes the search by the crew of the steam C.R. Bishop for the lost ship Lady Lampson and her crew.

They visited several islands and atolls in the Pacific, but…

Date: 1893-3-14

USHydrographicOfficeMap1897.jpg
This map, based on material from the visit of the USS Portsmouth in 1874 and later material in 1897, was the primary resource used for navigating to and around Palmyra up until the US Navy took possession of the atoll in 1939 and significantly…

Date: 1897

Daily Pacific Commercial Advertiser - 7-6-1903.pdf
Describes in detail the story of the pirate ship Esperanza, wrecked on the reefs outside Palmyra in 1816, along with its survivors. Has a detailed map of Palmyra from the time and a basic history. Same article as posted in the archive at the link…

Date: 1903-07-06

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