Discovering, Preserving & Sharing Palmyra's Lost History

Welcome to PADA! You’ve discovered the largest collection of historical material on the Palmyra Atoll. Founded in 2016, the archive has one simple goal: discover, preserve, and share Palmyra’s history. Much of the material you’ll find while browsing our collections was lost, undiscovered, misfiled, or just generally unknown. Countless hours of research, conversation, digitization, cataloguing, and general passionate dedication (bordering on healthy obsession) have produced this collection. Below you’ll find helpful links to popular topics from Palmyra’s history, including our ever growing Bibliography of external resources, original Exhibits highlighting events and people from the atoll’s past (the Esperanza treasure legend is especially popular), and the area I’m most proud of, our Collections.

In January of 2019, I had the chance to spend a week on Palmyra.  This video showcases some of the highlights from my time on the atoll, including exploring the remnants of World War 2 structures left by the Navy, and interacting with the wide variety of wildlife thriving there. 

Special thanks to the Nature Conservancy and their staff for the ongoing support of preserving Palmyra’s history, and for making the trip possible!

You can learn more about the work being done to preserve and improve Palmyra since its purchase by the Nature Conservancy in 2000 by visiting our Palmyra Today section.  If you would like to learn more about how PADA got started and who runs it, visit our About the Archive page. I love to hear from our visitors, and do my best to respond to inquiries as soon as possible. If you have a story from when you or a family member spent on the atoll, a question about an event or person, a correction I need to make in our content, or just want to say hello, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me!

Whatever you might find while visiting the archive, I want to thank you for visiting and taking the time to explore the history of, what I consider, the most interesting and under appreciated place on the planet.

Popular Topics

From 1920 to 1999, the Fullard-Leo Family owned and cared for Palmyra, before selling it to the Nature Conservancy. Explore our collection of photos and publications describing their history.

From 1992 to 1999, French sailor and renaissance man Roger Lextrait managed Palmyra, welcome visitors and keeping the atoll safe. Explore video and photos from his unique time on the atoll.

As early as 1843, scientists have visited Palmyra to study its unique flora and fauna. Explore our collection of photos and documents to learn how science has benefited from the atoll’s unique features.

After a dramatic series of construction projects, Palmyra became an active Naval base from 1941 to 1947. Learn about life on the atoll during WWII from the men who lived and served there.

As early as 1843, scientists have visited Palmyra to study its unique flora and fauna. Explore our collection of photos and documents to learn how science has benefited from the atoll’s unique features.

Amateur radio operators have been visiting Palmyra since the 1940s, broadcasting signals all over the world from its distant islets. Explore our collection of photos, stories, and QSL cards.

Featured Exhibit

Amateur Radio on Palmyra

Amateur Radio on Palmyra Operator on Palmyra in 1977 Operators broadcasting from the Palmyra Yacht Club in 1982 Operators on Palmyra’s beach during the 1998...

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Featured Video

This presentation was given on October 4th, 2021 by Jesse Johnson, the Creator and Curator of the Palmyra Atoll Digital Archive. The event was organized and sponsored by the Nature Conservancy, for employees and affiliates of the Nature Conservancy Palmyra Program and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Share Your History

If you or someone you know has a history with Palmyra, we’d love to hear from you! Our best material comes from photographs and documents donated or stories told to us, by those who have visited Palmyra, or their family. Visit our Contact page or send us an email, we look forward to hearing from you!

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