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Austin’s Hawaiian Weekly (Honolulu, Hawai‘i)
On June 17, 1899, Franklin H. Austin introduced Austin’s Hawaiian Weekly: “I believe that Honolulu and the islands are able and willing to support a high class illustrated weekly journal. Furthermore, I want a dunghill of my own to crow from and do not want anyone to have a string tied to the rooster’s tail.” Published in Honolulu, Austin’s eight-to-sixteen page “dunghill” lasted only 11 months. The paper was published weekly on Saturdays except from August 5 to September 17, 1899.
Austin believed important developments of the 20th century would be “concentrated in the Pacific Ocean,” and as such his paper was “Devoted to the Progress of the Pacific.” He frequently ran articles and essays on Asia and, in particular, America’s possessions in the Pacific. Austin hoped wide circulation of his paper would help bring recognition to Hawai‘i as a tourist destination and the Pacific’s “strategic center.” The Hawaiian Weekly presented Honolulu as the “most beautiful tropical city in the world” and made extensive use of new technologies including glossy print and photographs to appeal to a general audience and to showcase landmarks and points of interest: Hawai‘i’s people, scenery, and flora; unique local activities such as surfing and canoe paddling; architectural highlights such as Central Union Church and Honolulu’s Central Fire Station; and the “first authentic picture published of the eruption on Mauna Loa.”
On September 23, 1899, Austin announced the new Austin Publishing Company would manage both the Hawaiian Weekly and the monthly Paradise of the Pacific. The Weekly would continue its coverage of “happenings in and around the Pacific Ocean” and transfer “non-political” coverage to the Paradise of the Pacific. Austin pledged that the Hawaiian Weekly would remain devoted to home rule and Hawai‘i’s local business interests: “It will be conservative in tone, but will fearlessly fight the battle against the inevitable influx of American ward politicians and Federal official carpet-baggers whose only object is boodle.”
However, Austin had overextended himself and his company. By November, he realized that neither the Hawaiian Weekly nor the Paradise of the Pacific had a large enough readership and offered new and current subscribers a discounted yearly rate of $4 for both. On December 9, Austin reduced the price for a single issue of the weekly from 10 cents to 5 cents and cut the cost of a yearly subscription from $4 to $3. The new subscription rate included a quarterly edition “devoted principally to the history and development of the agricultural resources of the Hawaiian Islands,” but the special 1899 Christmas edition was the only one ever published. The Hawaiian Weekly’s last known issue appeared on May 12, 1900. Soon afterward, Austin resigned as editor after being hospitalized due to “severe mental strain” and deteriorating health.
Provided by: University of Hawaii at Manoa; Honolulu, HI