Aloha treatment for a 1954 Hawaii petition

Petition signed by 116,000 supporters of Hawaii statehood, presented to the U.S. Senate on February 26, 1954.
This petition, rolled onto a wooden spool, was signed by 116,000 supporters of Hawaii statehood and presented to the U.S. Senate on February 26, 1954. (RG 46, Records of the U.S. Senate)

The work the National Archives Preservation staff does every day is hardly “everyday.” A recent post about Hawaii’s petition for statehood on the Preservation Program’s Facebook page demonstrated this fact. This preservation project stemmed from a request from our Center for Legislative Archives. Each archival unit creates annual and long-term preservation plans, and the Center’s list named several petitions to Congress. One of these presented a challenge—a massive wooden spool 68 inches wide containing a roll of paper 16 inches in diameter.

This mammoth petition contains the names of 116,000 supporters of Hawaii statehood. Hawaii had been annexed by the United States in 1898 and became a U.S. Territory in 1900. Attempts at statehood over the next 60 years met opposition from both native Hawaiians and Congress. In the 1950s, the statehood movement gained momentum, and Hawaii became our 50th state on August 21, 1959.

This giant scroll came to the National Archives by way of the U.S. Senate. The Governor of Hawaii had presented the petition to the Vice President of the United States, who then (as President of the Senate) brought it before the Senate on February 26, 1954.

As an official document of the U.S. Senate, it eventually came down the street to the National Archives. It had been stored in a safe place, but over the years, the exposed outer paper of the roll attracted dust and dirt. The conservator working on this job gently removed the dirt from the exposed areas and stabilized the roll by wrapping it in Tyvek.

Check out Preservation’s Facebook page now and then and discover even more evidence of their remarkable work.

The petition after treatment, wrapped in Tyvek.
The rolled petition on its frame before treatment.

2 thoughts on “Aloha treatment for a 1954 Hawaii petition

  1. i want to know how to get an appointment for my petitions. my grandmother is there in hawaii thats why i would to follow up my papers….

  2. That was 1/5 of the entire Hawaii population. Comparable today would be a petition signed by 280,000 people!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *