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William Nevins Armstrong papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 39

Scope and Contents

Businessman, diplomat. Correspondence, journals, notes, photographs, clippings, memorabilia and printed matter almost all relating to his trip around the world with King Kalakaua of Hawaii in 1881. Included is a typescript of his Around the World With a King published in 1904. His career as a chairman of the Hawaiian Labor Commission and advisor to the government between 1893 and 1903, when he returned to Washington, is documented in his journals. These form a complete sequence from 1886 to 1905. The large number of photographs record the trip around the world pictorially and also contain views of Hawaii around the turn of the century.

Dates

  • 1869-1929
  • Majority of material found within 1869 - 1906

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Bess Armstrong Howes, 1968.

Extent

9.5 Linear Feet (13 boxes, 1 folio)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0039

Overview

Businessman, diplomat. Correspondence, journals, notes, photographs, clippings, memorabilia and printed matter almost all relating to his trip around the world with King Kalakaua of Hawaii in 1881. Included is a typescript of his Around the World With a King published in 1904. His career as a chairman of the Hawaiian Labor Commission and advisor to the government between 1893 and 1903, when he returned to Washington, is documented in his journals. These form a complete sequence from 1886 to 1905. The large number of photographs record the trip around the world pictorially and also contain views of Hawaii around the turn of the century.

Biographical / Historical

William Nevins Armstrong, 1835–1905

1858

William Nevins Armstrong, son of Rev. Richard Armstrong, D.D. (Dickinson 1827), missionary in the Hawaiian Islands, was born in Honolulu, March 10, 1835, but received his early education in Phillips (Andover) Academy. His mother was Clarissa (Chapman) Armstrong.

After graduation he studied law in Springfield, Massachusetts, under his uncle, Chief Justice Chapman, was admitted to the bar in New York in May 1859 and for six and a half years practiced there as a member of the firm of Wheeler & Armstrong. After this he engaged in a number of manufacturing and other enterprises until October 1880, when he accepted the invitations of his former playmate, King Kalakaua, to become Attorney-General of the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after reaching there, he accompanied the king as "Minister of State" in his ten months trip around the world, meeting emperors, kings, and other rulers, and having many unique experiences. As a result of this trip he published in 1904 the volume, Around the World with a King.

Upon his return to the Hawaiian Islands, he added to his duties as Attorney-General that of Minister of the Interior, and in filling the two offices, met novel questions and puzzling situations. After six months he resigned, but in 1893 returned to Honolulu for his health, and in 1894 became editor of the Commercial Advertiser and Hawaiian Gazette. He was also chairman of the Hawaiian Government Labor Commission, and in the interest of the commission visited Japan in the summer of 1895. He took part in the formation of the Republic and usually attended the Cabinet meetings, as "the adviser of the government." He was a member of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, conferred upon him by the Emperor of Japan and entitling him to an audience with the Emperor once a year and to a military funeral. He also received orders commensurate with his rank from Siam, Portugal, and the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Since 1903 he had resided in Washington, D.C., where he died of catarrh of the liver at the Garfield Hospital, October 15, 1905, at the age of 70 years. He was buried in the Island of Hawaii.

He married in New York City, April 10, 1867, Mary Frances, daughter of Captain Elisha Ely Morgan. She was also a sister of his classmate, William Dare Morgan, and of Charles Leslie Morgan (Yale 1867). They had three sons, of whom the second and third sons were graduates of the Sheffield Scientific School in 1895 and 1901 respectively, and a daughter. Mr. Armstrong was a brother of General Samuel Chapman Armstrong (Williams 1862), founder of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.
Title
Guide to the William Nevin Armstrong Papers
Author
compiled by Staff of Manuscripts and Archives
Date
June 1980
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • December 2012: Finding aid revision description not supplied.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)