In 1893, when Herbert Smith arrived in Honolulu after sailing from Liverpool, England, the island kingdom was in disarray. American immigrants had overthrown Queen Liliʻuokalani and taken over administration of the islands; within a few years, the United States would annex her kingdom.
Smith was a draper from Manchester, who came to live on the islands for a year or so. He wrote to his family back in England of his journey and what he found. He also took a series of photos that captured life around Hilo Bay, on the Big Island.
He took shots of sugar plantations, banyan trees, a turtle being made into a mean, fishermen, kindergarten students, and skilled surfers, who were riding the waves long before the sport became popular elsewhere.
Smith’s family kept the album for years and recently decided to sell it: it’ll be auctioned by Bonhams on March 1 in London, as part of a Fine Books and Manuscripts sale.