Henry Grube Marchant and His Woodcut Prints

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on August 23, 1928.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Henry Grube Marchant was the last to be sent on Kalākaua’s education of Hawaiian youths in foreign countries program. He was recognized as having natural talent for engraving. In 1887, he left for Boston to be trained professionally.

This image of Aliʻiōlani Hale by Marchant is found in a 1918 issue of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa. It appears to have been sent back from Boston.

Image: “Aliiolani Hale, Honolulu.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, August 23, 1918, p. 2. If you look close enough, you can see in the bottom left corner, “H. Grube Marchant, Boston 89 sc”

Image: “Kii o Aliiolani Hale.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, August 23, 1918, p. 2.

Picture of Aliʻiōlani Hale

We print on the first page of today’s paper, a picture of the Government Building that is called by the name above. It is the building of cherished ridgepoles, where the government departments gather, like the Legislature, the Court, and the offices of each of the Judges, the Clerks, and the Law Library; the Offices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Attorney General, Minister of Interior, and Minister of Finance; the offices of the Statistical Clerk, Offices of the Interior, Land, Registrar of Conveyances, and Immigration; the offices of the Board of Education, Auditor, Crown Lands, and the Governor.

The construction of this great government building was begun in the last days of Kamehameha V’s era and it was completed in 1874. Those who are very familiar with this government building are the people of Honolulu, and those who come to Honolulu to see it. But for the rest, they will know it by looking at this picture.

The one who engraved the image on to wooden block was H. Grube Marchant, the Hawaiian boy who was taught this skill in Boston, at the expense of the Hawaiian Government.

(Kuokoa, 8/23/1918, p. 2)

Do you know of any other works engraved by Henry Grube Marchant? It was he who provided the “Daily” woodcut for the Daily Hawaiian Gazette, as well as images to illustrate a letter from Yale’s James D. Dana appearing in the same paper.1, 2, 3 He also did some woodcuts for a periodical called “Na Hoonanea o ka Manawa.”4 Perhaps his works can still be found somewhere in Boston, where he remained until his death in 1909.

1“The word ‘Daily’…” Hawaiian Gazette, August 9, 1887, p. 5.

2Daniel Logan, “First Daily Paper Artist of Honolulu.” Hawaiian Star, August 26, 1909, p. 3.

3[James D. Dana], “Judge Kalua of Wailulu.” The Sun, September 5, 1887, p. 3.

4The editor of the Hawaiian Gazette of May 24, 1887, p. 5, in an article “A Hawaiian Artist,” praises Henry Grube Marchant for his engraving skills. He also mentions a “native story paper,” called “Na Hoonanea o ka Manawa” in which Marchant is doing woodcuts.

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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