SOUVENIR OF THE ERUPTION OF KILAEUA VOLCANO FROM THE HAWAII NATIONAL PARK'S OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER; Souvenir of the first airmail flight from Hilo, Hawaii to the U.S. mainland featuring a vibrant color photograph of the Kilauea Volcano which had erupted a month before. the Chief Landscape Architect of the National Park Service K. Maehara to T. C. Vint, Kenichi.
SOUVENIR OF THE ERUPTION OF KILAEUA VOLCANO FROM THE HAWAII NATIONAL PARK'S OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER; Souvenir of the first airmail flight from Hilo, Hawaii to the U.S. mainland featuring a vibrant color photograph of the Kilauea Volcano which had erupted a month before
SOUVENIR OF THE ERUPTION OF KILAEUA VOLCANO FROM THE HAWAII NATIONAL PARK'S OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER; Souvenir of the first airmail flight from Hilo, Hawaii to the U.S. mainland featuring a vibrant color photograph of the Kilauea Volcano which had erupted a month before

SOUVENIR OF THE ERUPTION OF KILAEUA VOLCANO FROM THE HAWAII NATIONAL PARK'S OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER; Souvenir of the first airmail flight from Hilo, Hawaii to the U.S. mainland featuring a vibrant color photograph of the Kilauea Volcano which had erupted a month before

Card. This giant first-flight postcard measures 10” x 8”.  It features the official postal service map cachet commemorating the first airmail from Hawaii to the mainland in the upper left corner along with a map of Hawaii and one of Maehara’s classic red and black photographs of Kilauea’s eruption titled “Eruption of Kilauea Volcano  Sept 6th 1934  Hawaii National Park”.

The card is franked with three U.S. stamps (Scott #s 720, 739, and C19) that have been canceled with Hilo, Hawaii duplex postmarks dated October 8, 1934. Printed text on the reverse reads, “Commemorating the Inauguration / of / Inter Island Air Mail service / K. Maehara / Volcano Photo Studio. Ltd. Hawaii National Park” accompanied by two National Park filing handstamps applied after its arrival in San Francisco.  Light soiling.  In nice shape. Very good. Item #009662

After three years of quiet, the Kilauea Volcano (which is still active today) erupted on September 6, 1934, sending three huge lava fountains shooting skyward from the crater floor followed by thirty smaller jets as well.  Within a few hours, the crater floor was covered with lava, 60 feet deep.  As its surface cooled molten lava oozed up from the cracks that developed in the darkening crater floor. 

Maehara was a prominent Hawaiian photographer who owned the Camera Craft Shop in Hilo and operated the National Park’s photo studio that was adjacent to the on-site hotel, the Volcano House.  Maehara specialized in developing, printing, enlarging, coloring, and framing pictures, photographs, and lantern slides of park and island scenes.  He also sold postcards, some from photographs taken by others.  The photograph on this card was undoubtedly taken by Curt Teich and offered to Maehara, who first rejected the black and red image until a colorist brightened up the lava glow. (For more information about Kilauea, Maehara, and Teich,  see Von Boul’s “Greetings from Hawaii” online at Hana Hou! Magazine and the National Parks Service 1936 brochure “Hawaii (comprising Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala) Circular of General Information)".

Interestingly, the 1934 eruption ended on October 8th, the day this first flight cover was mailed and departed from Hilo for San Francisco.  While generic Inter-Island first flight covers and postcards of the eruption are frequently available for sale, impressive large Maehara produced commemorative covers are not.  While this is probably not the only extant example, it is likely Maehara produced no more than a few of these cards to send to friends and business associates.

Price: $100.00