Joseph Oliver Carter Family Papers and Photographs: Finding Aid mssCarter

Kelly Kress
The Huntington Library
February 2022
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Joseph Oliver Carter family papers and photographs
Creator: Carter, Joseph Oliver, 1835-1909
Identifier/Call Number: mssCarter
Physical Description: 1.38 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1840-1941
Date (bulk): 1840-1902
Abstract: Financial documents and family photographs related to journalist, diplomat, and financier Joseph Oliver Carter.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Joseph Oliver Carter family papers and photographs, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Elizabeth Babbit Spelman, March 2020.

Biographical / Historical

Joseph Oliver Carter, Jr., journalist, public official, diplomat, financier and philanthropist, was born in Honolulu on December 20, 1835 to Captain Joseph Oliver Carter and Hannah Lord. Carter attended school in Boston as a child and returned to Hawaii in 1847, where he finished school and worked at a variety of jobs until 1872 when he was elected to the Hawaiian Legislature. He was appointed Registrar of Public Accounts in 1874, after having been financier to prominent families in Hawaii. In 1880 he became cashier and correspondent for C. Brewer & Co, and in 1891, he became president of the company. Throughout his life, Carter was an advisor to the Hawaiian royal family, the legislature and cabinet officers. He was the Privy Councilor to Queen Liliuokalani, standing with her and siding with the Hawaiian people during the 1893 Revolution. After the overthrow of the Queen, Carter resigned his position at C. Brewer & Co. due to political differences with his business colleagues and opened his own business. He continued to manage the business affairs of the former Queen, and also worked for the James Campbell Estate, the B. P. Bishop Estate, the Kamehameha Schools, and various private accounts and estates. Carter was anti-annexation and in 1898 went to Washington D. C. to lobby against it. Carter held various other positions including Board of Health of the Republic of Hawaii and superintendent and teacher at the Bethel Church. Carter married Mary Ladd, a member of another prominent Honolulu family, in 1859, and the couple had six children. Carter continued his business dealings until his death on February 27, 1909.

Scope and Contents

Financial documents related to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Musuem, the B.P. Bishop estate, and Puakea Ranch, all of which employed Joseph Oliver Carter during his career in Hawaii. There are also some early accounting materials from the 1840s, including records of invoices for Charles Brewer and R.W. Wood. Family photographs include a portrait of Carter and several album pages containing photographs of Carter and Babbit family members and homes. The photographs are primarily of children, including Elizabeth Babbit Spelman as a baby, and a few depict Joseph Oliver Carter with children and are labeled Great-Grandfather Carter. A few photographs depict Asian women labeled as maids. There is also a 1931 group photograph of the Honolulu Garden Club, and a copy of the Honolulu Star Bulletin extra edition front page from December 7, 1941, describing the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Processing Information

Processed by Kelly Kress in February 2022.


Arranged chronologically within format.

Related Materials at the Huntington

Joseph Oliver Carter papers, mssHM 76530-76710

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Financial records
Hawaii -- History -- 1900-1959
Photograph albums
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
Carter, Joseph Oliver, 1835-1909

Box 1, Folder 1

Accounting documents 1840, 1848

Box 1, Folder 2

Puakea Ranch documents 1886-1901

Box 1, Folder 3

Bernice P. Bishop estate and Bishop Museum documents 1903

Box 1, Folder 4

Honolulu Garden Club photograph 1931

Box 1, Folder 5

Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper 1941

Box 2, Folder 1

Joseph Oliver Carter portrait approximately 1900

Box 2, Folder 2

Photo album pages approximately 1902

Box 2, Folder 3

Photo album pages approximately 1902