Pitcairn Islands Research Station

Permanent URI for this collection

Pitcairn Islands First Day Cover


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 20
  • Item
    John Buffett and Time-space Compression: A 19th Century Adventure
    (Pennsylvania Geographer, 2023) Albert, Donald Patrick
    John Buffett was a fascinating individual who was able to crisscross the Atlantic and Pacific oceans over seven decades in the 1800s with little financial resources. Buffett’s main claim to fame is as Pitcairn Island’s first immigrant in 1823 to the settlement established there by HMAV Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian companions. This study examines Buffett’s oceanic peregrinations beginning in 1815 and ending in 1872. Primary sources from Buffett, and images and distance measurements from Google Earth Pro allowed me to track and analyze his journeys. The discussion focuses on the actors (such as traders, whalers, and missionaries) and colonial empires that enabled his movement across large expanses of bays, seas, and oceans. The intertwined effects of the Industrial Revolution and Eurocentrism were shrinking the world (time-space compression); these factors help understand Buffett’s ability to traverse the oceans with little except his own knowledge, skills, and a desire to wander.
  • Item
    Pitcairn Islands Research Station Poster
    (2023-09) Albert, Donald Patrick; Elkins, Susan; Solomon, Mason; Purifoy, Matthew
    The Pitcairn Islands Research Station (PIRS) functions as a portal for our studies involving the mutiny on the HMAV Bounty (April 28, 1789) and its aftermath. Our affiliate investigators include Donald Albert (Department of Environmental & Geosciences), Susan Elkins (Newton Gresham Library), Matthew Purifoy (Geography Major), and Mason Solomon (History Major). The purpose of PIRS is to disseminate our studies (abstracts, posters, magazine and journal articles) online through Scholarly Works @ SHSU to Bounty/Pitcairn enthusiasts worldwide.
  • Item
    Article Showcases Pitcairn Tapa with Women of the Bounty & The Art of Pitcairn
    (Pitcairn Log, 2023) Albert, Donald Patrick
    Authors Donald Patrick Albert and Matthew Purifoy encourage PISG members to download and print (free) their study titled “Repositioning Pitcairn’s Tapa: Detecting the Voices of the Forgotten Women of Bounty.”
  • Item
    Lord Hood's Island of the Pitcairn Story: Where is it?
    (Pitcairn Log, 2023) Albert, Donald Patrick
    The purpose of this investigation is to correct a geographic error introduced in Lucas’ The Pitcairn Island Register Book (hereafter Register Book) published in 1929 by the London-based Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The Register Book is an important secondary/primary source for scholars and enthusiasts interested in the early decades (1790-1854) of births, deaths, marriages and other significant happenings within this Anglo-Polynesian settlement on Pitcairn Island.
  • Item
    Mutiny's Children: The Intersecting Lives of Christian Siblings from Pitcairn Island, 1790-1866, Abstract
    (2023-03) Albert, Donald Patrick
    Thursday October, Charles, and Mary Ann were offspring of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian and his Tahitian wife Mauatua (aka Isabella). Each sibling had their claim to fame, for example: Thursday grappled with a name change conundrum over a supposed date line crossing; Charles challenged an imposter turned dictator; and Mary Ann inspired Mitford’s protagonist in Christina: The Maid of the South Seas: A Poem. The three siblings had a number of experiences in common. None of them had a clear recollection of their father, Fletcher Christian. Thursday and Mary Ann obtained some measure of global fame through their encounter with Mayhew Folger. All three siblings were involved in the failed relocation to Tahiti, only Charles and Mary Ann returned to Pitcairn Island. The three siblings probably enjoyed the feasts Thursday arranged for Captains King and Beechey. Thursday’s untimely death at Tahiti 1831 spared him suffering the wrath of Joshua Hill. Charles and Mary Ann variously attempted to challenge Joshua Hill’s authority, and ultimately he departed in 1837. The siblings had the benefit of having their mother throughout the majority of their lives. One wonders to the extent Mauatua shared her Polynesian heritage with her children. It is known that she created traditional garments using barkcloth as pieces exists in museums around the world. It is probable that Mary Ann was taught to make barkcloth, create patterns with natural dyes, and configure traditional garments. Only Mary Ann lived long enough to relocated to Norfolk, an opportunity that neither Thursday nor Charles ever realized.
  • Item
    PISG member active in Pitcairn Studies
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2023-07) Pitcairn Islands Study Group
    Dr. Donald Albert of Huntsville, Texas, is one of the busiest PISG members these days.
  • Item
    Visual Complement to "Did or Could Seabirds "Halo" Pitcairn Island for Fletcher Christian?" Abstract
    (2018) Albert, Donald
    Abstract of a poster that was presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Southwest Division of The American Association of Geographers
  • Item
    Chronicling Female Agency with Satellite Images and Photographs from Google Earth
    (2023) Albert, Donald Patrick
    Abstract. Teehuteatuaonoa, aka Jenny, was one of twelve Polynesian women accompanying HMAV Bounty mutineers to Pitcairn Island on January 15, 1790. Her accounts increased our knowledge of Bounty’s sailing track post-mutiny and island life during her nearly three decades (1790-1817) on Pitcairn Island (Albert 2021a). Jenny is the most traveled of Bounty’s women, and first to return to Tahiti after almost 30 years. Jenny’s journey is chronicled with satellite images and photographs from Google Earth. Her journey encompassed 15 links for a total of 24,090 km or 60% of the Earth’s circumference. The longest link was 7,400 km on the American Sultan from Coquimbo, Chile, to The Marquesas. Jenny’s life provides an example of strong female agency during a male-dominated era (late 1700s – early 1800s) when women’s voices were socially and institutionally repressed (Albert, 2021b).
  • Item
    Repositioning Pitcairn’s Tapa: Detecting the Voices of the Forgotten Women of Bounty
    (Okinawan Journal of Island Studies, 2023-05) Albert, Donald Patrick; Purifoy, Matthew
    Pitcairn Island tapa inventories, created by Ted Cookson and Pauline Reynolds, were merged, cross-referenced, and verified via online searches for a more comprehensive listing of tapa-holding institutions. Close examination of tapa artifacts created by Pitcairn’s original women settlers and their female descendants (1790 to approximately 1856) allow enthusiasts and scholars the opportunity to hear the voices of their ancestors. The current number of tapa artifacts, which includes garments, cloth fragments, and wooden and whalebone tapa beaters, is low at sixty items. Geographically, these artifacts are housed at institutions located mostly in the United Kingdom. The British Museum has the largest collection Pitcairn tapa, with twenty (33%) of all Pitcairn artifacts in public institutions worldwide. The authors suggest that an electronic atlas of tapa artifacts be developed and updated as possible items from private collections become public. This will allow descendants of this Anglo-Polynesian settlement to learn more about their female ancestors. In 2023, less than fifty people reside on Pitcairn Island, not all descendants. Thousands of descendants, however, dwelling on Norfolk Island, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, trace their ancestry through this isolated oceanic outpost.
  • Item
    Circumstantial response to "Who shot Bounty mast with this small lead ball?"
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2022-10) Albert, Donald Patrick
    A circumstantial response to Herb Ford's question "Who shot the Bounty mast with this small lead ball?" Using primary and secondary sources the author examins different situations for plausibility.
  • Item
    Mary Ann Christian, Exercising Social and Spatial Agency: An Isolated Island Case
    (Shima, 2022) Albert, Donald
    Mary Ann Christian (1793-1866) was the only daughter of chief Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian and his Tahitian consort Mauatua who settled on Pitcairn Island in 1790. After a violent first decade, and one death to a natural cause, the male population was reduced to a sole male survivor – John Adams. This created a female- dominated milieu within which Many Ann Christian operated with a strong degree of agency across social hierarchies involving island and empire actors, and spatially with her on- and off-island movements. While still a teenager, Mary Ann Christian became the inspiration for Mary Russell Mitford’s exquisite protagonist in Christina: The Maid of the South Seas: A Poem (1811). Almost three decades later, Lieutenant Lowry visiting from the Sparrowhawk dubbed her a cantankerous “old maid” for her concern that girls aged 13, 14, and 15 were too young for marriage; male dominance had reasserted itself. Primary and other credible sources, including demographics, document the events surrounding Herstory.
  • Item
    Mutiny on the Bounty - A Cornucopia of Fruits and Invectives
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2022-07) Albert, Donald
    On April 28, 1789, the most infamous of mutinies occurred in the South Pacific Ocean within sight of an erupting volcano on Tofua. Acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian deposed “Captain” William Bligh and eighteen men in the Bounty’s 23-foot launch to an almost certain death. After an unsuccessful settlement attempt on Tubuai, 350 miles south of Tahiti, Christian and eight mutineers, together with 19 Polynesians (six men, twelve women, and one infant girl), circuitously rediscovered Pitcairn Island on January 15, 1790. Being 212 miles east of its recorded position, this remote, isolated, and deserted island was an ideal outpost for renegades of the British Admiralty. Miraculously, Bligh sailed the launch successfully to Coupang, Timor, and eventually returned to England on March 14, 1790. Whereas Christian established a nascent settlement on a level patch of land above Bounty Bay accessible via an arduous path that became known as the “Hill of Difficulty.” While the story of the mutiny on the Bounty is well known, this version focuses on fruits as backdrop and springboard to conflict occurring during and after the mutiny. Bounty enthusiasts know that the original purpose of this voyage was to secure breadfruit saplings for the British West Indies as a cheap food source for plantation slaves. Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society in London and life-long supporter of William Bligh spearheaded this economic-botanical expedition. Beyond breadfruit, other fruits including coconuts and pumpkins became the impetus for igniting Bligh’s explosive temper. This account of the mutiny on the Bounty and its aftermath uses fruits as an unusual framework to view this romance on the high seas. Just note Richard Crane and David Essex’s concept album and musical about the H.M.S. Bounty in 1983 and 1985, respectively, which supports this notion. The album/musical included songs and scenes titled “Breadfruit” and “Pumpkin,” so the fruits motif is not an entirely an off-the-wall association.
  • Item
    Miro Wood Carvings and the Pitcairners: Biogeography, Economics and Sustainability
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2022-01) Albert, Donald Patrick
    On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian deposited Lt. William Bligh and 18 loyalists in the HMAV Bounty’s launch in view of an erupting volcano on Tofua in the South Pacific Ocean. Miraculously, Bligh survived this epic open-boat journey to Coupang, Timor, and ultimately to England to resume his naval career.
  • Item
    The Bounty's Primogeniture and the Thursday-Friday Conundrum Brief
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2020-04) Albert, Donald Patrick
    One page summary of the research article "The Bounty's Primogeniture and the Thursday-Friday Conundrum" published in Athens Journal of Humanities & Arts in April 2020
  • Item
    Member Profile: Don Albert
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2018-10) Albert, Donald Patrick
    As a new member of the Pitcairn Islands Study Group (PISG), I would like to take an opportunity to introduce myself. I spent my youth in historic Salem, Massachusetts, living within view of Salem Harbor. Salem was an important port during the 18th and 19th centuries and site of Derby Wharf, Custom House, and the House of Seven Gables.
  • Item
    Charles Christian and His Contributions to Pitcairn History
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2019-04) Albert, Donald Patrick
    While Fletcher Christian has become widely known as the chief mutineer of the H.M.A.S. Bounty and subsequent leader of a nascent community on the remote and isolated Pitcairn Island, his progenies no less have enjoyed their 15 minutes, give or take, of fame. Thursday October Christian (1790-1831) appeared often in the diaries, journals, and reports greeting and entertaining sea captains visiting Pitcairn Island. He is the focus of an amusing anecdote involving a name change from Thursday to Friday or Friday to Thursday, depending on the arguments one way or another. Mary Ann Christian (1793) attained worldwide fame as heroine of Mary Russell Mitford’s (1811) Christina: The Maid of the South Seas. She gifted Levi Hayden a Bible from the Bounty during the visit of the Cyrus in 1839 (Ford, 1996, 21-22). Known as the Pitcairn Bible, it resides at the Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room for Rare Books and Manuscripts of the New York Public Library. Charles Christian, (1791 or 1792-1842), the middle child, has received less attention, but careful review of the historic record finds that he too, like his older brother and younger sister, distinguished himself. He became an antagonist of Joshua Hill, the dictator or per Nechtman (2018) the pretender of Pitcairn Island who resided there from 1832-1837. Hill exerted a harsh, cruel, and brutal control over the political, social and religious affairs of the Pitcairners. His treatment toward three “outsiders,” Nobbs, Buffett, and Evans, reached unforgiving proportions, even though he was a foreigner himself.
  • Item
    The Jenny Interviews and Other Sightings: Needle(s) in the Proverbial Haystack(s)
    (The Pitcairn Log, 2021-07) Albert, Donald Patrick
    On April 28, 1789, acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian disposed “Captain” William Bligh and 18 crew from the HMAV Bounty just of Tofua, South Pacific Ocean. Bligh’s successful open-boat journey to Timor ranks amongst the greatest survival stories in naval history. Christian’s returned to Tahiti, failed settlement at Tubuai, and eventual “rediscovery” of Pitcairn Island are well known among Bounty enthusiasts. Hundreds, if not thousands, of books and articles have been written on the Bounty/Pitcairn Island Saga over the last 230 years including those written by naval officers, early visitors, descendants (Rosalind Amelia Young, Glynn Christian), journalists, and scholars from most notably history, but also those with credentials in anthropology, sociology, geography, and even psychology. Prior to Henry Evans Maude’s (1958) article published in The Journal of the Polynesian Society (volume 11, 1964) titled “In search of a home: From the mutiny to Pitcairn Island (1789-1790),” the Bounty’s post-mutiny peregrinations from its return to Matavia Bay, Tahiti, on 6 June 1789 and the "rediscovery” of Pitcairn Island on January 15, 1790, were sketchy at best. Maude, a former colonial administrator and subsequent research fellow at the Australian National University, located two “lost” newspaper articles pertaining to the Bounty and Pitcairn Island. These articles contained interviews with Teehuteatuaona (aka Jenny), the consort initially of mutineers Alexander Smith (John Adams) then Isaac Martin. In these interviews Jenny provided geographic references and clues that elucidated the Bounty’s path post mutiny. Jenny’s accounts also illuminated life on Pitcairn Island, especially the violence that occurred during its first ten years.
  • Item
    Did or Could Seabirds “Halo” Pitcairn Island for Fletcher Christian?
    (Terrae Incognitae, 2018) Albert, Donald Patrick
    How did Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutiny on the Bounty, find Pitcairn Island when the supposed location was 342 kilometers west its actual location? This study in applied historical geography explores whether seabirds were potential navigational beacons pointing to the whereabouts of Pitcairn Island. Flight distances were extracted from seabird foraging range studies that employed global positioning system (GPS) with tracking devices. These data were used to construct foraging range buffers around Pitcairn and the other three islands of the Pitcairn Islands (Oneo, Henderson, and Ducie). The results indicated that seabirds extend island sighting distance and perhaps guided Christian to Pitcairn Island.
  • Item
    The Bounty ̓s Primogeniture and the Thursday-Friday Conundrum
    (Athens Institute for Education and Research (Athens Journal of Humanities & Arts), 2020-04) Albert, Donald Patrick
    This is a biography of an obscure individual born of the ashes of the H.M.A.S. Bounty on the remote, inaccessible, and uninhabited Pitcairn Island in 1790. Thursday October Christian is best known to amateur and professional historians, philatelists, and others interested in the romance and adventure of the South Seas. He was eighteen years old when he first had contact with the outside world with the arrival of the American sealer Mayhew Folger of the Topazin 1808. In the forty years of his life he would meet, greet, and otherwise interact with sealers, whalers, naval officers, traders, and others calling on Pitcairn. This article synthesizes these disparate encounters while exploring a name change conundrum revolving around the protagonist.Thursday October Christian was an ordinary person whose life story now lingers in disparate reports, notices, and accounts of archived and otherwise rare documents.
  • Item
    Teehuteatuaonoa aka ‘Jenny’, the most traveled woman on the Bounty: Chronicling female agency and island movements with Google Earth
    (Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island (Island Studies Journal), 2021) Albert, Donald Patrick
    Teehuteatuaonoa (or ‘Jenny’ by her English nickname) was one of 12 Polynesian women reaching Pitcairn Island with the HMS Bounty mutineers in 1790. She was the most traveled of these women and the first to return to Tahiti after 29 years away. Her journey is chronicled with Google Earth using a screenshot and caption for each waypoint. The journey included 15 links totaling 24,090 km or 60% of the Earth’s circumference. Her longest link was 7,400 km aboard the Sultan, an American ship from Boston, which brought her from Coquimbo, Chile, to The Marquesas. Jenny’s life provides an excellent example of female agency during a period controlled and reported on by men. Her life epitomized Nicholas Thomas’ understanding that islander-empire contact during the 18th and 19th Centuries involved both survival and suffering, invention and exploitation.

A collection of papers and articles by Donald Albert on the HMS Bounty and the Pitcairn Islands