“Keep and publish careful records, invite the whole world of science to co-operate, and interest the business man.” (Jaggar)
The efficiency of an institution which is essentially educational and not commercial, productive of ideas rather than dollars, must be measured by its effect on productive men of learning in stimulating them to production; that is, to new discovery, experiment investigation and publication.
The founding of the Volcano Observatory and the formation of the group of subscribers here called the “Research Association,” were themselves evolved productions of the inspiring work of early investigators, as well as of the natural intellectual stimulus created in man by the unexplained Kilauea lake of boiling nebulous flux.
Three names stand out above all others as recorders of the work of the Fire Goddess in Hawaii in the middle decades of the nineteenth century : Titus Coan, James Dwight Dana, and William Lowthian Green.
Coan the missionary, earnest seeker after truth, for more than a third of the century watched every detail of the evolution of the volcanoes, pondered their meaning, and moreover made truthful record in scores of letters which were promptly published.
This genius for recording is rare among men, and is an all-important requirement in science; many men are good observers, but millions of valuable observations are forever lost, because of a lack of appreciation of the value of a jotting down – day, hour, minute, event, stages, appearances.
All science is no more than a categoric jotting-down, and the grouping of facts into new categories, until some of these reach the dignity of “theory.”
Coan without apparatus or endowment was an institution, a first Hawaiian volcano observatory, and in actual output he was a better observer and recorder than some institutions which have been elaborately equipped.
Professor Dana of Yale, foremost American geologist, was with the Wilkes Expedition at Kilauea in 1840, revisited Hawaii later, and wrote in 1891 a book, “Characteristics of Volcanoes,” which stands preeminent among volcano memoirs.
It was inspired by Kilauea and Mauna Loa, but is broad and sane, and presents a most painstaking and thoughtful summary of the progress of Hawaiian volcanic events, and their bearing on geology. Dana published in New Haven Coan’s letters, and it was doubtless Dana who stimulated much of Coan’s recording.
Green, the man of business, in his leisure moments student of volcanic life and of the inspiring heights and depths of the globe, conceived: to scale, with its film of waters and its blanket of gas, wrote a remarkable book in two volumes, “Vestiges of the Molten Globe.”
His second volume deals especially with the volcanoes, which he visited many times, and of it Professor Daly of Harvard writes: “It is certainly a pity that the second part of Green’s work is not more generally known. The book is almost as remarkable a contribution to the philosophy of vulcanism as Part 1, ‘On the Tetrahedral Theory of the Earth,’ is important in cosmogonic philosophy.”
Green’s work foreshadowed theoretic conceptions which modem thought has fixed more firmly, and his interest, as a business man, in the affairs of pure science was forerunner of the wider interest of many business men (and intelligent women) of Hawaii who now make up the Hawaiian Volcano Research Association.
These three men, Coan and Green resident here, Dana from an eastern university, typify the reason for the creation of an Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and their portraits should forever hang in honored place upon its walls.
Coan, the systematic observer, showed the value of record and system; Green, the merchant, fascinated by the spell of Pele and inspired by the problems of position of this mid-Pacific pinnacle, Hawaii, rising 37,000 feet above the ocean deep, adopted volcanology for avocation, and left monumental work to inspire specialist and layman alike.
While Dana the scholar, coming from a distant seat of learning, hospitably entertained in the islands by Coan, Green, Bishop, Brigham, Alexander and a host of kind friends, rewarded their kindness by making famous to the whole world the achievements of his Hawaiian scientific colleagues.
Dana added new volcano lore and illustrated what production may come from scientific hospitality. (All here is copied from Special Bulleting of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, 1913, as stated by Thomas Jaggar.)