Dr. Drew's Infrequent Blog

15 January 2007

An Open Letter to Hawaii Mission Children's Society Board

Hawaii Mission Houses Museum

Robert L. Becker III, President of the Board of Trustees
Hawaii Mission Children's Society
553 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Dear Mr. Becker:

We are writing you as LIS educators, former archivist, librarian, and historians of Hawaii, who have had the pleasure of using the Mission Houses Museum Archives and Library several times over the past few years.

We understand that personnel issues are often very private ones with complex contexts, but we are truly troubled by the news that Marilyn Kanani Reppun was abruptly fired by the museum. To be honest, Kanani is one of the most knowledgeable and levelheaded archivists in the state. Her leadership is well known within the community of librarians, archivists, and historical researchers. We’ve met historians in Harvard, Doshisha (Kyoto) and other parts of the world who smiled when they heard her name. Experts know and appreciate her thorough knowledge of the collection. We think HMH also recognized her leadership judging by her many months as Interim Director of the Mission Houses Museum. She has been a mentor to several of our students, and is a leader in the Hawaii archival and historic community.

Whatever personal or professional reasons led to the Board’s decision to fire Ms. Reppun, we strongly request that you consider the possibility of negotiating a reconciliation that would allow her to resume the leadership at HMCS Library. We imagine that such reconciliation might be difficult, but we are most impressed by Ms. Reppun’s intelligent leadership, as well as her keen understanding of Hawaii history and the pioneering role of the missionaries.

We join our colleagues in the Association of Hawaii Archivists to encourage your Board to reinstate Ms. Reppun to her position as Head Librarian. We greatly appreciate your considering our personal request not only for the sake of the museum, but also for the sake of all concerned historians and LIS professionals.


Andrew B. Wertheimer, Ph.D.
Noriko Asato, Ph.D

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