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Matson Cruise Lines Collection

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I'd like to create this thread to capture images of items and ephemera associated with Matson Cruise Lines. Basically I'm anticipating images from auctions and personal collections.

The White Ships: 1930's Matson Hawaii Cruise Lines on BITV

From Wikipedia

William Matson (1849–1917) was the founder of the Matson Navigation Company. He was born in Lysekil in Västra Götaland County, Sweden, and orphaned during childhood. He arrived in San Francisco after a trip around Cape Horn in 1867. Working aboard the Spreckels family yacht, he struck up a friendship with tycoon Claus Spreckels, who financed many of Matson's new ships. In 1882 the three masted schooner Emma Claudina ran to the Hawaiian Islands. The enterprise began in the carrying of merchandise, especially of plantation stores, to the islands and returning with cargoes of sugar. This led to gradually expanding interests at both ends of the line. Increased commerce brought a corresponding interest in Hawaii as a tourist attraction. This interest in Hawaiʻi as a tourist destination soon prompted the construction of the Moana Hotel in 1901. More steamships continued to join the fleet. When Captain Matson died in 1917, the Matson fleet comprised 14 of the largest, fastest and most modern ships in the Pacific passenger-freight service.

The decade from thee mid-'20s to mid-'30s marked a significant period of Matson expansion. In 1925, the company established Matson Terminals, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, to perform stevedoring and terminal services for its fleet. With increasing passenger traffic to Hawaiʻi, Matson built a world-class luxury liner, the SS Malalo, in 1927. At the time, the Malolo was the fastest ship in the Pacific, cruising at 22 knots. Its success led to the construction of the luxury liners Mariposa, Monterey and Lurline between 1930 and 1932. Matson's famed "white ships" were instrumental in the development of tourism in Hawaii. In addition, beginning in 1927, with the construction of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Matson's Waikiki hotels provided tourists with luxury accommodations both ashore and afloat. To generate excitement and allure for Hawaii as a world-class tourist destination, Matson developed an ambitious and enduring advertising campaign that involved the creative efforts of famous photographers such as Edward Steichen and Anton Bruehl. In addition, Matson commissioned artists to design memorable keepsake menus for the voyages, as well as during their stay at the Royal Hawaiian.[3] For a brief period following WW II, Matson operated a luxurious airline using DC-4 aircraft between the Pacific Coast and Hawaii. The airline ultimately ceased operations because of political pressure from Pan American World Airways, which resulted in inability to obtain federal government scheduled operating authority.

Today, Matson continues to ship cargo across the Pacific and plays a key role in the economy of Hawaii, the West Coast and the trading of goods from east to west.

On December 1, 2011 Matson's then-parent company Alexander & Baldwin announced that its board of directors approved a plan to split A&B and Matson into two separate companies. As part of the plan, Matson would leave Oakland, California to become a Honolulu-based company. The two companies are now traded separately.[4]


Primarily a purveyor of cargo, Matson also introduced into service a number of passenger liners to capitalize on the burgeoning tourist trade. In 1926 Matson took over the Oceanic Steamship Company, operating three trans-Pacific liners, including the SS Sonoma.

From the early 20th century through the 1970s, Matson liners sailed from the west coast ports of San Francisco and Los Angeles to Honolulu and points beyond, including a handful of South Pacific ports of call as well as Australia (Sydney) and New Zealand (Auckland). Two of their earlier cargo liners, the SS Maui and the SS Wilhelmina, were the first passenger ships to place their engines aft. Among the famed "white ships of Matson" were the Malolo (rechristened Matsonia), Lurline, Mariposa and Monterey. With the advent and expansion of routine air travel between the mainland and the islands, Matson's famed passenger service was greatly diminished and the liners were eventually retired from transpacific service and virtually gone by the end of the 1970s.

Matson Lines Matchbook (auction photos)

S.S Lurline souvenir first class passenger list circa 1936
(auction photos)

Brochure (auction photos)
Hawaii - Tahiti - Samao - Fiji - New Zealand - Australia


Key Holder for SS Mariposa, The Oceanic Steamship Co. San Francisco, California. It is 2 1/2"x1 5/8 (auction photo)

Wow...neat post. The book is >$500, but would love to have it.

"The Polynesian"... The daily news for the SS Mariposa 1958

The Matson Tikis:

Buzzy Out!

An ad from an August 1958 Sunset Magazine I picked up. Macouillard who illustrated later Matson Menus also did this ad.

aloha, tikicoma

I found this at an antique shop. Not sure if this is a print or lithograph. Any art experts out there? This brigantine is the Lurline 1 which was purchased by William Matson from Claus Sprekels in the late 1800's. It transported passengers and supplies to Hawaii returning with sugar up until 1896. I don't believe the Matson flag is historically accurate for the time period of this particular incarnation of the Lurline. I am curious of anyone else has ran across one of these before. The back is sealed and I have not removed it for further examination. I don't see an artist signature. It measures about 11x6 inches. Diamond Head is shown in the distance at the lower left.

Matson Ticket office in Honolulu with Edward M. Brownlee carvings, here

Hula lesson on the Lurline.


Found these just this weekend as part of a sailor's grouping

Here are some Matson Cruise items that I've collected that you can still buy today. First is a book titled "To Honolulu in Five Days, Cruising Aboard Matson's S.S. Lurline":


It covers the entire history of Matson's Hawaii tourist business, the cruises and classic Waikiki hotels such as the Royal Hawaiian.

The second two are MP3 albums, the first of which was commissioned by Matson to promote their south seas cruises. It is titled "Ports of Paradise". The orchestration was done by Alfred Newman, known as "One of the "three godfathers of film music": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Newman_(composer) .


This final album is a wonderful snapshot of 1950's Hawaii tourism, "Webley Edwards Island Paradise":


It begins with you arriving on a Matson cruise ship and experiencing the arrival ceremony with the Royal Hawaiian band, Hawaii Calls entertainment at Matson hotels (and elsewhere) and finishes with you departing on your cruise back to the mainland, bidding farewell to your new found friends.

Finally, if you are ever in San Francisco you can see the old Matson headquarters around 298 Market Street:

Grabbed this Italian made SS Lurline tray at the swap meet for $1 this weekend:

Tag on back:

Buzzy Out!

Wow, fabulous tray! It's one of the Savage murals/menu covers used on their Hawaii cruise ships.

I was searching online for some Matson ephemera, and came across The Huntington Library's Digital Library web site. They seem to have a TON of Matson related Ephemera in their collection, which is view-able online here:


Here is one example from the collection:

Wow, thanks for the referral to that great Matson archive!

Anson Weeks LP with a nice photo of the Matsonia.

Kalaheo shirt with embroidered scene of Matson liner and outriggers.

We saw these at an antique store in Medford, Oregon this past week. We bought a set 15 years ago for $250. It was fun to see another set. Wendy

Saw this ad today


A couple of years ago I found these:

Vintage Pacific Far East Lines ashtray and Matson lighter

According to "Great Ship" website: The Matson Line's Lurline was built by Bethlehem Steel Corp., at its Quincy, Massachusetts shipyard. Launched in July 1932, she began her maiden voyage, a round-the-world cruise, on 27 January 1933. After returning from that trip, she entered Matson's regular San Francisco-Honolulu service.
Lurline was taken over by the U.S. War Shipping Administration and operated as a troopship during World War II. In 1946 she was returned to Matson, and, after a refitting and overhaul, she re-entered Matson's service in April 1948.

She remained in Matson service until 1963, when she was sold to the Chandris Lines, refitted as an emigrant carrier and renamed Ellinis. On 30 December, she began service on Chandris' Piraeus-Sydney route; she also served on a Rotterdam-Sydney-Rotterdam service for Chandris.

Laid up at Pireaus from 1980 to 1987, Ellinis was sold to Liberian-flag interests in 1986, but never returned to service. She was scrapped in Taiwan in 1987.

I once was lost.....but now I'm found.....

[ Edited by: 8FT Tiki 2015-04-10 07:55 ]

Found at an estate sale a couple weeks ago.

This was on the back.


On 2013-05-14 14:37, Pele Paul wrote:

Found these just this weekend as part of a sailor's grouping

Weird what a small world this is! I see Castle and Cooke is shown there, which is in Kannapolis, NC. I've done some work surrounding the owner of Dole and Castle and Cooke, Mr. David Murdock. He once listed Lanai as one of his holdings. Unfortunately, I believe it is now under Larry Ellison's control.


Found a different ashtray

each page folds out to show a different map of floors/deck of the ship

Souvenir photo holder from the Matson line. I wish the pic was still inside....

With all 3 names on this ashtray, should place it around 1957


Paper lei and flag

I'm wondering if this was from the Monterey or Mariposa


Hamo posted on Sun, Sep 17, 2017 5:50 PM

I know these menus are pretty common, but I just got my own set, and since I haven't found good scans here on TC yet, I thought I'd post some of mine. These include the menus for meals during the late November and early December 1960 voyage.

souvenir? Candy tray from the SS Monterey engraved SS Monterey Bora Bora December 1964. Bought it on eBay a few years ago. Might be a Cranberry dish too.

[ Edited by: coralreef 2018-02-05 08:26 ]

Were there any other artists besides Macintosh and Macouillard?


Mermaid1111 yes there were. Most notably Eugene Savage and John Kelly and it turns out there were a couple more Eldridge Logan and Richard Moore who I didn't know about. I can't post links or picture from this device though.

My parents travelled on the S.S. Lurline to Hawaii and back from the mainland in 1958. I found this photo holder card from Matson with their photo in it. SCN_0137-1406609057-OSCN_0139-1406609102-OSCN_0140-1406609117-O


Just got this little book with an interesting history of the Matson Liners. Published in 1947 IMG_3483IMG_3484IMG_3485IMG_3486IMG_3481IMG_3482

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