The Paul Markham Kahn collection, which is housed at the Hawaiʻi State Archives, is considered "one of the world's most important collections of its kind." The Kahn collection, which was carefully assembled over a period of forty years, "preserves a comprehensive body of Hawaiian material, including printed books, manuscripts and periodicals, with particular emphasis on ancient culture, Western contact with the Pacific islands, and the resulting processes of change: cultural, political and ecological." The collection is massive, and includes five original manuscript laws signed by King Kamehameha III in 1852. The value of the collection, as summarized by the Finding Aid, cannot be overstated:
The Kahn collection is of great importance, both to Hawaii and Internationally . . . [the collection contains] material [that] now appears for sale only very infrequently, and it would be impossible for a collector beginning today to recreate such a holding within a lifetime, or for an institutional collection to build a comparative holding without unlimited budget and a succession of adventurous and skillful curators; even then, many of the unique materials in the collection would never be duplicated.
Punawaiola presents the following curated digitized collection which contains a total of 205 files with 30,862 individual files. While many files were digitized, this still only represents a small portion of the Kahn collection. The Kahn collection was arranged into 42 subject sections for the purposes of cataloging and all of the original records may be found using the Hawaiʻi State Archives' Kahn Collection Catalogues and Index (Kahn Catalogue Vol 1, Kahn Catalogue Vol 2, Kahn Index, Kahn Valuation). Because of the sheer size of the collection, it was determined that only some portions of the Kahn collection could be digitized. The primary focus of these digitization efforts resulted in the collection of materials that you see below. The goal was to digitize important government documents, legal materials, and miscellaneous significant historical accounts. We have attempted to group materials by subject or by government body. Call numbers are provided in parentheses (for example 18/5).