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dc.contributor.authorSafford, William Edwin-
dc.identifier.citationThe Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Centeren_US
dc.description.abstractWilliam Edwin Safford, born in 1859 and raised in Ohio, served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during the Spanish-American War. Guam became a possession of the United States after the signing of the peace treaty on December 10, 1898. On August 13, 1899, Safford arrived on Guam as an aide to Captain Richard P. Leary, Guam’s first appointed American naval governor. Leary had arrived at Guam six days earlier. Leary remained onboard the USS Yosemite for three months while the governor’s residence in Hagåtña was being renovated. Leary ordered the thirty-nine year old Safford to use his own judgment in handling the affairs of the island and to call upon him only in emergencies. Safford first took up residence with his Japanese servant Miyomoto in the former quarters of José Rodríguez Sixto above the public treasury in Hagåtña. Sixto had recently been exiled to Manila after a prolonged struggle to remain as self proclaimed governor of Guam after Henry Glass, who had captured Guam for the United States on his way to support American troops in the Philippines, failed to formally designate an acting governor until the first official naval governor could arrive on Guam. As the sole remaining Spanish official, Sixto drained the island’s treasury partially by advancing himself eighteen months worth of salary while locked in a power struggle with Chamorro leaders, including the influential Father José Palomo. Safford’s residence was furnished with rattan furniture, a table of indigenous ifil wood, and a large earthenware jar for taking baths. Safford also brought along 200 books formerly owned by Robert Louis Stevenson that he had purchased in Apia, Samoa. Within a month he left these quarters to make room for a marine barracks and purchased a house on the Plaza de España opposite the governor’s palace. After retiring in 1902, Safford became an economic botanist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and published several works about Guam. These included The Chamorro Language of Guam: A Grammar of the Idiom Spoken by the Inhabitants of the Marianne, or Ladrones, Islands (1909, originally published in the American Anthropologist (1903-1905)) and The Useful Plants of the Island of Guam; With an Introductory Account of the Physical Features and Natural History of the Island, of the Character and History of its People and of their Agriculture (1905). This latter book not only dealt with plants but the island’s history as well, providing some of the earliest data for the new U.S. government on Guam’s flora and fauna, the Chamorro language, culture, and people. On March 14, 1924, Safford suffered a paralytic stroke from which he partly recovered, and continued his work until he died on January 10, 1926.
dc.description.sponsorshipProcessed by (2015)en_US
dc.publisherRFT MARC Manuscripts Collecitonen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesMSS 980;-
dc.titleWilliam Edwin Safford Papers, 1899-1901en_US
Appears in Collections:The Manuscripts Collection (MSS)

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