In 1851 the Kingdom of Hawaii authorized the printing of postage stamps to prepay the rates on outbound mail. Henry M. Whitney, Hawaii's first postmaster, printed the blue stamps on a hand-operated press in the Honolulu office of the government newspaper. Known as the "Missionaries" because of their use by Christian missionaries who wrote back to the United States, the first three issues featured the text "Hawaiian Postage" in two, five, and thirteen-cent values. In 1852, a revised thirteen-cent stamp featured "H.I. & U.S. Postage" to clarify that the stamp prepaid postage for Hawaii, the ship fee, and delivery in the United States. 197 examples of the Missionaries have been recorded to date.
The Hawaiian Missionaries from the National Philatelic Collection include one example of each of the first four issues plus four envelopes mailed to the United States during 1851-52. The cancellations include a circular datestamp, a crayon marking, a sugar cane marking, and three types of cork killers.