This gallery includes just some of the 2,500 known photographs taken by Joaquim deBrum between 1880 and 1930. The photographs are an invaluable cultural resource, displaying scenes of Marshallese life and landscape during a time of significant cultural change. The images, captured on glassplate negatives, were recently digitized by the Marshallese Cultural Center of Kwajalein Atoll, and generously provided to the RMIHPO.
Born in 1869 on Ebon Atoll, Joaquim was the son of Likmeto, a Marshallese woman from Ebon Atoll, and Jose deBrum, a Portuguese whaler who settled in the Marshall Islands as a trader. In 1874, the deBrum family left Ebon Atoll for Likiep Atoll, which Jose purchased from Likmeto’s father, Irooj Jortōkā. According to family historians, Joaquim received four years of formal education on Jabor Island, Jaluit Atoll, where he learned boat building and general carpentry. He is said to have constructed over 100 vessels along with his large home on Likiep Atoll, which he filled with extravagant furnishings. His home, known as the Joaquim deBrum House, is listed on both the RMI and U.S. National Registers of Historic Places. In 1893, Joaquim married Lijioan. He died in 1937.
Many of the photographs still lack information. Please contact us if you are able to identify people, places, or events.
Click the images to learn more.