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Jon Van Dyke Collection Finding Aid


Special acknowledgements goes to Hawaiʻi Council for Humanities for their funding and support for the processing of this collection. Also, this project could not have been done without the assistance of Casie Azuma, Kaley Vatalaro, Dat Vo, John Agpoon, Taylor Brack, Gian Lazo, Marc Masuda, Royce Windrath, Daisy Coloma, Ashlynn Melo-Pang and Jasmine Francisco.


This is the complete finding aid of the Jon Van Dyke Archival Collection, which includes the indexing of the physical and digitized materials. Digitized materials can be found on this site and on the ScholarSpace page.   

Read our press release about the Jon Van Dyke Archival Collection launch that occurred on March 4, 2018. If you have a subscription to Honolulu Advertiser, you may also read an Op-Ed piece  by the Archives Manager. Here is an interview with Sherry Broder on the work of Jon Van Dyke and his archives, posted on the March 1, 2018 Hawaii Public Radio "The Conversation" website.


By Ellen-Rae Cachola & Ashllyn Melo-Pang 

Professor Jon Van Dyke was born in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 1943. He spent his early years in the Middle East, having had gone to high school in both Turkey and Lebanon (at Ankara High School, and the American Community School, respectively, the latter of which he graduated from as valedictorian). He attended Yale University – where he received his undergraduate degree, graduating cum laude in three years – prior to receiving his Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law in 1967, where he also graduated cum laude.

Prior to his time in Hawai’i, Van Dyke taught at the Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C., from 1967-1969, and Hastings College of Law at the University of California, San Francisco from 1971-1976. In the year between teaching at both schools, he served as law clerk to Chief Justice Roger Traynor of the California Supreme Court from 1969-1970.

Since his arrival at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Professor Jon Van Dyke served as a faculty member and a legal scholar from 1976 to 2011. Notably among these positions, Van Dyke served as Associate Dean from the years 1980-1982, as the University of Hawai’i representative on the Law of the Sea Institute’s Executive Board from 1982-1988, and as a faculty member of the Richardson School of Law Environmental Law Program. He served at various periods in his time with the university as an affiliated faculty member of different schools within the University of Hawai’i system, to include the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, the School of Pacific and Asian Studies,  the Center for Pacific Island Studies, and as an Adjunct Research Associate or Fellow at the East-West Center. Additionally, he was invited to various universities to teach as a visiting scholar, both nationally and internationally.

Jon Van Dyke was the author of six books, served as editor for five books, and wrote over 120 articles for journals. While collaborative efforts are not uncommon in the creating, drafting, and publishing of legal works, a unique facet about Professor Van Dyke’s written products were that they often credited students who aided in his research and writing as having helped author his work.

Shortly after his arrival to Hawai’i in 1976, Professor Jon Van Dyke began working with the Native Hawaiian community. Such work included serving on the board of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation during a period of restructuring within the organization, and participating in collaborative efforts to draft such documents as the OHA Draft Blueprint for Native Hawaiian Entitlements in the 1980s, as well as publishing such works as The Political Status of the Native Hawaiian People, which was cited in the noted United States Supreme Court opinion Rice v. Cayetano. In 2008, Who Owns the Crown Lands was published. This book collectively details Professor Van Dyke’s scholarship and research on Native Hawaiian history and Native Hawaiian rights over a 30 year-span, and traces the feudal history of Hawai’i in such a way that discusses who is entitled to the Crown Lands of the former ali’i (Native Hawaiian chief and royalty), in the context of Hawaiian sovereignty.

Professor Jon Van Dyke’s commitment to the law as a mechanism to serve people and humanitarian interests was evident in the fact that he taught courses not only in Constitutional Law, and International Ocean Law, but also International Law and International Human Rights Law. More profoundly, in 1986, Professor Van Dyke, along with his wife, Professor Sherry Broder, began working on the Marcos Human Rights Litigation when at-the-time president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, fled from his country to Hawai’i. Professor served as counsel in the case against The Estate of Ferdinand Marcos. The case revolved around the human rights abuses that occurred on behalf of, and under Ferdinand Marcos’ administration during his presidency.

Through his service with the  Law Association for Asia and the Pacific, he helped to develop and disseminate a Model Human Rights Charter for the Pacific Island Region. He participated in instructing judicial training seminars for judges in Micronesia, Pohnpei and Chuuk. He worked to prohibit the dumping of radioactive waste in the South Pacific.

Professor Jon Van Dyke, who taught International Ocean Law during his time as a faculty member at the Richardson School of Law, published many articles on the subject, and co-authored Maritime Boundary Disputes. He was one of the initial scholars to emphasize the Precautionary Principle of environmental law, especially with respect to ocean law. Professor Van Dyke advocated for use of the sea and its resources in a way that adhered to public trust principles and were equitable. Additionally, he was heavily involved with, and strongly dedicated to the activities commenced by the Law of the Sea Institute, for whom he actively aided in coordinating events for. This included Law of the Sea Institute (LOSI) conferences, (which were sometimes held at the East-West Center at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa), and playing an active role in publishing the papers that resulted from these conferences. This dedication was exemplified through the fact that Professor Van Dyke had been aiding in a LOSI conference in Australia, when his friends, family, and colleagues lost him.

Scope and Content

The Jon Van Dyke collection consists of 56 boxes. The years covered in these papers range from 1846-2009. The boxes were acquired through the donation of Sherry Broder, the spouse of the late Jon Van Dyke. We retrieved the boxes from Public Storage on Waiʻalae. The majority of the folders were from metal file cabinet drawers that were 4 drawers high or 2 drawers high. Other items were in banker boxes. Each file cabinet had a pre-existing number assigned to them. This informed the box numbering scheme when we began to pull the folders from those file cabinets.
When we re-boxed the folders, we made sure to keep the original markings to preserve memory of the pre-existing order found in the Public Storage. The filing cabinets, the original boxes and folders, and items that had more than two copies were discarded.

The items in the boxes were categorized according to these series listings:

Series 1: Who Owns the Crown Lands

Series 2: International Human Rights Litigation

Series 3: Pacific Island Judiciary Development

Series 4: Ocean Law

Series 5: UH Work

Jon Van Dyke Lanyard Collection

Jon Van Dyke Articles

Jon Van Dyke T-Shirt Collection

Jon Van Dyke Photo Exhibit (Contact Archives Manager for access)

The series were predetermined based on the overall understanding of the collection of School of Law Dean Avi Soifer and Library Director Victoria Szymczak who facilitated the donation of these papers to the Law Library with Sherry Broder. The subseries were based on the original manila folder labels, which generally correlated to the documents inside. The original folder labeling were in a decent intellectual order that may have been maintained since Jon Van Dyke arranged them. The papers were in fair condition, except that they were kept in bulky folders. Some folders had labels falling off. Some folders had labels that did not correspond to the documents inside; it was concluded that Jon recycled manila folders when filing some papers.

Towards the end of processing and indexing of boxes, we moved some folders around to be with other folders that shared in the same series.


Access the Collection

The Jon Van Dyke finding aid and index can be searched in the Law Library’s Archival portal at  

To access more of the item records and digital files the collection, visit the Access page to set up researcher access account. 

To access the physical collection, fill out Researcher Registration form found in the Access page.   The form allows researchers to list the subjects or items they are interested in looking at. Upon submitting the form online, the Archives Manager will contact the researcher to schedule an appointment.

Restricted Access or Confidential Items

Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) pulled sensitive documents, according to their records policy. We worked with an OHA representative to review the finding aid and indexes that were labeled under OHA subseries, mostly from the series 1: Who Owns the Crown Lands. Documents with Personal and financial Information are indexed as “Restricted Access” to prevent public access without administrative clearing.

Reference Code

These items are cataloged as the Jon Van Dyke Collection.  Go to the index pages of each box in this collection to browse the records. Some items have been digitized. If there is a link for that itemʻs title, click on it to access the item record and digital file (log in credentials are required for full access). Note the Box number and folder number to request  access to non-digitized, physical items.

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