On The Origin of Our Species


Will Mauck was the founder of the Tin Can Mailman. Will spent his formative years as a Peace Corp volunteer in Tonga and fell in love with South Pacific culture. He named his bookstore after one of the Islands of Tonga, the remote island of Niua Fo'ou, or Tin Can Mail Island. Tin Can Mail Island is named for its unusual postal system. Originally, there was no safe harbor where mail ships could dock, and so mail for the islanders were inserted into tin cans and thrown into the ocean. The strongest swimmers or rowers were elected to fetch the cans and thus the Tin Can Island stamps became quite collectible and sought after. The story is, in 1972 Will borrowed 400 books from a friend, and with a stack of fruit crates, which he nailed to the wall as extemporaneous bookshelves, the Tin Can Mailman was born. Will never stopped dreaming of the island life. He finally combined his two loves and opened up a bookstore dealing mostly in South Pacific ephemera in Kauai, and in 1994, moved there permanently. He passed away in 2006 after a brief battle with cancer. He will be missed but his lasting impact continues to this day. We remember our friend and founder fondly with love and gratitude.

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