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About R. Renton Hind

About the author: Robert Renton Hind (1885 — 1952), sugar technologist, plantation manager, and industry lobbyist, mentioned as one of the “pillars of the expatriate community” by John A. Larkin in Sugar and the Origins of Modern Philippine Society. Son of John Hind, sugar planter and plantation manager. Married to Eleanore Estill Jones Hind (1886 — 1934) and Mildred Sproul Hind (1894 — 1974). The Mill Valley Record, Volume LIII, Number 96, 4 November 1952, carried the following obituary:

Robert Renton Hind, retired sugar industrialist who suffered a fatal heart attack as he was climbing to his seat in Memorial stadium at Berkeley Saturday. Mr. Hind was for many years owner of a sugar mill in the Philippines, was head of the Philippine Sugar association, and was one of the world’s best-known sugar technologist. He and his wife and a son and his wife were prisoners of the Japanese for more than three years. He later wrote a book “Spirits Unbroken” on his experiences in the civilian interment camps at Baguio and Bilibid prison, where they were held from Dec. 1941 to Feb. 1945.

Mr. Hind had lived in Mill Valley at 212 Elm since his retirement four years ago. With a long lime friend, Arthur Ralston of Fairfax, he went to see the California-UCLA football game Saturday. After walking uphill to the stadium, he suddenly collapsed into Ralston’s arms nine rows short of his seat in the 74th row. He would have been 67 on December 7.

Born in Honolulu, Mr. Hind was a graduate of Stanford about 1900, where he specialized in sugar technology, He served in Hawaii until Oct. 1918, when he went to the Philippines to build a mill for the Sprecke’s [Spreckel’s] interests. After about 20 years he bought a small sugar factory at Manaog, 150 miles north of Manila, and rebuilt it into a, leading producer. He is survived by his wife, Mildred, two sons, John D. and Robert Renton Hind Jr., two daughters, Edith D. Reed and Alice Oberg, and nine grandchildren. He Is also survived by two brothers, James A. Hind, Oswald Hind; and his sister, Muriel Hind Engelhard. He was a member of the Family club of San Francisco. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m, tomorrow at N. Gray and Company. Inurnment will be in Honolulu.

Buried in O’ahu Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii.

About the diary: Published as Spirits Unbroken: The Story Of Three Years In A Civilian Internment Camp, Under The Japanese, At Baguio And At Old Bilibid Prison In The Philippines From December, 1941, To February, 1945, The Howell North Press, Berkeley, California, 1946. Made available in the WWII Archive on

The author’s January, 1946, preface notes that,

It was written, month by month, from late 1941 down thru the three
long years of confinement, under the suspicious eyes of the Japs, was smuggled from Baguio to Bilibid prison in Manila during the last days of 1944,  when we were transferred to that city, and was brought to the United States  when the writer was repatriated in March, 1945…

All quotations appearing herein are, unless otherwise specified, taken  from the ‘*Manila Tribune” a pre-war Manila daily paper which was pub-  lished during the war years by Japanese propagandists.

My thanks are due to feUow-internees Roy M. Hix, John Smeddle and  my son John for their assistance in the transfer of the manuscript from Baguio to Manila…

The book, as published, made each month a discrete chapter. The Philippine Diary Project has retained this format, making it an entry per month.