The book "Pacific Islands Year Book 1942 (War-Time Edition)" mentions Jarvis Island. From page 58:

JARVIS ISLAND is a small, uninhabited island, lying by itself just south of the Equator, in Long. 160. It is a bleak place, of no apparent commercial value, except for deposits of guano.

Jarvis Island came suddenly into prominence in 1936, when the United States began to examine all islands on the probable Trans-Pacific routes. Jarvis was visited a number of times in 1936 and 1937 by parties representing Pan-American Airways, and it was formally claimed as United States territory. Britain made no objection, although it had been previously regarded as British. It may prove to have some value as an aviation station.

From page 388:

Jarvis Island is a small, bleak place, lying by itself near the equator, at long. 160, and regarded for nearly a century as valueless, except for deposits of guano. There are no natives. In 1889, H.M.S. "Cormorant" annexed the island to Britain; but when the United States navy seeking aeroplane stations, occupied the island in 1935, Britain made no objection.

It has not been widely known that Pan-American Airways examined the Island. It eventually chose Kingman Reef, another United States territory, then Kanton Island, now part of The Republic of Kiribati. It is known that the colonists sent to Jarvis Island during the 1930s and 1940s were asked to design an air field. See a map here.