Charles Warren Stoddard

The sunbathers and surfriders ride their canoes over the surf at Waikiki beach. The rainbows fill the island airs. Princess Ruth throws live piglets, bottles of gin, and tobacco into the Kilauea Volcano lava to stop it.

As the United States expanded into the Pacific region, Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909) was among the writers who introduced the Pacific to Americans. Known for his South Seas tales, the American author and journalist described the sights and sounds of Hawaii after his 1864 visit. … Read the rest of the story

Diamond Head Charlie

In the late 1800s, a ship coming to Honolulu Harbor was big news. It meant arriving people, goods, and mail.

John Charles “Charlie” Peterson watched for arriving ships from Diamond Head from 1885 to 1907. Looking through his five-foot-long telescope, the former sailor could recognize ships from thirty miles, day or night regardless of weather. Peterson was known for his accuracy. Whenever Peterson spotted a ship, the Swedish immigrant called the Hawaiian Electric Company and say “Ste-e-e-mer–off Koko Head!” in his Swedish accent. HECOs’s whistle would scream three long blasts for all Honolulu to hear. This meant the ship would arrive in two hours, and people rushed to the harbor. Read more.

Kanaka Jack

In a fictional story, Kanaka Jack was found cast away on the western coast of Australia. Hired as a cabin boy for a ship, the native Hawaiian could remain underwater for more than a minute, swimming into marine caves and through seaweeds.

Read more about Kanaka Jack in “The Chosen Boy and the Rescue.”

“The Chosen Boy and the Rescue”
The Colfax chronicle, December 29, 1894, Image 2

Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy

Bluejackets of the U.S.S. Boston occupying Arlington Hotel grounds during overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. Commander Lucien Young, U.S.N. in command of troops. Site of childhood home of Queen Liliuokalani. Source: Hawaii State Archives via

Today in history — January 17, 1893 — a group of businessmen with the aid of U.S. marines would overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy and remove Queen Liliuokalani’s authority as Hawaii’s head of state.

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser advocated U.S. annexation of Hawaii and proclaimed that day “will go down to history as one of the most eventful of all days in Hawaiian annals.” Read more about it in “The New Era.”

“The New Era”
The Pacific commercial advertiser., January 18, 1893, Image 2

Carriage Ads

Before automobiles were horse-drawn vehicles. Instead of an engine and a gas tank, the owner had to take care of horses, and horsepower had a literal meaning back then.

You may know Schuman Carriage as a former car dealer. But did you know it started out by selling carriages and horses in 1889 and offered repair services?

Schuman Carriage and other carriage dealers advertised their carriages in Hawaii newspapers at the turn of the 20th century (1900s). View these ads in our Flickr collection:

Wedding of Hawaiian Prince David Kawananakoa and Abigail Campbell

On January 6, 1902, 113 years ago today, Hawaiian Prince David Kawananakoa married Abigail Campbell, daughter of industrialist James Campbell. California newspapers covered their simple, informal wedding at the Occidental Hotel, California, and described their kiss:

“When the ring had been placed on the bride’s finger, and the solemn words of the … sacrament of the church spoken, the blushing princess yielded her hand to her husband, who gravely kissed it. Then her cheek was claimed by a dozen men friends who claimed the happy privilege of the moment, and by her women intimates, who overwhelmed her with good wishes.”

Read more about it in “Prince and His Bride.”

“Prince and His Bride: How Alii Wedded the Hawaiian Heiress”
The Pacific commercial advertiser., January 18, 1902, Image 9

Queen Emma Rooke – Topic Guide

Today in history — January 2, 1836

The future queen of Hawaii, Emma Rooke was born in Honolulu. She would marry King Kamehameha IV, give birth to Prince Albert Edward Kamehameha, and run for Queen of Hawaii. Read more about Emma Rooke in this topic guide.

Emma Rooke Topic Guide