Hawaii in World Fairs

Going to the world fair in the late 1800s and early-to-mid 1900s means walking through the Hawaiian exhibit.

It may include Native Hawaiian huts surrounded by tropical plants, and Hawaiians paddling their canoes on the artificial lakes.  The exhibit also includes smiling Hawaiian ladies with grass skirts dancing the hula and serving visitors sliced pineapples, and Hawaiian musicians singing and strumming the Hawaiian ukulele and guitar.

Visitors may also see a reproduction of Iolani Palace stood with the halls for parliament meetings and royal receptions. Even former Queen Liliuokalani appeared at a world fair in honor of King Kamehameha I.

However, critics questioned the authenticity of the Hawaiian exhibitions. For example, critics called the two hula dancers’ performance at the San Diego Exposition the “Chicago hoochi koochi.”

Nonetheless, the Hawaiian exhibits introduced Hawaii to thousands of U.S. mainlanders, and many would later watch touring Hawaiian performers, buy canned pineapples, ukulele, and Hawaiian music records, and visit Hawaii.

– Alice Kim

Search Strategies and Articles from Chronicling America

Keywords: hawaiian exposition, world fair hawaii,

California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894

Keywords: “California Midwinter International Exposition” and hawaii

“A Dime Does It: Popularity of Ten-Cent Concessions”
The morning call, January 29, 1894, Page 10

“Barbaric Babies: A Queer Lot to Be Found at the Fair”
The morning call, April 22, 1894, Image 11

New Orleans International Exhibition

“Hawaii at the New Orleans International Exhibition”
Pacific commercial advertiser, February 25, 1885, Image 2

Greater America exposition

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Omaha’s Great Fair: The Attractions of the Greater America Exposition
Iola register, June 23, 1899, Page 8

“Jolly Hawaiians Arrive”
The Independent, August 14, 1899, Image 1

“Dan Logan and Omaha: Exposition Has Many Gaps Yet to be Filled”
Evening bulletin, August 24, 1899, Image 1

Exposition Universelle

Keywords: Exposition Universelle hawaii

“The Exposition Universelle: Resolve of the Cabinet to Have an Hawaiian Exhibit at Paris”
Pacific commercial advertiser, January 8, 1889, Image 3

Women’s Industries and Centenary Fair (Sydney)

“Hawaii in Australia”
Pacific commercial advertiser, November 19, 1888, Image 2

“Hawaiian Exhibits in Sydney”
Hawaiian gazette, December 25, 1888, Page 6

St. Louis World Fair

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St. Louis World Fair
Pacific commercial advertiser, May 2, 1902, Page 2

“Hawaii May Erect Pavilion: Government Anxious to Be Well Represented at the World’s Fair”
St. Louis Republic, September 15, 1903, Page 4

“To Decide This Week: Macfarlane and Carter Will Confer on St. Louis Fair”
Pacific commercial advertiser, December 21, 1903, Page 3

“Hawaiian Poloists for St. Louis”
Pacific commercial advertiser, March 7, 1904, Page 5

Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition

“Provision for Hawaii at Oregon Centennial: Act of Congress Devotes the United States Buildings in Part to Exhibit from Hawaii”
Pacific commercial advertiser, July 01, 1904, Image 3
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition

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“Hawaiian Exhibit at Seattle”
Wenatchee daily world, June 24, 1909, Page 5

“The First View of the Bonine Motion Pictures Is Given at Fair”
Pacific commercial advertiser, July 15, 1909, Page 5

“Moving Pictures of a Volcano in Action: Feature of Hawaiian Exhibit at A.-Y.-Pl. Exposition”
Colfax gazette, September 10, 1909, Image 1

“Misrepresenting Hawaii Abroad”
The Maui news, December 19, 1914, Page 2

Panama-Pacific International Exposition

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Royal Hawaiian Band going to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
“Ben Hollinger Would Send Band to the Big Fair”
Honolulu star-bulletin., December 22, 1914, Page 8

“The Fascinating South Sea Villages at the Great San Francisco Fair”
Richmond times-dispatch, June 6, 1915, Image 47

“Hawaiian Festivities at Exposition”
The Evening herald, June 11, 1915, Page 4

“Land of Summer Seas Casts Spell over San Francisco: Enthusiastic Accounts of Celebration of Kamehameha Day at Fair in Coast Newspapers”
Honolulu star-bulletin, June 22, 1915, Page 5

“Honolulans Protest against Exposition Hula Hula Dance”
El Paso herald, September 16, 1916, Image 32

“The Mid-Pacific Carnival for 1917”
Logan Republican, February 22, 1917, Page 10

Duke rides huge waves
Honolulu star-bulletin, February 19, 1917, Image 1


2 Comments on “Hawaii in World Fairs”

  1. […] New York Sun claimed Rose Davison, Hawaii’s representative at the Pan-American fair, said all Hawaiian girls were beautiful, were heiresses, and were waiting […]

  2. […] Dula,” “Pretty Baby,” and “She Sang Aloha to Me.” Through Hawaii corporations (e.g. Hawaii Promotion Committee and Hawaiian Pineapple Company), Hawaiian musicians promoted Hawaii around the […]

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